a good buy
?Bistro Cooking? was inspired by the small family restaurants of France, and is a collection of about 200 recipes, with considerable side commentary about french cooking history and traditional techniques, with the occasional nostalgic photo.
I was fortunate to do my apprenticeship with the Executive Chef of the Hilton Hotels, Albert Schnell. French cuisine is very important to Albert, as he is originally from Alsace, a small, densely-populated province of France that borders Switzerland and Germany, and is noted for its convivial, generous fare. Obviously French cuisine is important to Albert; his passion for this book recommended it to me.
When I went to France a couple summers ago, I was surprised to find much of the food to be bland, more focussed on meat and cheese than I expected. I should have known that - this book, very french and very true to french cooking, reflects those qualities, with most of the recipes built around meat, cheese, and sauces (I am looking at a salad in the book right now that includes ham, walnuts, and duck gizzards!)
I have tried quite a few of these recipes, and still use this cookbook. My favorite so far is the ?Bouillabaisse de Poulet Chez Tante Paulette?, a chicken stew with fennel and saffron, that is absolutely delicious. Typically this recipe explains who Tante Paulette is, talks about her little bistro in Lyon, and complimentary serving suggestions, as well as an ingredient list and brief, uncomplicated instructions. This dish is very tasty, especially with a nice white wine yum!
This book is a good buy, an interesting read, a solid tool in the kitchen, and a delightful source of excellent French comfort food. Recommended.