My French Kitchen: A Book of 120 Treasured Recipes
by Joanne Harris
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
My French Kitchen / 0-06-082094-2
I absolutely love Joanne Harris' writing and I absolutely love cookbooks, so it seemed like a perfect confluence of interests when I received this gorgeous book for Christmas. I couldn't wait to sit down and thumb through the recipes.
I was a little disappointed that there isn't more 'writing' in this book - it is, for the most part, simply another cookbook. There are a few heartwarming recollections scattered at the beginning of each section, but this isn't the Joanne Harris version of "The Book Lover's Cookbook". I'm not sure why I was expecting it to be, but I was a tiny bit disappointed that the book doesn't include references or passages from Harris' books linked to the appropriate recipe, especially since her food-oriented writing style seems so suited to a cookbook collection. Oh well.
Unfortunately, I should have read the title with a little more literalism. I live in the southwest USA, and I'm afraid that even the biggest organic marketplace in the area doesn't provide fish as fresh as Harris' book recommends, and her many recipes for exotic meats are not likely to be tested in my kitchen any time soon - I have a hard enough time finding grass-fed beef, let alone wild rabbit and duck! The exotic French wines, gourmet cheeses, and heirloom vegetables also aren't located at my organic market. In addition, the addition of wine in most recipes causes a unique problem for me, personally, as I have a great deal of trouble digesting alcohol in almost any form. Ultimately, in my cultural insularity I simply forgot to realize that a *French* cookbook may likely contain wine in most of the included recipes!
In a way, it's really a shame that this book isn't more useful to me. The pictures are lovely and mouth-watering, and the recipe instructions are very simple. I'm not in the least bit upset with Ms. Harris - it's hardly her fault that her French recipes call for French ingredients that can't be located in my corner of the world and/or can't be digested by my own unique biological makeup. I just thought it might be useful to post a review here letting other people know. If you have access to fresh fish, duck, rabbit, French wine, heirloom vegetables, and gourmet cheeses, this is definitely a fantastic cookbook to utilize your bounty!
~ Ana Mardoll
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