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November 2013 Cookbooks of the Month: MARCELLA HAZAN MONTH

Welcome to the November 2013 Cookbooks of the Month. This month we pay homage to Marcella Hazan and discover (or rediscover) her collection of cookbooks.

To view the history of COTM and how it works, please visit this link:
http://www.chow.com/cookbook_of_the_m...

For the nomination thread, please click here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/919575

For the voting thread, please click here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/920400

And the announcement thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/921217

Please use this thread for general discussion of our November 2013 Cookbooks of the Month which includes THE ESSENTIALS OF CLASSIC ITALIAN COOKING, a revision and compilation of her first two books, The Classic Italian Cook Book and More Classic Italian Cooking (and please feel free to cook from either of these if you have them), MARCELLA’S ITALIAN KITCHEN, MARCELLA CUCINA, and MARCELLA SAYS…ITALIAN COOKING WISDOM FROM THE LEGENDARY TEACHER’S MASTER CLASSES WITH 120 OF HER IRRESISTIBLE NEW RECIPES (hereinafter referred to as "the rest of Marcella’s cookbook collection").

Feel free to discuss which recipes to choose, how you think the whole cookbook process is going, ingredient sources or any general comments about the books.

To post a review of any recipe, please select the appropriate thread below. If you are the first to report on a recipe, please reply to the original post. If a report already exists (please check before posting), please hit the reply box within the original report. This way all of the reports on the same dish will be together.

Here are the links to the reporting threads for:

Appetizers; Soups

Essentials of Italian Cooking http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...
The rest of Marcella’s cookbook collection http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/922492

Fish; Seafood; Meats; Poultry and Rabbit

The Essentials of Italian Cooking http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...
The rest of Marcella’s cookbook collection http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/922496

Vegetables; Salads

The Essentials of Italian Cooking http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...
The rest of Marcella’s cookbook collection http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/922493

Pasta; Risotto and Polenta

The Essentials of Italian Cooking http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...
The rest of Marcella’s cookbook collection http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/922494

Breads; Desserts

The Essentials of Italian Cooking http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/325705
The rest of Marcella’s cookbook collection http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/922495

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  1. It turns out I own a copy of Marcella Cucina. It was among the 20 cookbooks I got in a box at an estate sale early this summer. The family shared that the owner had an entire wall of books and very much enjoyed cooking. My to-do list (from July!) includes the entry "make 1 recipe a week from those books" but I hadn't gotten around to looking at the 20 books until just now. Meant to be.

    In the intro section, Marcella tells a warm story of her early cooking as a new bride, She created this cookbook by continuing to cook meals for her husband.

    I plan to try making egg noodles. One sauce. And perhaps some of the desserts - the p. 428 Venetian Raisin and Polenta (cornmeal) cookies caught my eye as did the p. 418 Apple Tart

    4 Replies
    1. re: MidwesternerTT

      Midwestener, I made egg noodles from this very book (Marcella Cucina) in her section "Making Egg Pasta at Home" on p. 119. I can only say that it was the most detailed, informative, fool-proof explanation of making pasta at home that I could ever imagine. It went one for six pages--with small but helpful photos--and that's just for the pasta-machine version! Directions for rolling it by hand took another six pages!
      It works, even for, or perhaps especially for, absolute novices like me. Do try it.

      1. re: Goblin

        Thanks for the encouragement. I read the 12 pages this afternoon and thought I might be over-reaching. Mine will need to be rolled by hand.

        1. re: MidwesternerTT

          I can't wait to read about your success! Her directions are really useful. Keep us all posted!

          1. re: Goblin

            My review is up now, Goblin. Edible but not a repeater for me.

    2. Thanks BigSal, great set up and intro.

      1. Thanks muchly, Sal. Nicely categorized. Here's hoping I can make it through November w/o having to quit in the middle.

        5 Replies
            1. re: jpr54_1

              Q and JPR thank you. Not 100% but I'm working on it. Trying to recover from the BRAT diet. No appetite, Bon or otherwise.

