Around My French Table.jpg
Would you believe this book includes a recipe for Cheez-Its?
Welcome to Cooking the Books. Sonja Groset blogs about cooking and other eating adventures at

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Learn to Make Cheez-Its and Other French Delicacies in Around My French Table

Around My French Table.jpg
Would you believe this book includes a recipe for Cheez-Its?
Welcome to Cooking the Books. Sonja Groset blogs about cooking and other eating adventures at satisfythecraving.com. Each week, here on Voracious, she will review a new--or new to her--cookbook. From local authors and chefs to mixologists and food producers, Sonja will check out their latest publications and report back on whether or not you should add it to your own cookbook library.

Dorie Greenspan visited Seattle recently to promote her latest book, Around My French Table. Dorie has authored ten cookbooks, including Baking with Julia, which accompanied Julia Child's PBS series, writes a column in Bon Appétit magazine, and splits her time between Paris and New York City. This latest cookbook is peppered with stories about French life and includes over 300 recipes that are as accessible to the home cook as they are delicious. If you aren't a Francophile already, Dorie will convert you quicker than a boxful of macarons from Ladurée.

There is a lot to love about this book. The recipes are generally for everyday food and Dorie sprinkles them with stories about where she first tasted the dish and what inspired her in creating her recipe. These vignettes are sweet without being overly precious and informative without being condescending. Even when she talks casually about Daniel Boulud cooking her dinner, you can imagine her really being as star-struck as she describes.

Unlike some cookbooks, this is a book written by someone who understands their audience - the home cook. Throughout the book there are helpful sidebars that include advice for serving and storage, as well as tips Dorie labels Bonne Idée. This means something like "good idea" if my rudimentary French isn't failing me. These are often variations that can take a dish from simple to sublime by making a few simple changes. And no, this doesn't mean adding Sriracha to your mac & cheese. In France, this means adding shaved truffles to scalloped potatoes and spreading foie gras on your toast.

If you are looking for a go-to French cookbook, Around My French Table is a keeper. It takes classic French dishes like gougeres, floating islands and roast chicken and presents them simply and without pretention. Recipes are written for American cooks and Francophiles alike, and most ingredients are available off supermarket shelves. Dorie gives readers the green light to use frozen puff-pastry and admits that her chocolate mousse recipe was inspired by one found on the back of a chocolate bar wrapper. There's even a recipe for Cheez-it-ish Crackers because Dorie knows everyone loves Cheez-its. Even Francophiles.

Most of the recipes in Around My French Table use English names when they can be easily translated. This is a small detail but valuable if you are someone who loves French food but can't speak a lick of French. Duck à l'Orange becomes Pan-Seared Duck Breasts with Kumquats, while Cheese Soufflé stays the same, because if you can't say soufflé you have no business cooking French food anyways.

Read part two of this week's Cooking the Books and a recipe from Around My French Table.

 
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