Pampille's Table: Recipes and Anecdotes from the French Countryside: From Marthe Daudet's Les Bons Plats de France

Shirley King, Translator, Marthe Daudets, Author Faber & Faber $24.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-571-19889-4
Called Pampille because of her butterfly-like delicacy, Marthe Daudet (1878-1960) published Les Bons Plats de France in 1919. Her roundup of France's regional recipes, with commentary, became a classic. In King's (Dining with Marcel Proust) excellent translation, many of the recipes exhibit a timeless appeal and are surprisingly appropriate for the modern table, as is Pampille's advice on purchasing seasonal produce. With some of the intriguing anomalies found in cookbooks of another era (a recipe for Norman Fat instructs ""For 25 pounds of beef fat, use 5 pounds pork fat"") are a great many straightforward recipes for such classic French dishes as Quiche Lorraine, Choucroute and Buckwheat Crepes. King also preserves Pampille's sharp eye and even sharper pen, exemplified in her skewering of a typical dinner party (in ""The Awful Dinner"") and in her quick portraits of each of France's regions (""Normandy is like a rich, stout woman who exposes her largesse without grace""). Readers will be enchanted with the voice and view of Pampille, whose husband was political writer Leon Daudet, and may wish that King and her publisher supplied more biographical material. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1996
Release date: 04/01/1996
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