              1. re: Gio

                Poor thing. I went through that about a week ago. I was supposed to chaperone a school field trip. Drove over an hour to get there, having to stop twice on the way. The teacher took one look at me and said "go home." No fun at all, but it does pass fairly quickly. Wishing you a speedy recovery.

              1. Hello all
                I'm planning to make the Risotto with Sausages from Pg. 257 of Essentials and I am a bit confused by the sausage in the ingredient list. It calls for "mild, sweet pork sausage, cut into disks about 1/3 inch thick"

                Am I correct in assuming that I should go with a sweet (as in not spicy) Italian sausage? I also assumed she wants you to use raw sausage, but then the instruction to slice and saute seems odd since I would usually remove from the casing and crumble.

                Have I interpreted incorrectly, any assistance from any old hands at Italian cuisine would be much appreciated.

                2 Replies
                1. re: delys77

                  Just read through this recipe and it does appear that you slice the sausage; and it is sweet [not spicy] sausage. I would still remove the casing. I think she wants that nice brown sweetness that sautéeing sliced sausage gives you. Probably looks prettier as well.

                  1. re: smtucker

                    Thanks smtucker, I'll give it a try. I just assumed raw sausage would crumble when slicing. Either way, I'm sure the flavour will be nice.

                2. Hm, I'm stumped as to where to put a frittata recipe. I don't have the book with me, but I believe it is a separate chapter and I'm not sure which category it would go into. I made the zucchini firttata from Essentials but I'm at a loss as to where it should go. Pardon the silly question.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: delys77

                    Delys, I don't have the Essentials book, however, I notice that someone else made the same frittata and posted it in the original thread. So I think that's where you ought to post your report since that thread is now active for this COTM. Unfortunately that person didn't post the page number. Here's the link to that report:

                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/3257...

                    1. re: Gio

                      Thanks so much Gio. I think mine was different as it didn't call for tomato, I will double check when I get home tonight. Regardless, now I know it is meant to go in that same thread. Thanks very much for your help.

                    2. re: delys77

                      Not a silly question, a very good one. Based on how Essentials is laid out, I suspect that the original COTM coordinator meant to have frittate, polenta, crespelle and gnocchi to be part of the other starches section, but feel free to post where you see fit. In Marcella's other books, frittate are in the appetizers and first course sections, depending on the book.

                      BTW, your post/picture on the Spinach Sauce with Ricotta and Ham are very tempting. I'll be buying some ricotta and rigatoni soon.

                      1. re: BigSal

                        Thanks BigSal, I hope you enjoy it.

                        I think I'm going to put the frittata with the appetizer section as that seems to be how many people enjoy them.

                    3. I have discovered a blog written by 9 people who cooked through "Essentials of Italian Cooking" everyday a few years ago, 2010 - 2012, till they finished the book. One recipe by one person each day. They all reported about their results, with input from both Victor and Marcella, I might add.

                      On the home page are their final thoughts. The index is on the right side of the page. The actual recipes are not given but their reports are much like ours and are not only interesting to read but potentially helpful as well:

                      http://www.slowtrav.com/blog/pomodori...

                      Psst Delys, here's your frittata, just zucchini & basil...
                      http://www.slowtrav.com/blog/pomodori...

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: Gio

                        Thanks Gio, I had a read through of the frittata recipe and the writer definitely echoed my thoughts. I'll definitely have a read through this blog, great find!

                        1. re: Gio

                          Gio, thanks for telling us about this blog "Pomidori e Vino"! I've bookmarked it and am really enjoying browsing through it. Fun to see that there are cooks even more obsessed about cooking and talking about it than we are on COTM!

                          1. re: Gio

                            Thank you, Gio. Just seeing this and so glad for it.

                            1. re: Gio

                              Gio, this blog is so awesome! Thanks for sharing the link. I am reading through it and I feel like I need to slow down and save it for rainy nights. I love that Marcella has left a comment on almost every post. What a woman!

