Recommend a French cookbook that toes this line--

I’d like a book of French recipes that are simpler and more everyday than Julia Child’s old-fashioned, fussy haute cuisine… and also lighter and healthier than Ina Garten’s butter-and-cream fests. I’ve been reading all the books about French parenting that have been coming out, and I’m inspired. I’d also like to have something to do with lion’s head bowls and quiche pans because they’re so cute.


Before you give up on Julia Child, you might check out The Way to Cook. It illustrates classic French techniques, but in a more down-to-earth way.

I’m a big fan of Dorie Greenspan’s Around my French Table. It’s a nice mix of updated classics and newer French-influenced cuisine. Everything I’ve made from it so far has been great.

Besides Dorie Greenspan (who also has a great baking cookbook), I’ll also suggest the cookbooks by Laura Calder, who has a show on the Cooking Channel.

I have so many cookbooks that they are becoming a source of embarrassment for me but the only French one is Anthony Bourdain’s Les Halles Cookbook. It combines 3 great things - some good writing, classic French bistro recipes and some useful general philosophizing about cooking. I love it.

Moving over to Cafe Society.

I don’t have it myself, but I’ve heard good things about I Know How to Cook. It’s a translation from the French Je Sais Cuisiner and is reviewed as being the French bible of home cooking. I will be buying this cookbook soon.

Jacque Pepin is a well-known French chef who has lived in Connecticut for many years, and who used to cook with Julia all the time (delightful shows on PBS if you can find them, BTW.) He has a couple cookbooks which are French with American shortcuts.

Aaaah, I’ve been reading the French parenting books too! I’m feeling both inspired and like I’m falling hook line and sinker for parenting trend du jour. It’s freaking me out a little.

Are you planning on making the yogurt cake with your daughter? And in love with the idea of courses at a meal? I am!

I love the French parenting books because they reinforce the ideas I had anyway–provide books and friends and opportunities to be away from you, be friendly when they approach you, and otherwise leave them alone. I can’t stand helicopter parenting or competitive parenting or “structured learning environment” daycares or early reading or summer tutoring or any of that crap. I also can’t stand junk food marketing or catering to the whims of someone who can’t possibly know what’s good for her.

And yes, I am totally going to make yogurt cake with my daughter! And I already had the idea to give her fruit and veg to snack on while I cook dinner–my sister in law does that, and her kids get a ton of good food in them that way.

To me the French parenting books aren’t parenting du jour, they’re the right way. And yet the French drive me up a wall, why is that?

Anyway, thanks for all of the great recommendations. The first one led me to the “French Slow Cooker” cookbook which sounds RIGHT freakin’ up my alley.

I absolutely agree with you. The reason it’s freaking me out is because it’s making so much sense to me. Before I read it I was gently telling my 2 month old “Be patient.” when i was setting up for nursing, which is similar to the idea of being sage. And when she’s in her swing talking to herself I was just letting her be. I figure everyone needs to learn how to be alone with themselves. The book reinforces my ideas, but I’m afraid of taking them too far and being standoffish or cold.

I love the philosophy on eating. The afternoon snack at 4 being the only snack is something I’d love to institute, though society will make that a little hard. Have you seen the Weight of the Nation documentary on HBO? It’s really interesting, about how children are constantly snacking.

Sorry for the hijack, I’ve just been really interested in these books. It shouldn’t surprise me that you’re into them too. You seem very pragmatic, and I mean that as a compliment.

(doffs hat and bows) (typed that “doofs hat” the first time, probably closer to the truth)

I really like the afternoon snacktime, too, and that’s how my daughter eats. Breakfast at 8, lunch at 11:30 (she isn’t old enough to stay awake till noon and still have energy to eat), nap at noon, snack at 3:30, dinner at 6:30. Then bed at 7:30. She’s been consistently on that schedule since she was… eh… maybe 11 months old. I know that that will go tits up when she starts going to preschool etc, but oh well.

So there is Bringing Up Bebe and* French Kids Eat Everything*, are there others I’m missing?

I discovered a company called Harold Import Company or HIC. Some of their white porcelain is available on Amazon. It can go under the broiler and is very reasonably priced. I’ve just put 10oz au gratin dishes and 6 oz ramekins on my Amazon wish list. I ADORE the French idea of individual portions in small dishes. It makes you feel special and also controls the amount you eat. It’s awesome.

I haven’t seen the documentary, but that makes a lot of sense to me. Sometime around the time my own kids were becoming toddlers I noticed that the snacking that I grew up with had become something else. Kids we would see out shopping always had to be munching or slurping on something the whole time.

I can’t ever remember my parents bringing food and drink when we were just going on errands and I certainly don’t remember them opening packages and feeding me with the contents before we had even paid for the stuff.

I don’t think so, though I’m a little interested in French Women Don’t Get Fat. Which might actually have some recipes along the lines of what your seeking, The Amazon page has a few recipes that look good. I’ve got the sample on my kindle, it’ll be my next read I think.

I have that. It’s worth reading. Along those lines there are at least two French-to-American advice books by Genevieve Antoine-Dariaux that are a little old-fashioned, but in a timeless kind of way.

Here are several cookbooks to suggest:

[li]Julia Childs & Jacques Pepin Cooking at Home which combines two of the best authors on the subject on a very well presented treatise on French cooking[/li][li]Le Cordon Bleu Le Cordon Bleu at Home which contains recipes of classic French dishes in well illustrated book.[/li][li]James Peterson Glorious French Food a classic subject by one of America’s greatest cookbook writers. You will learn much from this book![/li][li]Anne Willan Country Cooking of France owner of a French villa and cooking school that does a very good job of presenting her interpretation of classic French dishes along with many regional dishes.[/li][li]Paula Wolfert Cooking of Southwest France another great cookbook writer taking on the food of southwest France.[/li][/ul]

You could take a look at Chocolate & Zucchini, which is also the name of the author’s cooking blog. As you can guess from the title, she doesn’t just do healthy and sensible!