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French Taste: Elegant Everyday Eating Paperback – Apr 5 2010


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Ltd; Reprint edition (April 5 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1554681022
  • ISBN-13: 978-1554681020
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 20.3 x 25.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 Kg
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #49,173 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Quill & Quire

Like her Food Network cooking show, French Food at Home, Laura Calder’s second cookbook, French Taste, is, in essence, a primer on basic Gallic cooking aimed at people who are intimidated by the kitchen. Detractors might say this misrepresents French cuisine, since the book contorts itself to entice the reluctant cook, which is anathema to French gastronomy. But a more positive spin is that the book demystifies French cooking, providing a welcome corrective to North America’s misguided culinary culture of empty junk food, microwave meals, and low-fat paranoia. Without question, however, this is a book for people who need justification to take an epicurean approach to food. Those who already have an appreciation of fine butter, cheese, bread, and wine may find Calder’s attitude somewhat patronizing. Additionally, those who already know how to, say, properly boil a beet or blind bake a pastry shell, might find Calder’s instructions irksome – to say nothing of her mini-essays offering pat cooking “philosophies” and advice on how to shop for groceries. Nonetheless, such people would be well advised to persevere in order to take advantage of Calder’s many excellent recipes. Divided into chapters by menu courses, the book gives us a superb lobster, grapefruit, and avocado salad dressed with almond, hazelnut, or walnut oil. Pork roast braised in milk will be unfamiliar to many but is worth the price of admission, as are such treats as potatoes cooked in duck fat, olive oil and red grape cake, and nougat glacé. Virtually every page of the book, in fact, offers the sort of recipe one wishes their local bistro would adopt. Jean-Pierre Challet takes a more focused and less patronizing approach to Gallic cuisine in One-Pot French. French cuisine has a reputation for complexity, but Challet, chef at the Toronto restaurant A Taste of Quebec, shows us how to enjoy all that France has to offer in a surprisingly diverse variety of relatively simple recipes that employ only a single cooking vessel – be that a pot, frying pan, or pastry sheet. His book offers chapters based on menu courses with additional sections covering discrete subjects such as eggs, potatoes, and sandwiches. Less of a lifestyle lecture than Calder’s book, One-Pot French may be better suited to cooks with more experience. For example, a recipe for salade Lyonnaise – dandelion, bacon, and poached egg – omits instructions on how to poach the egg. Presumably, Challet assumes the reader already has this skill – not necessarily a sound assumption to make. Still, there are plenty of recipes here that just about anyone could tackle, meeting Challet’s stated goal to keep things simple. The vast majority are classic rustic “comfort food” dishes such as French onion soup, cheese soufflé, coq au vin, salade Niçoise, croque madame, pommes Anna, lemon tart, and chocolate mousse. Indeed, if Challet falls short anywhere in comparison to Calder, it is in his lack of creative exploration. Photographically, the two books are similar. The images in Challet’s book, by Gareth Morgans, offer an unaffected clarity and richness well suited to the book’s themes. The photos in Calder’s book, by James Ingram, have a similar hominess, though sometimes feel slightly more staged. For sheer browsing appeal, however, Challet is the clear winner, with over twice as many pictures – an advantage he may need on the sales floor to overcome Calder’s TV-celeb status. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

?Laura Calder?s french approach to food is refreshing and smart. . . . She shares her delight and enjoyment of the pleasures of the table with us, making this a book for everybody who loves to eat.?
-- Jennifer Mclagan, author of Fat and Bones ()

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews

28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By B. Oland on May 6 2009
Format: Hardcover
This is the best kind of cook book - beautiful and useful. It offers easy, elegant cooking and shows that it's simple to have a dinner party-worthy meal on a Monday night (and Tuesday, and Wednesday...). I had a week's worth of meals planned within 30 minutes of first opening it. Be sure to read the little essays. They're delightful and make you stop to think.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Jo Novak on Nov. 2 2009
Format: Hardcover
My husband and I are both avid cooks and we purchased this book because we were so pleased with Laura's first one. The pastry recipes quickly became the household classics. These are wonderful, tasty and uncomplicated recipes for truly delicious food. We'd highly recommend this book to any foodie out there.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Wendy O'Connor on Feb. 15 2010
Format: Hardcover
As a avid cook, received this book as a christmas present and boy was I pleased!!
I have tried several receipes and they have all come out prefect each time, the receipes as clear, concise and very easy to follow. And she uses ingredients that can be easily found. The pastry recipes well they are just delightful.
However do read her tips as they are very practical and informative.
This book is a "must have" for your Kitchen cookbook library... and all foodies out there.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By L. Pepin on May 2 2010
Format: Hardcover
I am a huge fan of Laura Calder. The recipes are easy to follow, and I enjoy her humour and honesty throughout the book.

I watch her show, then find the recipe in the book and try it out. Haven't found one I don't like!

I just wish there were more photos, or pictures showing some of the steps. I think if I didn't watch the episode for some recipes I may not get how they are supposed to look.

This is a great book to add to your cook book collection. The simplicity of most of the recipes is wonderful.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Robert C. Timms, Jr. on May 22 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you enjoy watching "French Food at Home", then owning Laura Calder's books is a "must". She is the same person in print...not automatic, by the way. The same engaging one-on-one style comes through. She always communicates that you really CAN make these dishes, and encourages you to try new things.

Being in the U.S., her books are hard to find and sometimes quite expensive. Cheers to Amazon.ca for making them available at good prices!
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Format: Paperback
I grew up in a former french colony (Lebanon) where we had plenty of French classics to savour (the Nicoise was on almost every menu). So when I saw the combinations Caulder made on her show, I was a bit skeptical and hesitant to try the cookbook. But, now that I've read it, I get it!
Caulder builds on French principles of cooking, and does it with simplicity while keeping all the flavour (and fat!). Of course there is a salade Nicoise recipe in there, among other classics. But there are dishes that are borrowed from Hungary or Morocco and take on a French twist. After all, a lot of these dishes have become part of the modern french repertoire. Most importantly, it is all done with simplicity. Forget Julia Child, who has the time to cook like that these days?

Fortunately, Caulder gives you a repertoire of all the basics needed, which which you can build and tweak. My favourite were the various recipes for different crusts. Even Caulder admits that looking for that 'perfect' recipe for the crust is not helpful; the focus should be on the TYPE of crust needed for the specific dish or bake. I have tried a couple, including the base for tarts, and it is done so well. To me that was an exceptional addition to the cookbook, and made it indispensable. While I find her tone a bit too cheesy for my liking at times, it does not get in the way of excellent instruction. If you visit the Food Network website, you can even see some instructional videos (excerpts from the show) of many dishes listed in the book.

So my final verdict: It is basic French taste, and indeed in good taste. Everyone who loves cooking should have a copy of this cookbook in their library.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By LiluMultipass on Dec 5 2010
Format: Paperback
This is a charming cookbook. Easy to follow and wonderfully written. The results of following the recipes makes you feel like a profession chef. My husband is annoyed with the fact that there is only one photo of Laura in the whole book....TOO BAD BUDDY!
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Format: Paperback
Good cooking in the final analysis, depends on two things: common sense and good taste.I like to cook and I enjoy eating good food, and Laura Calder's Good Taste includes recipes that are easy to make and the end result is delicious. French food can include a lot of butter and cream, but the recipes in this book have ingredients that even those of us counting calories can enjoy. Her tips on baking pastry blind, make so much sense, having had countless pie shells collapse,why did I not think to fill the shell to the top with dried beans, not just a few on the bottom of the shell.Well done Laura, I am enjoying this book immensely
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