Tasting Paris: 100 Recipes to Eat Like a Local
Potter/Crown Publishing, 2018
While tourists to Paris often find themselves eating over-priced mediocre French fare at a sidewalk cafe with a rude waiter, where do the locals eat? And what? Clotilde Dusoulier, the award-winning French food writer, creator of the blog Chocolate and Zucchini, has compiled a guide to re-create a day of gastronomic delights as actual Parisians would experience it. From the comfort of your own kitchen.
Laid out over the course of a day, Tasting Paris is a collection of classic French recipes, mixed with some newer dishes from immigrant communities that are now part of the Parisian food culture. Dusoulier points out that Parisians seldom eat a big breakfast, and then almost always at home, so she offers recipes for fruit and yogurt, brioche, chocolate bread, and Moroccan crumpets. I’d never heard of Bostock — essentially day-old brioche dipped in sugar syrup, then spread with jam, an almond “cream” similar to frangipane, and sliced almonds, then baked until the top is golden — but I’m making it for breakfast tomorrow.
Additional chapters include noon (lunch), afternoon (sweet snacks), early evening (savoury snacks or appetizers), evening (dinner) and late night, which consists on exactly one recipe — French onion soup. As it should be. Clearly, the French like to eat throughout the day.
Dusoulier is wise enough to not offer recipes for baguettes or croissants, but instead has recipes for things to do with them. The collection overall is a good cross-section of salads (warm goat cheese), mains such as Turkish lamb, ratatouille, and steak frites (she explains the intricacies of French beef cuts), and appetizers (baked Camembert, hearty pate), plus plenty of classic desserts such as chocolate mousse.
If you already know and love French food, you probably won’t find anything especially new here, but Dusoulier’s headnotes for each recipe offer clear and concise explanations of the Parisian attitude towards meals, restaurants, specific dishes, and food in general. Features on well-known Parisian food artisans such as Poilaine and Cluizel point new visitors to Paris to places to definitely check out, and lovely photos of the city will make any reader want to book a flight. Food photos are lovely and simple and utterly appetizing.
Usability: Very good. Based on a epub version, recipes are clear with good-sized fonts. Directions are broken down with line breaks. Measurements are offered in metric and imperial.