07 November 2014

A Kitchen In France

A Kitchen in France is one of those "aspirational" cookbooks.  One aspires to be in this kitchen...actually one aspires to be author Mimi Thorisson.

Here's the deal, Mimi marries gorgeous photographer Oddur Thorisson and they settle in Paris and have lots of kids.  Then, they move to farm in Médoc where they have more kids, dogs and she cooks while he takes photos.  She starts a blog, writes a cookbook, has a baby, all looking way better than you ever will!  Lets rehash, farm in France, 5 kids, 2 step kids,  a bunch of dogs, blog, cookbook, television show, hot photographer husband...it's like the Brady Bunch with Michelin stars.

I am sure she is a wonderful women, but feel free to hate her.  I won't tell.  Aspire till the cows come home, but you will not be in that kitchen...unless she invites you to dinner.  As for her blog, Manger, I would advise anyone looking to start a blog to marry a photographer.  Think of the money you will save when you don't have take those "Photos For The Internet" courses!

So, let's aspire!  If you never cook a single recipe from this book, you will want to spend hours just thumbing through it.  Now here is the rub (if you didn't hate her before, you will now) the recipes are quite wonderful.  OK, you probably don't have foie gras, Guinea hen, nor escargots at the local 7-11, but there are dozens of great recipes in this cookbook.  Here is a lovely potato dish that you can make in your tiny kitchen.

Potatoes  à la Lyonnaise

2 pounds/900 grams new potatoes, peeled

About 11 tablespoons/150 grams unsalted butter

Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 onions, thinly sliced

A bunch of fresh parsley, leaves removed and finely chopped

Preheat the oven to 350° F.

Put the potatoes in a large pot, add enough salted cold water to cover, bring to a boil, and cook until parboiled, 10 to 15 minutes. Drain in a colander and rinse under cool running water. Let cool for a few minutes, then slice the potatoes into 1/8- inch /3- to 4-mm-thick slices.

In a large sauté pan, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter. Add about one-quarter of the potatoes and fry, seasoning them with salt and pepper, until golden, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Continue frying the potatoes, adding more butter each time (you should use about 8 tablespoons/120 g in total), until all of them are cooked.

Meanwhile, in another sauté pan, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons/30 g butter over medium heat. Cook the onions until golden, about 5 minutes.

Return all of the potatoes to the pan, add the onions, and mix gently. Cook for 5 more minutes for the flavors to combine.

Transfer the potatoes and onions to a large baking dish. Bake until gently sizzling, about 10 minutes.

Sprinkle the parsley over the potatoes and serve.
This is the stuff of Francophile's dreams.  Read it and weep.


  1. Now this sounds like my kinda book Lucinda. I'm looking for a few readable cookbooks to spend the cold months with, this may do:)

    Thank you so much for sharing...

    P.S. It would be wonderful if you could share this post on Cookbook Wednesday, a new feature I have recently added to my blog. I'm sure my visitors would find it quite interesting...

  2. I think almost all books about cooking in France are aspirational, even for French people, who mostly live in Paris with kitchens that you can't turn around in. I realized that when I visited Monet's house at Giverney and you could almost feel the envy from the crowds of French visitors! Interestingly, the recipe you quote from this one sounds delicious but it's a classic -- it isn't at all original with the author.

    Just wanted to mention that someone is spamming your blog with ads for the Paleo diet.

  3. We try to list short, often repeated recipes so as not to give away those recipes one might buy the book for.

    Thanks for the spam info. Really don't know how get rid of those trolls.


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