Starred Review. Wells, the author of several cookbooks including The Provence Cookbook, puts vegetables center stage in this appetizing and innovative collection. After surveying the bounty of her backyard garden, Wells became inspired to build meals around vegetables rather than starting with meat, fish or poultry. She tripled the number she served at each meal and tried different cooking methods, looking for the best-tasting, most wholesome ways of cooking each type. She includes nutritional information and an equipment list for each recipe, and selectively offers wine suggestions, translations of French food idioms, and nuggets of folklore connected to the dish or main ingredient. Recipes are plentiful and tantalizing, all with a slightly unusual approach. She moves from appetizers and salads through meats and side dishes to breads and desserts. The section on pasta, rice, beans, and grains is especially appealing, with such offerings as Pumpkin and Sage Risotto, and Roasted Chickpeas, Mushrooms, Artichokes and Tomatoes. Unusually titled chapters such as "The Pantry" and "Eggs, Cheese, and Friends" provide more than a few gems: Parmesan, Pine Nut, and Truffle Gratins, Fresh Figs on Rosemary Skewers, and Zesty Lemon Salt. Wells offers a fresh perspective and wealth of options for making vegetables the centerpiece of every meal. This collection is highly recommended for cooks and gardeners alike. (Apr.)
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Patricia Wells is a journalist, author, and teacher who runs the popular cooking school At Home with Patricia Wells in Paris and Provence. She has won four James Beard Awards and the French government has honored her as a Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, recognizing her contribution to French culture. A former New York Times reporter, she is the only foreigner and the only woman to serve as restaurant critic for a major French publication, L'Express. She served as the global restaurant critic for the International Herald Tribune for more than twenty-five years. She lives in Paris and Provence with her husband, Walter Wells.