cover image At Home with the French Classics

At Home with the French Classics

Richard Grausman, Author Workman Publishing $24.95 (424p) ISBN 978-0-89480-627-8

If you are cowed by puff pastry, souffles and things sauteed, Grausman's book will help you conquer your awe of French cooking. His title reflects his aim: to make classic French recipes and techniques approachable for the average cook. With more than 20 years of experience as a teacher in this country of the Cordon Bleu technique, Grausman knows the classic dishes inside out but favors the exercise of independent judgment in preparing them, on the theory that ``there is always more than one way to achieve a desired end.'' Accordingly, he advises flexibility and creativity as a cook's cardinal virtues; urges us to adjust ingredients to taste in recipes; and notes that the ``timing given in recipes should be viewed merely as a guide, not an absolute.'' Where practical, recipes have been shortened and do-ahead steps included. Grausman reduces or even eliminates certain staples (salt, sugar, egg yolks, cream) and uses appliances (e.g., food processors) to blend, chop and mix. (Feb.)