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Dec 2, 2009 07:17 AM

Ginette Mathiot, I Know How to Cook?

Has anyone already seen or used this "new" (in English) translation/reworking of a French classic cookbook popular there since 1932? I love French food and would like to be able to cook in the French housewife style, not so much the elaborate chef-centered cuisine of Julia Child, however much I adore the woman. But it's huge, and expensive, and reviews on amazon are VERY mixed. I'd value what any brave chowhounds have made of it. If anything.

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  1. I read a mention of it in the New York Times with a recipe which sounded OK if basic, and looked through it in a bookstore subsequently. It did not appeal to me, too encyclopedic - I already have La Bonne Cuisine de Mme E. St-Ange and many other French cookbooks so have no need of this one. It's another of the Phaidon series of international cookbooks (Silver Spoon et al), of which I've only fallen for the Greek one (Vefa's Kitchen) which does have some excellent and unusual recipes.

    4 Replies
    1. re: buttertart

      but Vefa Alexiadou's is not a book of the early 20th century, as the French ones are. I know her, and remember her compiling her recipes for that book.

      1. re: ChefJune

        It's a wonderful book, please let her know that this lover of Greece and Greek cuisine is thrilled to own it. My point was that I find the Phaidon series of releases commendable but not enticing to own or cook from.

        1. re: buttertart

          +1. Own and have never been thrilled with 1080 recipes.

      2. re: buttertart

        "Vefa's Kitchen" is an amazing book. I'm looking forward to summer, when I can get all of the local veggies I need to do justice to her recipes. I'd recommend this cookbook to anyone.

      3. i was wondering the same thing---should this be on the Christmas list or not? I first learned about it from the ChocolateZucchini website. I did look in the bookstore and confess, I thought it looked fun but perhaps thats just me. I have a great translation cookbook from that era about cooking a complete 3 course meal in an hour. I can't say I've used all the recipes but conceptually its great plus a fun read.

        So anyone actually own this one?

        1 Reply
        1. re: jenn

          I own it, (recently acquired the English version AND the French version), but haven't really had time to go through it. It's huge and heavy.

        2. I got it for Christmas. Have yet to do more than read and ponder but will dive in soon and be sure to report back.

          1. I'm a relative beginner at cooking, and got the book for Christmas. I was pretty excited to dive in since the short, simple recipes seemed perfect for daily dinners. My first attempt was as simple as possible - scrambled eggs - but didn't turn out well. Obviously not my first time making scrambled eggs, but I wanted to see if the low heat, high amounts of butter & milk and constant stirring in the recipe would be a revelation. I followed the recipe to the letter, but the eggs took about 45 minutes to cook (vs. 12 stated in the recipe) and my husband and I did not like the texture compared to our regular way to doing it.

            So, this might not be the best book for someone who is inexperienced, since the recipe did not seem to work when followed to the literal letter. The short style of recipes might be better suited to someone who knows how to cook pretty well already (e,g., someone who knows that "constant stirring" means only after the eggs start to coagulate). However, I still look forward to trying more, and think the short style will be good as I gain more experience.

            1 Reply
            1. re: zucchini80

              I have used a recipe for French style scrambled eggs from another French cookbook and for what its worth, constant stirring does mean constant stirring if you are making scrambled eggs "french style." And yes, it can take what seems like FOREVER for the eggs to be done as the icy cold butter being dropped in does slow down the cooking considerably.

              And yes, the texture is very different from the traditional American way of doing eggs. My husband and pups---all of whom prefer less done eggs---like it very much.