Patricia Wells, . . HarperCollins, $30 (336pp) ISBN 978-0-06-018469-8

Drawing on more than 20 years of experience as a food writer in Paris, Wells (Bistro Cooking) presents cherished recipes from famous Parisian restaurants, such as Benoît Guichard of Jamin's Tarte Tatin (Caramelized Apple Tart), Joël Robuchon's Creamy White Bean Soup, Café Bonaparte's Chicken Salad and Le Dôme's Sole Meuniére. She ferrets out the best recipes from the authority venues, such as La Maison du Chocolat's Bitter-Sweet Chocolate Mousse and Chef William Ledeuil's Fresh White Beans with Mimolette, Roquette and Pistachio Oie. If readers can get over some haute cuisine pretension (a Black Truffle Mayonnaise recipe suggests using "eggs that have been enclosed in a glass jar with the truffles for 1 day"), they will find down-to-earth recipes such as The Market Gardeners' Zucchini and Curry Soup and The Taxi Driver's Wife's Secret Mussels. Regional France is well represented by the likes of southwestern polenta (Hélene's 'Polenta' with Sheep's-Milk Cheese) and seafood from Brittany (Memories of Brittany Lobster with Cream). Wells has a knack for choosing simple yet elegant recipes—quintessentially French—with reliable results in the North American kitchen. She follows a growing trend of replacing red meats (although there is a short chapter on them) with poultry, seafood and vegetables (a whole chapter is devoted to potatoes). This book is a must for any Francophile yearning for Brasserie Balzar's Midnight Onion Soup, and for visitors who want a great resource for where to buy and how to handle the spectacular foods in Paris. Photos. (Nov.)

Forecast:Wells's fans will be pleased, for this is very much in the tradition of her other books. Despite a glut of French cookbooks, Wells is the real deal, and her latest offering will satisfy its readership, which includes anyone who loves France, or who lives there and wants to learn more about its foods.