                            2. Nice tribute to Marcella in this week's NY Times Magazine section

                              http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/10/mag...

                              1. Pardon the interruption, but the nominations thread is now up. Join us here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/923422.

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: BigSal

                                  Crazy quiet month here isn't it...

                                  1. re: Gio

                                    Yeah a bit quieter than I expected given the topic. I wonder if it is because it is a repeat of sorts or because there are so many threads given the number of books.

                                    1. re: delys77

                                      I'm surprised how quiet it is too. I am still waiting on Essentials from my library, but am having fun working with Marcella's Italian Kitchen.

                                    2. re: Gio

                                      I haven't had the time to cook that I had hoped to have this month : ( Since I was limited I made some of MH's classics- the pan roasted chicken and a bolognese sauce with pasta last night. They were just good I guess. Wish I had time to try more adventurous ones.
                                      I am returning the cookbooks to my library today. I tried to renew them one more week but someone -another CH perhaps?- has requested them so I must return. But maybe they will enjoy and have more time.

                                  2. Will someone who owns the Essentials book please clarify for me: For the onion/butter/tomato sauce some on-line recipes have 5 Tblspns butter and some, namely Guliano Hazan, have 8 Ts in the recipe. Some on-line recipes have 2 cups Italian canned tomatoes, some have 28 oz.

                                    Please tell me what the original recipe says. MTIA!

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: Gio

                                      My copy of Essentials calls for 5 tablespoons of butter and "2 cups of canned imported Italian plum tomatoes, cut up, with their juice."

                                      1. re: JoanN

                                        Thank you Joan! It's what I thought but began to second guess myself.

                                    2. May an experienced home cook ask a fundamental question here?

                                      Marcella Hazan's famous books, which made her name familiar in North America, are the Classic Italian Cookbook and its sequel. Those two books correspond to Julia Child's "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" and its sequel. All four of these seminal books remain easily, abundantly, cheaply available on the used market, in libraries, and in countless home collections.

                                      Why then (other than as some kind of favor to the publisher) is the later, commercial reissue (as "Essentials of Italian Cooking") treated on this site as if it, rather than the originals, were Marcella Hazan's basic cookbook? It's a secondary, derivative version of what made Marcella famous -- more than that: in order to save space, it edited out most of the side comments, anecdotes and opinions that made the originals unforgettable. It is NO more available than the originals, unless you strictly limit yourself to books current retailers are actively pushing.

                                      Did people start subordinating the "Mastering" books or relegating them to a "rest of" category after Julia Child's fame prompted other books, later in her life? That's not my impression. When that young woman cooked through Julia Child and blogged about it a few years back (movified as "Julie and Julia") she went with the original, not a later issue.

                                      I suspect people are missing out on part of what Marcella was all about if they work from a derived compilation that omits things like "This dish should be reserved for lovers..." or Marcella's tirades about what is wrong with "show" kitchens, or what she found regrettable about some US adaptations of Italian food.

                                      Can anyone enlighten me further?

                                      17 Replies
                                      1. re: eatzalot

                                        Certainly anyone may ask a question about the Cookbooks of the Month. Everyone is welcome here. As for this month in particular my impression of why the Essentials book was chosen instead of her "Classic Italian Cookbook" is simply because that's the book most of the people who wanted to participate either already owned or had access to.

                                        All Marcella's other books are accounted for, however, in the reporting threads. So people who do own or have access to the Classic book will find opportunity within the links to our reporting threads. For example, I'm cooking from "Marcella's Italian Kitchen". Additionally, if one finds an online recipe and cooks from that it can be reported on as well. We certainly are not limited. Even if you don't see the Classic listed, you would simply report under "The rest of Marcella’s cookbook collection" and state which book it is on which you are reporting.

                                        Addendum: To say the reason we chose the Essentials book "(other than as some kind of favor to the publisher)" is demeaning and takes no account of our wish to remain as neutral as possible. We all cook and eat for fun here, not for anyone's profit.

