In a French Kitchen: Tales and Tradition of Everyday Home Cooking in France, Susan Herrmann Loomis
Published June 16th 2015 by Gotham
Hardcover, 320 pages
Source: ARC received from publisher
With In a French Kitchen, Loomis—an expat who long ago traded her American grocery store for a bustling French farmer’s market—demystifies in lively prose the seemingly effortless je ne sais quoi behind a simple French meal.
One by one, readers are invited to meet the busy people of Louviers and surrounding villages and towns of Loomis’s adopted home, from runway-chic Edith, who has zero passion for cooking—but a love of food that inspires her to whip up an array of mouthwatering dishes—to Nathalie, who becomes misty-eyed as she talks about her mother’s Breton cooking, then goes on to reproduce it. Through friends and neighbors like these, Loomis learns that delicious, even decadent meals don’t have to be complicated.
Are French cooks better organized when planning and shopping? Do they have a greater ability to improvise with whatever they have on hand when unexpected guests arrive? The answer to both is: Yes. But they also have an innate understanding of food and cooking, are instinctively knowledgeable about seasonal produce, and understand what combination of simple ingredients will bring out the best of their gardens or local markets.
This was a delicious read! Susan Herrmann Loomis shares what she has learned living in France for years; and not just cooking French cuisine – but eating her fair share of it as well. Loomis tells stories from her own kitchen and also those of her French friends. Basically I want to move to France now so I can shop daily in my own village from my own produce market, cheesemonger and boulangerie. Let’s be honestly, my life would be complete with my own cheesemonger. I also clearly need my own French friends to teach me to cook the way that Loomis describes and invite me to dinner.
In a French Kitchen is full of stories about learning to cook with the kitchen you have (much smaller than an American kitchen) and the delightful sounding ingredients available. How to stretch a meal for an unexpected dinner party – solved! What to serve for dessert – last minute cake! What to do with those leftovers- yummy! How to find your best bread or best cheese – now I know. This wasn’t a book to sit down and read cover to cover I’d say, but definitely one to turn to when you’re in the mood to cook or just read a chapter or two.
Each chapter is also filled with helpful tips about cookware and product selection – definitely something I can see myself going back over when I’m getting ready to cook. The attention to detail was impressive – I lost count of the number of steps Loomis went through simply to prepare a salad. Yet it really wasn’t too daunting for the untrained home cook. I really plan to try a few of these recipes – such as:
Sweet Beet and Goat Cheese Towers
Roast Apple and Pear Chicken
Mushrooms and Chorizo
And I could go on! I was going to pass my copy on but now I refuse.
Because I can’t let go of my copy of In a French Kitchen Gotham has kindly offered a copy for a giveaway. Important question to answer here- if you had to give up one thing which would it be — Chocolate or Cheese?
Giveaway to close 8/14 at midnight and I’ll pick a random number to win.
Thank you so much Gotham for this advance copy in exchange for an honest review.