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I Know How to Cook Hardcover – September 24, 2009

4.1 out of 5 stars 53 customer reviews

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My Halal Kitchen: Global Recipes, Cooking Tips, and Lifestyle Inspiration by Yvonne Maffei
"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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Editorial Reviews


"You'll relish Mathiot's many delicious sauces, vegetables and salads. "―Energy Times

"I Know How to Cook-all 975 pages and 5.2 pounds of it-meets this high practical standards - it includes everything you need to know-about tools, techniques, ingredient choice and menu-building-to take on almost any reasonable home-cooking challenge with Gallic flair."―The Wall Street Journal

"A comprehensive collection. . . Under Mathiot's guidance, the vanilla souffl é did exactly as told, which is really all you can ask. "―The New York Times Book Review

"Pure French cuisine. "―Associated Press

About the Author

Ginette Mathiot (1907-1998), Officier de la Legion d'honneur, taught three generations how to cook in France and is the ultimate authority on French home cooking. She wrote more than 30 best-selling cookbooks, covering all subjects in French cuisine I Know How to Cook was her definitive, most comprehensive work, which brings together recipes for every classic French dish.

About the Contributor

Clotilde Dusoulier lives in Paris. Her award-winning blog, Chocolate & Zucchini, first launched in 2003.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 976 pages
  • Publisher: Phaidon Press; US ed edition (September 24, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 071485736X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0714857367
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 3.2 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #248,676 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Brian Connors VINE VOICE on October 13, 2009
Format: Hardcover
My jaw hit the floor when I saw this book. I have the French version and I had no idea that Phaidon was working on one of their now-classic spruced-up translations. If nothing else, Phaidon has the cookbook thing down by now -- this is a typically beautiful cookbook, with stunning photography and illustrations derived from the blocky line art typical of books from the 50s and 60s.

The original book is certainly not a learner's book; if anything it's more of a complement to something like Mastering The Art of French Cooking, to be used as a reference after working through the more technique-oriented books. Comparisons to Joy of Cooking are apt; while very few books on the market are quite as ambitious as Joy (which has a level of information density that is intimidating even by most professional standards), Mathiot certainly cast her net wide for traditional French cooking, even adding a few foreign recipes (one situation where the book sadly underachieves). This book does take some liberties, fleshing out some of the recipes for overseas audiences and adding the now-traditional selection of specialties from overseas French chefs (including, among others, Daniel Boulud, but sadly fewer other A-listers than you'd expect).

What does irk me, though, is something I thought Phaidon had abandoned with
...Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
Last July, the Washington Post excerpted a recipe from Ginette Mathiot's French classic and, in the covering article, compared it a French "Joy of Cooking" and compared it the books of Julia Child. On the strength of that article, I ordered the book, and my copy arrived yesterday. I am going to enjoy cooking from it. It is a classic of great depth and we can be thankful to Phaidon for publishing this huge volume. And yet, in my opinion, it is not quite what the Post article touted it to be. It lacks the extraordinary technical precision of Julia Child and "Joy of Cooking." Nor, do I think that, as an introduction to cooking technique, it can be compared to Madeleine Kamman's "New Making of a Cook." The closest American comparison I would make to it is the classic "American Woman's Cookbook," which was my mother's cooking bible and the cook book I first learned to cook from. As a collection of recipes, the Mathiot book deserves a place of honor in the kitchen. Yet the book suffers from some odd editorial shortcomings. As a translation from the French, ingredients are given in equivalent U.S. measurements (mostly by weight); but straight metric conversions lead to odd amounts in the ingredients columns. For example, one recipe calls for 4 1/4 ounces of bacon, 9 ounces of chestnuts, and 1 1/4 cups of Madeira. Readers would have been better served by a list of the original metric amounts and a parallel column that recalculates the recipe in more standard U.S. measures--as for example the U.S. editor of Elizabeth David's books has done with her British measures. Secondly, there is no French-to-English glossary; and, in some cases, trying to find a technique known by a French name is hopeless. Where is "poele," for example?Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Let me preface this by mentioning that I already own and use a number of well-known titles on French cooking, although these books are more along the lines of haute cuisine restaurant cooking. Among my cook book library you will find Jacques Pepin, Paula Wolfert, Elizabeth David, and Michel Roux to mention a few, and I utilize their expertise frequently. Having said this, I really enjoy having "I Know How to Cook" as a resource that has allowed me to "fill in the blanks" of my french cooking choices. Many of the recipes are easier, yet not simplistic or overly minimalized. As the editor asserts, it is the spirit of French cooking to create maximum flavor out of a small set of the freshest ingredients available. In addition, the recipes are written with both economic and dietary considerations in mind.

If you enjoy French cooking, it is a worthwhile resource to have this book; it expansively covers so much material that I was pleasantly surprised when I first opened it, and am still excitedly planning ahead for meals yet to be cooked. Of particular note (not to mention the over 1,400 easy-to-follow recipes that don't take all day) is the section of menus by celebrated chefs (40+ pages), and the menu planning section based upon seasons of the year.
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Format: Hardcover
As a chef who teaches people to cook in their homes, I look at a book like this from 2 perspectives. From a professional standpoint, it is a good reference book. I will have it on my shelf, and occasionally turn to it for inspiration, and less often, a basic technique reference. In flipping through it, I found numerous instances where the information was flat-out wrong. I am not sure whether that is a translation thing or just because it is a book written by someone who never really bothered to test the recipes in the first place. The book is being touted as the French cookbook that every French home cook has turned to for generation after generation. I am not sure that that is really true. As someone married to a French person with a whole lot of family in France that have never even heard of it, it seems to me like a good marketing scheme.

For amateur cooks, I can only say that this book might be kind of worthless. It really does assume that you know a lot. All in all, if you like collecting cookbooks, it is a good one to have on your shelf.... just don't count on using as you would a normal cookbook.
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