                                        1. re: Gio

                                          Thanks for thoughtful response, Gio.

                                          It was far from my intention to "demean" anyone, but I did want to raise a pervasive bias phenomenon, conspicuous for years in "cookbook" threads (not just on this site either, but specifically here). The universe of books considered and discussed in these threads is often very heavily, even if unwittingly, constrained toward titles currently promoted. This may not be a conscious support of publisher marketing departments, but it has the effect. It's most conspicuous in threads with titles like "what cookbooks are in your wish list" that discuss just new releases, or currently promoted ones.

                                          The objections to that are: (1) EXTREME narrowing of the range of books considered. Like, 100:1. Many people who have wide experience with cookbooks can tell you that the best available cookbook on a given topic is rarely the latest one touted in advertisements, bookstores, and the Food Network. (It may still be in bookstores -- it will likely have been selling for 20 or 30 years, a more objective merit indicator than advertising.)

                                          (2) A presumption in earlier eras, that books not currently publisher-promoted were harder to get, is badly obsolete. The internet has made it as easy to get older titles on the "used" market as new ones. It's even cheaper, often: that's why even for cookbooks recently printed, I often send people to the used market where they find like-new copies at much lower prices. And of course there are libraries and existing collections.

                                          So I'm concerned more generally about commercial promotion, and the attendant pop-culture buzz that it buys, limiting the scope of cookbooks that people recommend and discuss online. It creates a tide of unexamined assumption, against which any voice that knows about other and worthy titles must swim very hard. More examples in a separate reply here.

                                          1. re: eatzalot

                                            eatzalot, Thank you. Although some of us are indeed open to new and heavily publicized cookbooks since many are parents of small children, or full time workers and do need simple, easy get dinner-on-the-table-quickly type foods, many want to experience the best of whatever cuisine in which they are interested at the moment.

                                            In past COTM years we have explored several Alice Waters books, Julia Child, and Elizabeth Davis. Personally, I loved cooking from the June 2009 COTM which was Elizabeth David Classics. That month concentrated on the book I think you have, " Elizabeth David Classics: Mediterranean Food, French Country Cooking, Summer Cooking".
                                            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/624504

                                            So, I think, as a group we try to accommodate a wide variety of people who want the encouragement and support to tackle a cooking style they are unaccustomed to or an ethnic cuisine they want to learn more about.

                                            Here's a link to the COTM archive.
                                            http://www.chow.com/cookbook_of_the_m...

                                            1. re: Gio

                                              The irrepressable Elizabeth David: I just posted a reference to a wonderful, folksy, addictive technique popular in parts of Europe that David identified in the aforementioned books, 50 years ago, as meat braises "a la Macaronade," third suggestion in this specific post:

                                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8789...

                                              IMO this is the sort of useful cooking principle that deserves to become known to all interested US cooks.

                                        2. re: eatzalot

                                          I had both “The Classic Italian Cook Book” and “More Classic Italian Cooking” and used them for years until they were splattered with flour and sauce and just about falling apart. I bought “Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking” not only because it contained 35 new recipes not in the previous books, but also because Judith Jones said at the time of publication that Hazan had revised many of the recipes, deciding they really didn’t require the amount of fat called for in the original books. That appealed to me, as did the greatly expanded information on making pasta. I held on to the original books for a while, but I had already read them pretty much cover to cover and was turning exclusively to Essentials when it was time to cook. After a few years of never looking at them, I finally decided to relieve my overburdened cookbook shelves of the originals and just keep the updated book. It’s a decision I never regretted.

                                          1. re: JoanN

                                            Thanks for that. I've only had the "Essentials" and I don't remember where I got it but know it was used. With it I don't feel like I need another version.

                                          2. re: eatzalot

                                            (Long post; not for the faint of heart).

                                            You raise a very interesting question, eatzalot, or rather questions, and they are worth asking.

