By Holly Herrick
Gibbs Smith, $21.99, 128 pages
As the first of a series on French cooking, The French Cook: Sauces is quite promising. In Holly Herrick’s introduction she provides a history of classic French sauces. If you are into French cooking, have time to putter in the kitchen, this cookbook is a nice addition on your cookbook shelf. The medium-sized hard cover book is a high-end production on heavy, spill-resistant glossy pages with gorgeous photo illustrations, some food, and some French street scenes. A short chapter on equipment is followed by the preparation of the base of all sauces: stocks. The chapters are divided according to the five classic mother sauces and under each you’ll find the derivatives or “small sauces.” An additional chapter is dedicated to cold sauces (like mayonnaise).
“…enjoy learning the techniques you will need to create you own sauce magic.”
The brief recipe head notes are nice and informative, as well as the occasional sidebars. Recipe titles are in French with English subtitles and the recipe writing is good and easy to follow, although recipe preparations are generally time consuming. The layout of most recipes is also good but for some aesthetics superseded cook’s convenience and they continue overleaf. The index, unfortunately is disappointing and unfriendly to a cook’s search.
Reviewed by George Erdosh