A warm invitation to the French table.
Copper pots hanging over a stove, thyme and rosemary growing in the garden, a boulangerie open every day of the week: these are a few of the reasons Loomis (Nuts in the Kitchen, 2010, etc.) loves the French way with food. Her latest culinary offering is partly a charming account of daily life in Louviers, a small town northwest of Paris where Loomis has lived for 20 years; and partly advice for buying, preparing, and serving the fresh and bountiful food that she and her friends eat every day. Although Loomis buys some supplies at a supermarket, most of her shopping occurs at the butcher’s, baker’s, and farmers market in her neighborhood. “There is a charming intimacy about the interactions in these food shops,” she writes. “I never tire of it. For a minute, at least, while you’re discussing a cut of meat, a type of cheese, the very best clementine, you are part of the social fabric of the entire country.” Families connect over the meals they share three times per day, and there is no such thing as eating on the run; even breakfast is “a quick but rich moment to gently emerge into the day.” While most adults partake of coffee and toast, many families serve breakfast cereals for their children, all sweetened. The French have a sweet tooth, including desserts with each meal and “an emergency chocolate bar” for a pick-me-up during the day. The author provides a list of essential kitchen tools, a glossary of breads and cheeses, a chapter on cooking techniques (e.g., making mayonnaise, buerre blanc, confit, and pastry), and even a list of online sources for special French ingredients. Loomis also shares scores of recipes from her own repertoire and those of her friends, including a 12-month meal plan based on fresh, seasonal ingredients.
A tempting and helpful guide to delectable food.