                                            First, why is "Essentials of Italian Cooking" treated as if it is a true compendium of Hazan's first two books (Classic and More Classic Italian Cuisine) when as you say, Essentials is a shorter, more derivative version of both? At least for the greater world out there, I strongly suspect it is for the same reasons that The French Chef Cookbook was later so popular, as well as the book From Julia's Kitchen. In other words, the latter two provide a shorter and more accessible entrée into (some of) the recipes of that Mastering I and II. In the case of Hazan, no doubt pressured by her publishers but also by her own mission to bring Italian cuisine to America, she then edited and authorized her own book, Essentials.

                                            Secondly, is it a good or a bad thing for "diluted and edited versions" of great cookbooks like Hazan's original books to be treated as if they were the originals, especially on this site, where we do take cooking and the country/culture of origin seriously?

                                            My opinion is that for the purposes of the November 2013 COTM, it was done to increase participation in a Hazan "Retrospective," if you will. I felt as if this month was a tribute to a great teacher and cookbook author whose mission (like Child's with French cuisine) was to popularize and make accessible Italian cooking in America. On my own part, I cooked (happily) this month out of the three Hazan cookbooks I owned, none of which was Essentials.

                                            But you raise a good point and I think that it is one that we Chowhounds who participate in the COTMs have to keep negotiating each time we vote on and choose a cookbook from another culture/cuisine. It comes down to some fundamental questions: How authentic are ANY books written for an audience that may be a region or a continent away, not to mention a completely different culture? How do we cope with the need for different ingredients than may be readily available and are substitutions acceptable? And how much are we willing to compromise? I feel as if the COTM participants do a good job of choosing different books from different cultures. I may not participate in some of them for various reasons, but then the next month I might feel happy to do so.

                                            A third question you made me think about is: did this subordination of Hazan's first cookbooks into the "rest of" category happen more in the case of Hazan's books than with Child's? Again, an interesting idea that could be debated but I think it has some validity. Why do Child's Mastering I and II remain permanent icons of French cuisine in American cookbooks? Leaving aside the points I made in the first paragraph about the popularity of The French Chef Cookbook and From Julia's Kitchen, I think that there are several reasons. Child's was the first to create such books for a post-war US that wanted desperately to catch up with European food and culture. Also, one could say that she was totally "geeky" about explaining every step and every rationale and thus made her recipes work for cooks unfamiliar with the discipline of recipes that did not use condensed soups, for instance (like me as a rank beginner to cooking) ;-) And she had the knowledgeable and opinionated help of Simone Beck and Louise Bertholle (at least in Mastering I) in doing so.

                                            Not to denigrate Hazan's great contribution, but is it a question of comparing Italian to French cuisine? Let the debate begin! ;-)

                                            1. re: Goblin

                                              "How authentic are ANY books written for an audience that may be a region or a continent away, not to mention a completely different culture?"

                                              I didn't mean to get into that separate and worthy topic here -- if the interest were original national authority, we'd be looking to sources like Ada Boni, whom Marcella cited, in awe, as her own reference. Credit does belong to people like Marcella, the Romagnolis, Julia Child, and others I could mention for faithfully popularizing venerable national cuisines in remote new places like North America. (Julia Child is habitually misrepresented in pop culture -- for one thing she was only the latest of many US authors, EVEN after WW2, covering similar ground; her real novelty was TV; still her books were reasonably faithful to the Escoffier canon they adapted, and they had effect.)

                                              Of more concern to me is neglect of the really seminal, original, permanently useful authors for English-speaking home cooks.

                                              Several years ago I spent time discussing cookbooks with a great and influential US restaurant chef. We both were visiting a home that housed a comprehensive US cookbook collection (like, ALL of them). Whose owner incidentally was fond of statements like "very few original recipes have been published here since the 1930s" -- unlike many people, she could prove it.

