Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Cookbook review: French Roots by Jean-Pierre and Denise Moulle

French Roots by Jean-Pierre and Denise Moulle

''A narratively rich cookbook of French and Californian recipes from longtime Chez Panisse executive chef Jean-Pierre Moulle and his wife, Denise Moulle.''

  Having French roots myself (my father is French-Canadian), I am always fascinated by cookbooks featuring French cooking and culture. This one is what I would call ''French country cooking'', if you understand what I mean. It is not Parisian. And although I like the latter, this country style is charming and elegant in its own way. The husband-and-wife team who authored this book did a marvelous job creating dishes in the the French style which you can master yourself! Imagine capturing the essence of French living right in your own kitchen! I believe that such cookbooks as these are excellent for Americans wishing to learn new culinary skills because the authors meld two different cultures: European with American.  Thus you will not be intimidated by the beautiful dishes presented in this large hardback cookbook. I must throw in a comment here about the photographs. As in most of Ten Speed Press's delightful cookbooks, this one yet again presents enjoyable pictures; I would say every other or every third recipe has a picture to inspire you. From fig salad with goat cheese to Summer Vegetables in Terra-Cotta to Porcini Omelet to several kinds of appealing  cakes such as almond tea cake with orange peels, this book is a real delight. I would sum up the recipes in this book as...French! Simple yet elegant, not overbearing yet a pleasure to the eyes! Delight your family and guests with the recipes in this new book. And even if you don't have much time to cook...the stories and histories in this book are worth the read. A real glimpse into the countryside of France!

About the authors:
 
Jean-Pierre and Denise MoullĂ© met on a street corner in Berkeley, California, in 1980; six months later they were married. French Roots is the story of their lives told through the food they cook—beginning with the dishes of old-world France, the couple’s birthplace, and focusing on the simple, pared-down preparations of French food common in the postwar period. The story then travels to the San Francisco Bay Area in the 1970s, where Jean-Pierre was appointed executive chef at Chez Panisse when California cuisine was just emerging as a distinctive and important style, and where Denise began importing French wine. Finally, the journey follows the couple to their homes in Sonoma, California, and Bordeaux to revisit the classic dishes of the MoullĂ©s’ native country and hone the forgotten skills of foraging, hunting, and preserving. 

Exquisitely written, with recipes that are innovative and timeless, insights on cooking and thinking like a chef, and an insider’s guide to the wines of Bordeaux, French Roots is much more than a cookbook—it’s a guide to living the good life.