I like to bake, but it's not my favorite thing to do in the kitchen—and now that Julie loves to bake, I usually leave the cookies and cakes up to her. And I've never been one to want to try making really fancy desserts. All this is by way of saying that although I've always been aware of pastry chef extraordinaire David Lebovitz, I never really bothered exploring his blog or getting his many sweets-and-treats cookbooks, although everyone is always raving about them.
So, when I saw that he had a new cookbook out that was not all about baking, I was intrigued. And, man, now I know what I've been missing out on. Here's a guy who can not only bake and cook, but he can write! His latest book, My Paris Kitchen, is subtitled "Recipes and Stories," and that's exactly what you get.
A decade ago, Lebovitz moved to Paris, so his stories are a charming combination of francophile (he obviously loves living there) and purely American (his anecdotes about mispronouncing French words—sometimes with hilarious results, or his confusion and occasional frustration with French bureaucracy or certain French habits). Even better, he writes beautifully and engagingly, and makes it look effortless. I am, not surprisingly, one of those people who will sit down and read a cookbook from cover to cover, but this is a book that I can imagine "regular" people (you know, those who don't edit cookbooks for a living and hoard collect them obsessively) treating in the same way.
But the recipes ... of course that's why most people buy a cookbook. And this Chez Panisse–trained chef does not disappoint. There are plenty of French classics in here—from onion soup to cassoulet to crème brûlée—but I'm equally (or even more?) intrigued by the international spin Lebovitz puts on other dishes in his Paris kitchen. Naan au fromage (Indian bread with melted cheese inside)? Yup. Or how about his cauliflower seasoned with dukkah (Egyptian spice mix), or beet hummus? There are many wonderful options, all with helpful descriptions and lovely photos. I can't wait to start cooking some of these in my Boston kitchen!
I am required by the FTC to provide the disclaimer below, but let it be known that I could write any review I chose, whether positive or negative. This is my honest opinion of this book.
I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review.