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I Know How to Cook Hardcover – September 24, 2009
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"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
"You'll relish Mathiot's many delicious sauces, vegetables and salads. "―Energy Times
"Pure French cuisine. "―Associated Press
"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
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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This is the French person's equivalent of "Joy of Cooking" or "Betty Crocker's Home Cooking". These are the ordinary sorts of foods that an ordinary Frenchman would cook and eat for their ordinary breakfast, dinner and supper. What makes this book extra-ordinary for English speaking cooks is the glimpse into the everyday life of another culture, one where chestnut soup is popular enough to have variations and there are specific recipes for both rabbit AND hare! Every recipe that I checked out was constructed with care and, except for the measurements not being averaged for Imperial measurements, perfectly able to be used in an North American kitchen.
This book will hold a place on my 'most frequently used cookbooks' shelf as an inspiration and invitation to taste someone else's ordinary life.
The beginning of the book covers some good essentials - Seasonal Foods, Flavorings, a Glossary of commonly used terms, and most importantly, sauces. Sauces are elemental in French cuisine and if you want to know your beurre blanc, sauce bercy, bechamel and sauce poulette, this is the book for you. Recipes are arranged by genre (Hors d'Oeuvres, Soup, Fish, Meat, Poultry, Game et al) with an extraordinary section devoted to Milk, Eggs and Cheese. Even drinks are covered in Section 15 (Candies, Preserves and Drinks)
Need some menu planning suggestions from world renowned chefs? There's a section for that as well. How about general menu planning for seasonal cooking? It's here as well, in Ginette's Kitchen advice, as is general information on table settings, flower arrangements and serving order. There's a lot of information to be found in this book and I consider it to be a valuable acquisition for the collection of any lover of French culture and/or French cuisine.
But do not let me underestimate the nature of "I Know How to Cook". It is not intimidating in it's selection of types of food and preparation. It is quite at ease with the standards like Beef Bourguignon. In comparison to Julia Child's "Mastering the Art of French Cooking", there are far fewer steps and it's far less fussy.
Some of the difficulties with translating a French cookbook like this are measurements. You will find everything translated into American/US standard measurements. BUT, they translated the amounts from metric to US standard in some cases so that quantities come out as 1 lb. 2 oz., which is just over 1/2 kilogram. This really is minor and adjustments aren't too difficult. Otherwise it's pretty much a teaspoon here and 1/2 cup there.
This is a well written, highly informative cookbook that any serious home chef might want to have if they desire basic (and then some) knowledge about one of the best cuisines in the world.