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Book review: French Country Cooking

Book review: French Country Cooking
French Country Cooking
The Roux Brothers
RRP £25
The Roux brothers need little introduction to fans of fine cooking- but their latest book is a little different. A little more rustic, a little less precise. French Country Cooking is just that- honest, robust and flavoursome.
The book provides a solid introduction to French cuisine region by region. Chapter introductions offer an area overview, with each section closing with a list of local ingredients. The recipes are a mixture of the familiar (rabbit pate) and more esoteric, almost-forgotten specialities such as Provencal pumpkin and almond tart.
French Country Cooking offers an insight into the personal preferences and quirks of each Roux brother- mussels in cider is a favourite of Albert, whilst Michel once ate 96 snails in one sitting. The relaxed approach is demonstrated with the inclusion of recipes which don't quite fit into certain regions, yet are deemed by the brothers just too good to omit.
Although recipe introductions are concise, there's often a gem of information to be gleaned- concerning a festival or custom, perhaps, or a pearl of Roux wisdom. The dedication to Albert and Michel's mother, printed in French, shows how deeply both brothers feel her influence.
The Roux are instinctive cooks- food and its preparation is their very lifeblood. Yet they're also methodical, pragmatic and capable of delivering a complex method in a thoroughly accessible, exacting way. Recipe notes, guidance on serving and clear methodology render even the most involved recipes attemptable for the home cook.
With their latest project, the Roux brothers have successfully demonstrated both their warmth and sense of bon viveur. The food in French Country Cooking is generous, authentic and down to earth- no doubt the description many would offer of Albert and Michel themselves.
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13 January 2011
By: Zoe Perrett
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