Until you can fly to Paris: French Cooking for Beginners

Paris is one of my favorite cities and my trips to France have always meant so much to me.  For sure, I can’t go  now but I can happily imagine myself there as I browse through the gorgeous photos and recipes in this cookbook.

The book includes 75 recipes organized by Breakfast and Eggs, Appetizers, Salads and Sandwiches, Soups and Stews, Main Courses, Sides and Vegetable Dishes and Desserts, so something for everyone here.  The book begins with an introduction to French cooking, everything from salts, vinegars and mustards to Les Halles.  You can even learn to read French wine labels!

Just a sampling of the recipes, these from the breakfast section, include Almond Brioche Toast, Crepes Suzettes, Basic Quiche, Eggs Poached in Red Wine and more. The recipes are complex enough to be involving, maybe a good thing for our current moment.

This is a lovely cookbook.  Take a look, even if just for the photos.

Many thanks to the publisher for the review copy.  All opinions are my own.


From the publisher:

french cookbook, cooking, french cooking, french country cooking, french pastry cookbook

A sample bite from the book: French Onion Soup

Prep Time: 10 Minutes // Cook Time: 2½ Hours // Makes: 8 Servings

French onion soup is perhaps the most iconic and well-traveled of all French dishes. Worldwide, it has seduced more stomachs than even our beloved New England clam chowder, which, incidentally, is based upon another French export. I once read that onion soup was “invented” by Louis XV. In this histoire, Louis was out hunting with the boys when they returned to the hunting lodge and found nothing but a couple of onions and a bottle of Champagne in the cupboards. What was a poor monarch supposed to do but improvise? The truth is that onion soup has been simmering in farmhouse kitchens since the birth of time; it is a dish born of frugality and circumstance. There are many versions, and mine is the remembered flavors from my youth—the way my family made it. Please feel free to substitute my Homemade Chicken Stock (page 70) for beef broth or even water. The real flavor comes from the deep caramelization of the onions. The croutons and cheesy topping are key to the success of any onion soup. I like to use Emmental and mozzarella in a three-to-one ratio. The mozzarella really adds a beautiful molten quality. Add as much cheese as you want.


1. In a large Dutch oven or heavy stockpot over medium heat, melt the butter until foamy. Add the bacon and cook, stirring often, until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Add the onions and garlic and cook, stirring often, until the onions are soft and lightly browned, about 30 minutes.

2. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are very brown, about 1 1/2 hours. Adjust the heat even lower, if necessary, to keep them from burning. The sweetness and richness of flavor comes from this step.

3. Sprinkle the onions with the flour (if using; this addition gives the soup a bit more depth and body). Add the stock, wine, thyme, and bay leaf and simmer until golden brown with a rich taste, about 30 minutes.

4. While the soup is simmering, make the croutons. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the baguette slices directly on the oven racks and bake until lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and preheat the broiler.

5. In a small bowl, combine the cheeses. To serve, ladle the soup into 8 ovenproof bowls, and then top each with 2 bread slices and 1/4 cup of the cheese. Working in batches if necessary, set the bowls on a baking sheet and broil until the cheese is golden brown, about 5 minutes.


  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 strips bacon, diced
  • 4 sweet onions (2 to 2½ pounds total), sliced paper thin
  • 4 garlic cloves, mashed
  • 10 cups Homemade Chicken Stock (page 70), beef stock, or water
  • 16 baguette slices
  • 6 ounces Emmental cheese (or Gruyère, Swiss, or Cantal), shredded
  • 2 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded

7 thoughts on “Until you can fly to Paris: French Cooking for Beginners

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s