As viewers of her Barefoot Contessa show can attest, Ina Garten favors simple, sophisticated dishes, main courses that evoke the best of cozy bistro meals. In Barefoot in Paris, the Food Network star applies her cooking wisdom to the foods of France. Favoring fresh, quality ingredients, she offers flavorful twists on old favorites such as Steak au Poivre and Crème Brulée and new slants on dishes such as Zucchini Vichyssoise and Chicken with Morels. A feast of a book, Barefoot in Paris contains 140 full-color photographs and a primer for sources for specialty ingredients.
Why bother buying this? Because each recipe is completely persuasive -- this is food you know you'll enjoy cooking and eating, brought to its simplest essence. Garten is popular because she knows what home cooks will stand still for and because she makes everything attractive.
The New York Times
It would be easy to resent Garten: the successful Hamptons specialty food store, three previous cookbooks-one a New York Times bestseller-her own series on the Food Network and an apartment on the Left Bank all invite envy. But Garten is much too pleasant and friendly in this book for anyone to wish her ill. While she doesn't break any ground-with simple recipes like Chicken with Forty Cloves of Garlic, and Loin of Pork with Green Peppercorns-she also doesn't step on any toes or have any pretension, and writes personally in a way that feels genuine. Garten even includes a photograph of herself, circa age three, in the frilly dress her grandparents brought her from Paris that inspired a lifelong love affair with the city. Part of Garten's charm lies in her self-deprecating sense of humor. "I was a little afraid to attempt a souffl (think Audrey Hepburn in Sabrina)," she relates in the introduction to Blue Cheese Souffle. "I really love beautiful flower arrangements, but I usually make a mess of them on the first try," she admits in a brief note on flowers. Her relaxed attitude toward entertaining also comes through in dishes like Ice Cream Bombe, where she reassures readers that H agen-Dazs mango sorbet will do fine. Even the innovation is low-key: Avocado and Grapefruit Salad features an unusual pair, but is dressed with a very basic vinaigrette; and Zucchini Vichyssoise is no more complicated than the traditional potato-only version. (On sale Nov. 9) Forecast: Garten has a big following, and with its inviting tone and fresh fare, this book may cause it to grow further. A 250,000-copy first printing indicates Clarkson Potter's faith in a reliable author. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Garten recently sold the Barefoot Contessa, the gourmet take-out shop in the Hamptons, NY, that led to her three, hugely successful earlier cookbooks. Now she has more time to spend in her beloved Paris, exploring the markets and cooking simple but delicious dishes like Zucchini Vichyssoise, Scallops Proven al, and Chocolate Orange Mousse. These and other familiar French classics are collected here; Garten's engaging style and the book's attractive design, with striking color photographs throughout, should make this just as popular as the earlier "Barefoot" titles, which have sold more than a million copies. For most collections. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.