AT ELIZABETH DAVID’S TABLE: Classic Recipes and Timeless Kitchen Wisdom
Anyone who has spent time thumbing through the thin, smudged pages of a paperback edition of one of David’s books, looking for instruction and finding joy, will be shocked by the result. Absent are the spare pages gone yellow with age, the words ticking by beneath covers showing only a watercolor image, solid advice from this sensible, writerly woman, who died in 1992 at the age of 78.
A reissue of Richard Olney’s 1970 classic, THE FRENCH MENU COOKBOOK is emphatically not for everyday use, as its Dickensian subtitle may attest: “The Food and Wine of France — Season by Delicious Season — in Beautifully Composed Menus for American Dining and Entertaining by an American Living in Paris and Provence.” But there are some excellent recipes in here all the same, for poached eggs and beef stew, stuffed artichoke bottoms and roast saddle of lamb, saffron rice with tomatoes, a pure and simple sauce ivoire. From the simple (peaches in red wine!) to the complex business of stuffing calves’ ears for service with béarnaise sauce, this is a project book, best for cooks seeking intermediate badges or ju=nior-pilot wings.
More accessible for the new cook and the exhausted, overworked experienced one alike is FRENCH CLASSICS MADE EASY by Richard Grausman. Also a reissue, from a 1988 original, it combines smart advice for streamlined versions of timeless French dishes with a simple, reader-friendly and Workman-specific layout and type style that will be familiar to anyone who has cooked from the Silver Palate cookbooks. Here’s a top-notch blanquette de veau darkened (to the good!) with morels, as well as fine instruction on making a truffled roast chicken, fast soufflés, all the great French egg-yolk sauces, an onion tart and crêpes suzette. For those interested in, if slightly intimidated by, the intricacies of French cuisine, this book will be a balm.
Other books include Jonathan Waxman’s ITALIAN, MY WAY, THE FOOD OF SPAIN by Claudia Roden, Gwyneth Paltrow's MY FATHER’S DAUGHTER: Delicious, Easy Recipes Celebrating Family and Togetherness, Ryan D' Agostino's EAT LIKE A MAN: The Only Cookbook a Man Will Ever Need