My Paris Kitchen

My Paris Kitchen: Recipes and Stories by David Lebovitz is part memoir, part cookbook. The description reads:

"It’s been ten years since David Lebovitz packed up his most treasured cookbooks, a well-worn cast-iron skillet, and his laptop and moved to Paris. In that time, the culinary culture of France has shifted as a new generation of chefs and home cooks—most notably in Paris—incorporates ingredients and techniques from around the world into traditional French dishes.
In My Paris Kitchen, David remasters the classics, introduces lesser-known fare, and presents 100 sweet and savory recipes that reflect the way modern Parisians eat today. You’ll find Soupe à l’oignon, Cassoulet, Coq au vin, and Croque-monsieur, as well as Smoky barbecue-style pork, Lamb shank tagine, Dukkah-roasted cauliflower, Salt cod fritters with tartar sauce, and Wheat berry salad with radicchio, root vegetables, and pomegranate. And of course, there’s dessert: Warm chocolate cake with salted butter caramel sauce, Duck fat cookies, Bay leaf poundcake with orange glaze, French cheesecake...and the list goes on. David also shares stories told with his trademark wit and humor, and lush photography taken on location around Paris and in David’s kitchen reveals the quirks, trials, beauty, and joys of life in the culinary capital of the world."

This is a beautiful hardcover book full of amazing photography, of both David, his kitchen, the sights of Paris, and of course, the food. I actually enjoyed the writing and stories as much or more than the recipes. David's hilarious take on being an expat in Paris and his experiences there (buying on-sale orange juice in a Paris supermarket was one of my favorite tidbits) really made the book. I enjoyed learning more about the true French culture and what it's like to live in Paris. One thing I appreciated about this cookbook was how much time David spent explaining techniques, ingredients, etc. He takes the first 37 pages for the introduction and and extensive overview of ingredients, then spends ample time in the back of the book expounding on the Pantry and Sources to find some of the less common ingredients and tools you may need.

The only thing I didn't like about this cookbook is the fact that it focuses more on modern Parisian cuisine. I was expecting a lot more tradition French dishes to be showcased, and here is a more modern take on French food, fused with American and other food traditions. It really reflects Paris today, and while I appreciate that, I was hoping for some more traditional foods as well. He does include some traditional French recipes, but I was hoping for a little more. A lot of the recipes are things I don't feel skilled enough or comfortable enough to make, and I am a pretty experienced home cook. Many of the ingredients I don't know where I could find living where I do. Some of the odder recipes included are: Leeks with mustard-bacon vinaigrette, Counterfeit duck confit, Celery root puree, Green beans with snail butter, Duck fat cookies, Spiced speculoos flan, and Bay leaf pound cake with orange glaze.

On the plus side, I'm excited to try these recipes and more: French onion soup, Parisian gnocchi, Fresh herb omelet, Fried ham and cheese sandwich, Chicken lady chicken, Scalloped potatoes with blue cheese and roasted garlic, Warm chocolate cake with salted butter caramel sauce, Madeleines, and Christmas cake. Overall I recommend this cookbook, just realize it's not the tradition French cuisine cookbook. You'll get some great recipes, some you might give a pass on, and a great look at life in Paris.

I received a copy of this book from Blogging For Books in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.


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