Food and Friends

Simone Beck, Author, Suzanne Patterson, Author Viking Books $30 (544p) ISBN 978-0-670-83934-6
In 1911, seven-year-old Beck (coauthor of Mastering the Art of French Cooking ) made her first roux ; 20th-century French cooking hasn't been the same since. In this memoir cowritten with Patterson, she tells her life story both as a gourmet and as a woman. Beck begins at Rainfrevillesic , the comfortable family house where her kitchen experiments began. An unfortunate marriage at 19 in Paris led to divorce and Beck's introduction to a man sporting a ``badly tied bow tie''--Jean Fischbachersic , who would become her second husband. Following World War II, she grew interested in writing ``a valid cookbook for Americans'' about French cuisine. An editor's advice to find a collaborator resulted in her fruitful association with the wife of a U.S. government official--Julia Child. Despite the many pages devoted here to the culinary art, Beck's book is essentially the love story of ``Simca'' and Jean, and this story is less compelling than might be expected. Her recipes, however, do transcend--be it in the combination of strawberries, currants and lime juice for a timbale aux fruits rouges or the sorrel, parsley and creme fraiche for soupe a la Suraile . Perhaps it is too much to ask that the memories in Food and Friends uplift like the recipes; the recipes alone are a gift. Illustrations not seen by PW. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/30/1991
Release date: 10/01/1991
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 544 pages - 978-0-14-017817-3
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