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Chez Panisse Menu Cookbook Paperback – April 18, 1995
"My Halal Kitchen: Global Recipes, Cooking Tips, and Lifestyle Inspiration" by Yvonne Maffei
Explore this bestselling cookbook filled with more than 100 diverse, popular, international recipes made with halal foods or halal substitutes along with tips on how to source them. Learn more
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Top Customer Reviews
As Nigella Lawson said about another writer, "I often cook, if not directly from it, then inspired by it (which is more telling)". This is a truly inspiring work, one you will go back to again and again. From the buckwheat crepes with glaced fruit and eau de vie, to the amazing amazing fish soup, simple dishes with corn and over the top reworking of french classics, the judgement of flavours and textures is perfect. Ignore Water's fetish about perfect lettuce, read it, and just go to the kitchen. 10 stars out of five, the best of all the Waters books.
For those reasons, I actually read The Chez Panisse Menu Cookbook cover to cover, the way one reads an MFK Fisher book - to get an understanding of the cook's philosophy as well as recipes. Both women write in a formal style and have strong ideas about ingredients, preparation, presentation, and consumption. Unfortunately, Water's writing is more spare, perhaps as befits a patron saint, and lacks the pithy humor that leavens Fisher's books. Reading her prose is more like learning a lesson than being entertained.
Which may be why this book struck me as an essential book for someone who wanted to learn to be a restaurant chef, but not particularly useful for someone cooking at home. Most of the menus require some final preparation of the next dish after the preceding one has been served - possible in a restaurant, but not much fun at a dinner party if the cook wants to eat with the guests.
The individual dishes are also complicated or labor-intensive, causing me to often think as I read, "I'd eat that if someone made it for me." Waters is particularly fond of leg of lamb, lobsters, and quail and her recipes for these show the difficulty in preparing them at home. First, most of the lamb recipes call for spit-roasting the leg of lamb. She even explains how to build a spit. In my spit-deficient kitchen, those recipes are not possible.Read more ›
As for content it's very useful and informative, but alas not useful because of this defect.
I'm now getting a used hard copy and a yellow highlighter and doing it the old-fashioned way.
Beyond this issue, this is a great book for learning and expanding for the weekend cook. This is not and was never meant to be a cookbook for people who are looking for quick and simple meals. It's for people who want to enjoy meals at their best, in season and with freshest quality ingredients.
Like so many things Alice Waters-related, the recipes are a bit slapdash and mercurial and not very well written. Take the cassoulet recipe for instance, and reading through it you realize you're making duck confit, stock from the same duck after AGING the duck, that the duck confit can be made much in advance and the flavor will improve (the stock can apparently be frozen), and then you're moving on to all the other steps, which, reading through you will reorder logically.
I don't mind though, because I learn the recipe that way and improve my skills and techniques and knowledge, which is why I like cooking this way (plus we get to eat well).
If you enjoy cooking and trying new things, this is a great book for you. It's not for the cook who wants things on the table cheap, easy, and fast, and who complains about the difficulty of having to search out ingredients (which I love, since it's a great way to learn and improve as a cook).
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It is kind of funny to see the negative comments here. Firstly, this cookbook IS more of a restaurant cookbook than a cookbook for the home cook because it's called - hello - The... Read morePublished 10 months ago by R.H.A.
If you enjoy running around town looking for obscure ingredients, this may be for you. I don't know where to buy pigeons, unless I go shooting them in the park. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Judith
It was a gift for my daughter, who is a chef. She loves it. I don't know much more about it.Published on November 9, 2013 by writer614
As an accomplished cook I have a fairly good knowledge of food however many of the recipes require expensive and/ or hard to find ingredients. I doubt I will use this often.Published on January 19, 2013 by Dave Howald
Alice Waters is famous for her resturant, Chez Panisse, in Berkeley, California. While I have never been to dine while I was out there, I would love to go there myself. Read morePublished on August 29, 2011 by Sylviastel
Some of the other reviewers have taken issue with the complexity and raw material requirements of some of the recipes, and it's true that most of us don't have access to all of the... Read morePublished on June 6, 2011 by Tim Colton