Last year the husband and I went to France for two weeks. We traveled from Normandy to Bordeaux to Provence, and the food in each area blew me away. I came home wanting to learn how to reproduce some of those meals.
It will tell you something that even though we both picked up a nasty stomach virus on this trip, we still felt France had the best food we’d had anywhere.
I have a good friend that loves to cook and loves cookbooks. And she cooks old-school, none of this healthy stuff. I knew her kitchen was full of French cookbooks so I asked her for a recommendation. Something easy, everyday kind of food. This is the book she recommended.
The title annoyed me at first – I definitely don’t think cooking is women’s work. But I got over that as I looked through the book. Long story short, the husband and I have been cooking out of this book for about the last four months, and it’s made us WANT to stay in and try something new. Nothing we’ve tried has been very difficult, and it’s all turned out great.
In truth, we haven’t made a ton of recipes from this book, yet. But the ones we’ve made, we’ve repeated, and for our friends.
- Chutney-Ham Amuses-Bouches (my first appetizer with puff pastry was a big success)
- Salad D’Hiver (means winter salad, greens with prosciutto, pine nuts, dried fruit and homemade sherry vinaigrette)
- Chicken Calvados (and a little Calvados in coffee when you’re done is a very nice thing…)
- Filets with Cherry and Wine Sauce (highly recommend)
- Pork Loin with Honey and Vinegar ala Ancienne (a misfire with the sauce, but I think I used too much cream and didn’t simmer enough)
- Glazed carrots (surprisingly easy)
- Roasted root vegetables
There are tons of things I still want to try, like Pork and White Bean Cassoulet and Chicken a la Diable. One of the things we’re enjoying about French cooking is they use a lot of the flavors we love, like mustard, honey, vinegar, and fresh herbs. It’s heavy on meat dishes which the husband likes. The recipes with heavy cream haven’t turned out as well, so maybe we need a lighter touch with the cream or those just aren’t for us (and both of us are happy to avoid heavy cream anyway).
What I love about this book is it’s good for everyday meals, but also good for the special occasion meal. Everything sounds fancier in French! And we really do prefer to stay in, drink a good bottle of wine, and make a nice meal together.
The other thing I love is that it brings back happy memories of eating our way across France.
For anyone interested in cooking simple French food, but who’s intimidated by Julia Child, I highly recommend this book. Ignore the silly title. Your husband can help too.
This book counts towards the Foodies Read 2015 Challenge.