                                              I asked the chef what he considered really important, landmark cookbooks for US home cooks. He said, basically, that the same set of authors had influenced him as with other modern US restaurant innovators like Alice Waters. The most honest, penetrating and original writers in English, like Elizabeth David and Richard Olney. (Note I've been using one of David's compilations in the last year, and learning many things about Mediterranean cooking, in fact it helps illuminate and clarify Marcella Hazan and Ada Boni, being written by an English speaker, but one living on Mediterranean soil at the time.) Other seminal US writers exist, like Waverly Root (A. J. Liebling's mentor) who wrote not cookbooks, but wrote first-hand about food and cuisines in Europe, including, to your point, Goblin, classics on BOTH French and Italian cooking! (I'll choose both, thanks -- as did Elizabeth David.)

                                              So my own broader interest, beyond the point of what books best represent Marcella Hazan's legacy, is for more discussion of the overall most useful and influential cookbooks, transcending the constant din about the fashionable (or advertised, or Oprah-endorsed) cookbook of the moment. 25 years ago the buzz was about, say, Jeff Smith rather than Alton Brown or Paula Deen, but how many people will remember those names either, 25 years from now? Yet cooks may still be appreciating Elizabeth David, if ever they can manage to hear about her.

                                              1. re: eatzalot

                                                Eatzalot - I think this merits a separate discussion thread for more CH'ers to comment on. Perhaps start one by copying your note? And with your insights, would you be willing/able to step up to the plate to organize a "Cooking from the Classics" monthly or quarterly process, similar to the COTM group?

                                                It doesn't need to be Either / Or . I think there's certainly room for BOTH groups in the very large CH population. I note that voting for the December COTM, while open to everyone, was done by fewer than 50 people. As Gio says -Just a self-forming group of folks who are interested in cooking for fun.

                                                1. re: MidwesternerTT

                                                  I think that’s an excellent idea, MwTT. I doubt there’d be enough participation for a monthly thread, but a couple of times a year could be a lot of fun. Olney’s name has come up on occasion on the nominating threads, but on the whole his recipes are labor intensive with expensive and hard to find ingredients and would likely garner little support among those looking to get a meal on the table after a day at the office. Michel Guérard would probably be more approachable. I’d love to see a list of the cookbooks that eatzalot would consider for such an endeavor.

                                                  1. re: JoanN

                                                    Wilco. I'll start a list of real classics I can recommend from using them heavily, and other people will of course will have good suggestions. (I do have a LOT of cookbooks, even if far fewer than that former major US collector I mentioned, who was a bit of a mentor. And I never buy them to "collect," just to use.)

                                                    One point: classic cookbooks have followings, even if they're not currently advertised. When I mention a title, almost always other users come forward enthusiastically. Many such books have surfaced before on CH threads about particular cooking. Such as the United States Regional Cook Book, in a recent apple-pie thread, starting about here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9199... . Or the authoritative 1970s US books about Sichuanese cooking (predating Fuchsia Dunlop by 25-30 years with many of the same recipes, sometimes even more detail), or the Elizabeth David collection that (Gio kindly pointed out) occupied a COTM thread in 2009, which I missed. I've been so jaded by 20 years of online threads (it predates Chowhound) about the latest TV-chef cookbook (full of warmed-over recipes, yet greeted by new readers as if it were innovative) that I nearly gave up hope.

                                                    Another point: Recipes for simple dinner on the table in a hurry (rather than the obsessive or artistic style of a Richard Olney, points taken there) are hardly new: that side of cooking has nothing to do with recent publication. The US Regional mentioned above, very popular during and after WW2 and easily available, highlights good examples. Or casual foods. Some people (and cookbook writers) appear unaware that the classic epic US sourcebook on sandwiches appeared in 1939, evidently the high-water point for US sandwich culture in restaurants and cafes; that book, which I have (by the great Louis Pullig de Gouy -- maybe the first US celebrity chef -- and written for professionals) is rare, but its 1980s paperback reissue, by the chef's descendents, is easy to get.

                                                    Separate dedicated thread to follow.

                                                    1. re: eatzalot

                                                      I agree with MwTT and JoanN that this would be a great topic for further discussion, and I am glad that Eatzalot is going to dedicate a separate thread to it. I for one would love to hear Eatzalot's recommendations as to which "foundational" books/authors would merit a COTM.

