JACQUES PPIN CELEBRATES

Jacques Pepin, Author, Jacques Pepin, Illustrator, Christopher Hirsheimer, Photographer
Jacques Pepin, Author, Jacques Pepin, Illustrator, Christopher Hirsheimer, Photographer . Knopf $40 (480p) ISBN 978-0-375-41209-7
Reviewed on: 09/10/2001
Release date: 09/01/2001
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In this companion to a new PBS series, Pépin builds on a broad definition of celebrations—encompassing holidays, special occasions, and simply nice weather—to present a collection of typically solid French recipes and numerous useful tips and techniques. As on his television series, Pépin's daughter, Claudine, pipes up with the comments of a novice, although these tend to the banal, as when, to accompany recipes for Velvet of Carrot with Browned Almonds and Farmer's­Style Soup, she gushes, "Soup soup soup! I love making any and all kinds of soup." Recipes for French classics such as Cold Mousse of Chicken and Pistachios and Parsleyed Ham with Rémoulade Sauce, and for more untraditional fare like Broiled Lobster Benjamin with Caramelized Corn and Potato Flats and Chateaubriands with Madeira-Truffle Sauce, Mushroom Timbales, and Crêpe Shells with Corn Puree are complex, but broken down into more manageable components. More valuable than the recipes, however, are the many notes on chopping, garnishing, carving and so forth. Pépin provides step-by-step instructions—and often illustrative photographs—for everything from how to make a melon swan with a cunning peppercorn eye to how (and why) to rinse chopped onions. (Sept.)

Forecast:Pépin is a deservedly successful television host, and his easy manner and impressive skills are well represented here. Although at $40 this is a pricey book, the full-color instructional photos lend much value. This is likely to be a solid seller.

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