That elusive “quoi” in “je ne sais quoi” that seems to give French women their unique edge became a bit more comprehensible when Mireille Guiliano gave us the inside scoop in French Women Don’t Get Fat. She made it clear that the great Gallic gift of eating well and sensuously while keeping fit and trim doesn’t come in the form of a strict diet. Rather, French women have an attitude about eating and living, about self-acceptance and balance, that anyone, anywhere, can easily and happily espouse. Now, with The French Women Don’t Get Fat Cookbook, Mireille returns with the recipes to back up her theory of living life well. I can’t tell you that you’ll lose weight, but I can tell you that these 123 recipes, flavored with Mireille’s charmingly personal reflections, offer her sensible approach to making pleasurable meals (three a day, s’il vous plaît) that produce maximum results with minimum effort. She’s added menus and, bien sûr, a little advice on serving champagne.
Blue Ribbon brothers
The Bromberg brothers have always done everything together, including going to Le Cordon Bleu, opening their super-successful Blue Ribbon restaurant in 1992 and then its eight equally successful offshoots. So it’s no surprise that their debut book, Bromberg Bros. Blue Ribbon Cookbook, is a collaborative effort, one that shares Blue Ribbon’s most-loved recipes from nibbles, snacks and toasts through main dishes, sides, salads, soups, sandwiches and desserts to those oh-so-comforting breakfast and brunch specials. Inspired by their apprenticeships in Paris and beyond, “culinary tourism” with their father, family traditions (including a memorable Matzoh Ball Soup) and favorites from the Jersey joints of their youth, Bruce and Eric’s passion is for making whatever they make the best it can be. They don’t shy away from meat and potatoes—try the Really Good Brisket—or rich, dense desserts like Chocolate Bruno, not to mention a succulent sandwich made with duck breasts and bacon. The instructions are carefully written for the home cook, as are the tips offered in “Blue Ribbon Wisdom” and their fun, informative headers.
Cookbook of the month
“Life is short, always eat dessert first.” If you’re a follower of that profound precept or just the owner of an active sweet tooth, David Lebovitz’s Ready for Dessert is a must. Lebovitz, blogger, author of four previous cookbooks and former member of Chez Panisse’s pastry department, has revisited, revamped and perfected over 170 of his all-time greatest hits in this elegantly produced, scrumptiously illustrated collection. David eschews the fussy and over-elaborate and embraces the bold and intensely flavored—just bite into his moist, spicy Fresh Ginger Cake with a dollop of whipped cream-lightened lemon curd, and you’ll get the picture. His header notes are chatty, his directions thorough and supportive and his take on the sweet side of life inspired and inspiring.