                                                      Motivated by this thought I have just returned from a trip down to my basement where the excess of my cookbook collection is stored on shelves. I found some surprises: two more of Hazan's books that I didn't realize I owned: Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking, and More Classics of Italian Cooking! I could have been cooking out of these this month!

                                                      Regarding the idea of "Cooking from the Classics' (as MwTT terms it): My own basement search also turned up some first editions of Elizabeth David's French Country Cooking and French Provincial Cooking ; Richard Olney's Simple French Food and The French Menu Cookbook and a wonderful tour through the France of 1958 by Waverly Root called The Food of France. Also Roy Andries de Groot's Feasts For All Seasons (1966). What do you think of Roy Andries de Groot, Eatzalot? The seasonal/regional emphasis seems very contemporary. Or Michael Field? And we haven't even mentioned the Chamberlins.

                                                      Looking at the Olney recipes in the two books I own reveals many recipes that don't demand an excessive amount of ingredients, expensive or otherwise. Especially Simple French Food. Now, The French Menu Cookbook might require the acquaintance of a very complaisant butcher to create: Boiled Pigs' Tails and Ears with Vegetables, for instance, and there is a certain off-hand reference to ingredients like fois gras and truffles in the "Elegant Winter Suppers" pages. And I would definitely skip the Cold Calves Brains in Cream Sauce or the Grilled Lambs' kidneys with Herb Butter" in the "Semiformal Summer Dinner" section. But that's just me. There are plenty of simpler/less-expensive recipes.

                                                      It would indeed be fun to try any or all of these, which were part of my own education in cooking. A very quick search of amazon.com indicates that all or most are available. Haven't tried my library system.

                                                      1. re: Goblin

                                                        grilled lambs kiney with herbed butter? seriously, we would love that. which olney book?

                                                        1. re: qianning

                                                          It's from "The French Menu Cookbook." You can find the recipe in Google Books: http://books.google.com/books?id=jNWo...

                                                            1. re: JoanN

                                                              Note also that grilled kidneys were quite mainstream in the US up until a generation or two ago, and I believe stayed popular longer in the UK (where they're part of a traditional version of the "mixed grill" combo). They're common in most 20th-c. mainstream cookbooks (the classic Gourmet Cookbook -- the real one, 1950 -- has seven recipes). Herb butters are a traditional and glorious condiment for grilled foods. I don't doubt that Olney has an outstanding example!

                                                          1. re: Goblin

                                                            Good: Olney's "Simple French Food." I have that too, and forgot about it. (May have been the one the chef I mentioned earlier had in mind.)

                                                            About seasonal/regional emphasis seeming very contemporary. This is a point I learned a great deal about from older cookbooks but especially from the great US food histories and critiques that emerged during the late-20th-century Freezer-to-Microwave era of US cooking (which followed the post-WW2 Age-of-Spam-and-Mayonnaise): It emerges that many "contemporary" trends are actually rediscoveries of what was commonplace literally for centuries, but forgotten, in a generation or two, during the 20th century, after certain developments in food distribution and how most people learned to cook. A fascinating topic, too complex for this current thread.

                                                            Waverly Root's "Food of France" is a classic I mentioned upthread. (Among the historical gaffes or myths in McNamee's 2012 Claiborne bio is a claim that Julia Child's was the first book on French cooking ever published by Knopf. I have two from Knopf that preceded JC -- Root's is very famous -- and there may be more.)

                                              2. I figured this might fit best here. For those with a kindle, Giuliano Hazan's Hazan Family Favorites for Kindle is currently available for $3.82. I'm not sure how much longer it will be at that price.

                                                I myself will be making several recipes out of the Essentials book today for my Thanksgiving since we couldn't celebrate yesterday.

                                                2 Replies
                                                  1. re: amishangst

                                                    Thank you! I just ordered it for my Kindle for iPad. I appreciate the notice.