Eat Smart in France – Book Review
How to Decipher the Menu, Know the Market Foods & Embark on a Tasting Adventure By Ronnie Hess
About the Author:
Ronnie Hess is an author, journalist, English teacher, and chef. She has lived and worked in France, studying gastronomy with a passion for the art itself.
This entry to the Eat Smart series of guides tackles French cuisine in a most interesting manner. It is not simply about the cooking, but rather it covers the historical and regional aspects of how the foods came to be what they are today, immersing the reader in the culture of the country. It brought back memories of the aromas around an open air market in Paris so many years ago…..the bread, the cheese, the garlic…..
This book is absolutely delicious, cover to cover. I feared I would actually eat the pages; that’s how descriptive the author made the food of France.
This book is absolutely delicious, cover to cover. I feared I would actually eat the pages; that’s how descriptive the author made the food of France. The first chapter is dedicated to a brief history of French cuisine, from the beginning of human habitation to present day, with a slight lament that fast food may have become the mode of choice for the citizens of France. Fast food has its place, but dining is more than eating; it plays a large role in the social structure of humankind.
The second chapter covers the regional variations found throughout the country, and though the main ingredients can be essentially the same, the seasonings and style of cooking are vast and unique. Geography plays an important factor in what is prepared and how it is presented.
The third chapter presents a few recipes for each course of a meal. They appear easy to prepare, and I will definitely work on making the tomato and red pepper tart!!!
The remainder of the guide explains food shopping in France, presents a very nice list of resources for finding ingredients, shows the reader some useful phrases to use when dining at a restaurant (complete with a pronunciation guide – VERY helpful), reveals a comprehensive list of items one would find on a menu, and finally gives the reader a dictionary –like list of ingredients, cooking utensils, and cooking methods, in both French and English.
This guide is for people who appreciate that food should be more than something that is pre-processed, pre-packaged garbage, filled with preservatives, fillers, and artificial ingredients. French cuisine and sitting around a table with friends and family for hours on end over plates and bowls filled with new and unusual foodstuffs are things everyone should experience, if for no other reason than it enriches the soul and makes life good.
Now, what to have for dinner tonight………
Editor’s notes: This article contains affiliate links. The book was also received compliments of Ginko Press and University of Wisconsin Press for review.