Essential Pepin: More Than 700 All-Time Favorites from My Life in Food

Jacques Pepin. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $40 (704p) ISBN 978-0-547-23279-9
One of the great cookbook masters of the world, Pepin has published 26 volumes of recipes (including one with Julia Child). In this, which might be considered his opus, he offers more than 700 of his best French and French-accented dishes from decades of cooking and teaching. They're simple without being dumbed down; approachable yet still adventurous. Whether he's explaining how to make Escoffier quenelles with mushroom sauce; black sea bass gravlax; chicken livers sautéed with vinegar; duck cassoulet; artichoke hearts with tarragon and mushrooms; or tarte tatin, he makes it seem doable and shares tidbits of wisdom to boost confidence and kitchen knowledge. His head notes are brief but informative, warm but not cloying. Pepin's own line drawings accompany the recipes, and they are, appropriately, at once homey and sophisticated. A DVD teaching a variety of cooking techniques accompanies the book, promising to make even the more challenging recipes less intimidating. For serious cooks and beginners alike, this is an instant classic that would enhance almost any collection. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 07/18/2011
Release date: 10/01/2011
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