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Customer Review

VINE VOICEon October 13, 2009
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 Vefa's Kitchen -- the practice of translating all the measurements into American terms while dropping the metric measurements entirely. Overall, though, if you're a fan of Phaidon's international cookbooks, or Phaidon's books in general, "I Know How to Cook" makes for a rather nice addition to the bookshelf.
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