Whether shared in a cosy French bistro or in the comfort of your own home, the romance and enduring appeal of French country cooking is irrefutable. In "Barefoot in Paris" is a Garten helps you bring that spirit, and those evocative dishes, into your own kitchen. Packed full of easy to follow recipes and ideas for adding a special twist to classic dishes, this is the perfect fare for family and friends. Hearty boeuf Bourguignon is served in deep bowls over a garlic-rubbed slice of baguette toast; croque monsieur is decadently rich, eggy and oozing with cheese; Ina's kir royale includes the addition of raspberry liquor, a refreshing alternative to the traditional recipe; creamy vichyssoise is given a fresh tasting lift with the addition of courgettes "Barefoot in Paris" is suffused with Ina's love of the city, of the bustling outdoor markets, bakeries, fromageries and charcuteries. It's the perfect guide to Paris and its wonderful celebration of food.
Ina Garten's much loved cookbooks, The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, Barefoot Contessa Parties!, and Barefoot Contessa Family Style, offer relaxed yet stylish dishes that don't tax the cook. Her food works wonderfully for entertaining but shouldn't be limited to such times. Barefoot in Paris finds Garten (almost inevitably) in France, "translating" native dishes for the American home cook. The result is rewarding, and should get those reluctant to "cook French" to do just that. Covered are classics like Celery Root Rémoulade, Boeuf Bourguignon, and Chicken with Forty Cloves of Garlic, but also "newer" dishes like Zucchini Vichyssoise and Avocado and Grapefruit Salad. If Garten ranges wide from typical Parisian fare--in, for example, recipes like Rosemary Cashews, Tomato Rice Pilaf, and a distinctly American Brownie Tart--these nonetheless embody the French approach. Her sweets, including the likes of Peaches in Sauternes, Plum Cake "Tatin," and an exemplary Crème Brûlée, are particularly tempting. Included also are asides like "About French Table Settings," and "If You're Going," a resource guide, that, practicality apart, give readers a sense of French culinary life. With color photos, this is winning addition to the Barefoot collection. --Arthur Boehm