When not cooking, shopping, eating ... oh, et bien sur! d-r-e-a-m-i-n-g of FOOD .... I adore picking up a gorgeous book about food!

Below, you will find links and brief reviews of some of the books that I can't put down!

The Perfectionist by Rudolph Chelminski


The Perfectionist, by Rudolph ChelminskiIn The Perfectionist (Gotham, May 2005 -- author Rudolph Chelminski tells the story of Bernard Loiseau, the chef of France’s La Côte D’Or, who committed suicide in 2003. This isn't the first book about Loiseau, a colorful, driven man caught up in the pressure of keeping his three Michelin stars. His wife Dominique penned a book soon after his death, Bernard Loiseau Mon Mari and William Echikson wrote about his struggle for his third Michelin Star in Burgundy Stars: A Year in the Life of a Great French Restaurant.

Don't read The Perfectionist to find out the "truth" about Bernard Loiseau but rather to luxuriate in a well researched book of gossip and wonderful descriptions of the great chefs of France, the details about meals, ego and influence. Rudolph Chelminski followed Louiseau's career for three decades.

When I interviewed Barry Wine for
Super Chef, he gave me a glimpse of what an American would have found visiting France in the sparkling years when Nouvelle Cuisine was revolutionizing French cuisine. The movement opened Wine's eyes, just as it did for Claude Verger, Loiseau's patron, who hired him as chef, first at the Barniere de Clichy, then at La Côte D'Or. Chelminski puts Nouvelle Cuisine in perspective, drawing out the ingredients that were each chef's contribution. There are terrific descriptions of Loiseau's and Michel Guerard's dishes and plenty about the business of fine dining.

There are terrific stories in The Perfectionist, like Paul Bocuse's bash for Loiseau when he won his third star. Chelminski provides the sumptuous menu and includes a description of Bocuse meeting Loiseau atop one of two elephants he had borrowed from the circus, getting Loiseau to get up on the second with a magnum of champagne (pp. 255-6)

To read more: Super Chef

-- Ooh la la!  My last substantial book purchase from beloved 'Elliot Bay Books' in Seattle, WA
 *( the original location! )

Here is the 'Good Reads' review of it....I will add my own take on it soon!

French Feasts: 299 Traditional Recipes for Family Meals and Gatherings

3.81 of 5 stars 
In France, where eating is a national pastime, the long, leisurely Sunday lunch is a feast for the senses. It is this quality that acclaimed chef and author Stéphane Reynaud captures so perfectly in his paean to traditional French cooking. Rustic and approachable, humorous and convivial, French Feasts features 299 recipes for beloved dishes like patés, gratins, savory tarts, and braised meats that are the essence of French weekend fare.From classic stews like navarin and boeuf bourguignon, to foie gras prepared six different ways, to crème brulée and gâteau Basque, the recipes come from all over France and even some former colonies (couscous is a national favorite). The book also includes beautiful, earthy photographs, whimsical illustrations, profiles of local producers, and fact-filled sidebars—a guide to cognac and Armagnac, how to make the perfect croissant, and much more—that evoke the considerable pleasures of the French table.
Hardcover, 480 pages


Cooking at Home on Rue Tatin
Another great book and review by Good Reads.

Cooking at Home on Rue Tatin
In Cooking At Home On Rue Tatin award-winning cookbook author and professional chef Susan Herrmann Loomis takes cooks and readers on a friendly and delicious tour of French home cooking, from the refined to the rustic.

In this collection of Susan's favorites, readers and cooks will learn the tricks and tips of entertaining like the French, get clear instruction on the basics of French cooking, and be introduced to the new and exciting array of multicultural cuisines that are rapidly entering the realm of classic French. You will meet Susan's inspirations, from neighbors in her small town to starred chefs, as they share their own home recipes, which have become standard fare on Susan's own table.

Susan invites the busy home cook to relax, unwind, and enjoy the tastes, textures, and aromas of simple yet often sophisticated French fare. The book is filled with contemporary recipes, such as Tuna with Ginger Yogurt Sauce and Cilantro Coulis, Spiced Fish Fillet in Parchment Paper, Skate with Potato Puree; classics, such as Soupe au Pistou, Coq au Vin, Pot-au-Feu, and Quiche Lorraine; and cross-cultural dishes, such as Chorba (Algerian Ramadan soup), Chicken Soup with Tamarind, and Lamb and Dried Plum Tagine with Toasted Almonds. What sets apart all of these recipes, from the contemporary to the classic, is Susan's clear presentation, which makes them so easily accessible.

Susan's food, along with her warm hospitality, puts people at ease and makes them feel as if they are honored guests or members of Susan's own family.


Made In Marseille, by Daniel Young.

This was my first 'go-to' book for recipes for Bouillabaisse--in fact it has over 20 variations for my favorite Southern French dish.

Here is the review from

Marseille, once notorious for its assorted mischief, has recently experienced a cultural renaissance, establishing it as a Mediterranean capital of film, fashion, music, literature, and, most assuredly, cuisine. From the city's beloved, world-famous bouillabaisse to enticing émigré flavors to venerable street treats to classic and contemporary Provencal bistro fare, this culinary crossroads, the Paris of Provence, offers an exciting array of tempting foods that, while global in scope, have a folksy, made-in-Marseille personality. 

 "Daniel Young, author of The Paris Café Cookbook, explores the authentic flavors of France's oldest city, its great southern gateway, extending from the Marseille of antiquity, found intact in the limestone cliffs of the rocky coastline, to the Marseille of romantic intrigue, still apparent in the labyrinthine passageways of the historic Panier quarter, to its storied center, the Vieux Port. Of course there's bouillabaisse: an entire chapter on this legendary fish stew-soup, including rustic, home-style Marseille recipes adapted so they can successfully be made with North American fish -- not entirely authentic but wholeheartedly delicious. There are many other definitive fish recipes from this seafood lovers' paradise as well, including the legendary pan-fried calamari with parsley and garlic from Chez Etienne and the foolproof formula for grilling fish from the Restaurant L'Escale. In addition, there are aromatic appetizers, traditional and newfangled desserts, savory pastries, meat and chicken dishes, and hearty vegetable stews, all prepared with the building blocks of the healthful, French-Mediterranean diet: olive oil, garlic, tomatoes, zucchini, fennel, eggplant, artichokes, olives, basil, thyme, rosemary, bay leaves, almonds, figs, and honey."

It's a full cookbook, offering 120 recipes and also a remarkable portrait of France's "Second City." With evocative black-and-white photographs by Marseille native Sébastien Boffredo, Made in Marseille is a lively panorama of the food, flavors, culture, and mystique of France's vital and fascinating cosmopolitan seaport.