cover image Cuisine Economique

Cuisine Economique

Jacques Pepin. William Morrow & Company, $22 (260pp) ISBN 978-0-688-11145-8

This timely collection of recipes and menus by columnist and TV teacher Pepin ( Today's Gourmet ) is devoted to the art of producing ``good, well-cooked food with speed, organization, cleanliness and economy.'' The author is a consummate instructor, never assuming readers are practiced cooks yet never patronizing them, either. The book is valuable as much for its footnotes as for its foods. The reader learns time- and money-saving techniques: how to double the yield of costly asparagus and how to cook beans without soaking, as well as how to make the fresh breadcrumbs often called for in contemporary recipes but not always included in the recipe section. Recipes here are grouped by season--foods in season being most economical--and many reflect Pepin's provincial French roots. Some of the more unusual include fromage fort, made with leftover bits of cheese, and grand aioli, a flan of green herbs, and a black-eyed pea and kale ragout. While this is not a low-calorie book, Pepin recommends canola oil wherever possible and uses fruit as a base for most desserts. (July)