Thursday, November 4, 2010

Around the World Cookbook Table--I Land in France and Decide not to Leave

It's cookbook season, and I'm trying to figure out how to have more than one table of them. Not only do a lot of cookbooks come out in the fall, but we also have a lot of food related events. A big thank you to the Journal Sentinel for yesterday's coverage, including info on Buddy Valastro, Kelly Peloza, and Scott Buer (last night). More on our events page.

We put the home-y, general, and entertaining cookbooks on our front table and window, along with a bit of Thanksgiving stuff (some turkey tealight holders, corn candles, a few centerpieces). I was very excited as we sold two husk turkeys yesterday.

In the center of the store, we're featuring world cuisines. There are some wonderful cookbooks out there, from Turkey to Thailand. I'm not in the mood for too much travel today, some I'm just making one stop in France. Nancy B., a great friend of the store, was on a European trip last month and decided that instead of traipsing around, decided after a while to just hang out in Paris. I'm for that. Here are three new releases of note.

Rizzoli has La Cuisine: Everyday French Home Cooking, by Francoise Bernard. This is a famous French cookbook from the 1960's, praised by Eric Ripert as offering "delicious yet simple dishes." While you may be a little taken aback by seeing a recipe for marinated rooster or slow-cooked calf's feet, remember these are only two of 1000 recipes. Some roast to-mah-toes, others roast lobster. Both can use this book. I love that this book makes no apologies to American audiences. It is not just French, it's Franco-French.

Dorie Greenspan's Around my French Table: More than 300 Recipes from My House to Yours is already out of stock with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, or so Jason tells me. You know Greenspan from NPR, Parade, Bon Appetit, her collaboration with Julia Child, here James-Beard-award-winning everythingness. These recipes are still very French, but far more amenable to the modern American palette. Olive and orange salad? Sounds good. Chard-stuffed pork roast? Seems feasbile. Stuffed pumpkin? Mussels and chorizo, with or without pasta? I'm seeing a salivating audience. I wouldn't expect to see chorizo in a French cookbook, but remember, it's Greenspan's table we're talking about. If you want this book as a holiday gift, I'd probably start chasing it down now.

Since I spent part of yesterday evening at the JCC (Myla Goldberg read from and discussed The False Friend), I am put in the mood for Quiches, Kugels, and Couscous: My Search for Jewish Cooking in France. Nathan visits kitches in Paris, Alsace, and the Loire Valley, "finding that Jewish cooking is more alive than ever." Alsatian Pot-au-Feu (Sabbath beef stew) shares the table with Friday Night Chicken Provencal with Fennel and Garlic. Papeton d'Aubergines (eggplant gratin) and Marrons aux Oignons et aux Quetsches (chestnuts, onions and prunes) intriguque me. Lots of photos, shabbat and sukkot stories--it's got the feel of a family album.

I can't do a display without at least attempting to tie-in a little gift stuff (sometimes it doesn't work--no nonbook on the New Directions table!) and fortunately, I had just made this special purchase decorative globes. We sold out of the cream tabletop ones last year. This year we were able to make a special purchase, so we've an even larger selection at a cheaper price. There was a lot of oohing and ahhing as we set the hanging models.

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