Between her global culinary adventures, stellar cooking skills, townhouse in SoHo (bought before the boutiques moved in) and healthy family life, it would be easy to hate Colette Rossant if she weren't as likeable as she is. Moving to New York City from her native France in 1955, Rossant tries her hand at teaching French and covering the United Nations for a Belgian publication before the new flavors in her adopted hometown draw her into the kitchen as well as the nether regions of the city, including a growing Chinatown. This eventually leads to cooking demos on the Hudson River, a PBS series on cooking with kids, restaurant reviews for New York Magazine, several cookbooks and many other culinary pursuits. Rossant chronicles these adventures in her latest book, The World in My Kitchen: The Adventures of a (Mostly) French Woman in New York (Atria, $22, 224 pages, ISBN 0743490282). As with Apricots on the Nile, a book describing her colorful childhood in Egypt, and Return to Paris, Rossant finishes each chapter of The World in My Kitchen with recipes reflecting the events and places she describes with such warmth and humor. By the time we reach the present day, Rossant has learned to bake bread with a solar oven in Tanzania, eaten grilled grubs in the Australian outback and impressed VIP Japanese guests at the French Embassy in Tokyo with her fusion cooking. The only problem with this book is, in fact, that the sheer breadth of material covered makes it difficult to get too deep and the real meat of the story sometimes seems tantalizingly out of reach.

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