The delightful thing about David Lebovitz’s writing is his ability to make even the most-intimidating foreign cuisine seem approachable and familiar. French cuisine can be overwhelming, especially for home cooks. It’s renowned for its heritage of precision, its delicate balance of flavors and its unwavering high standards for taste and presentation. That’s great for a major holiday dinner, but who has time for fussy food in the middle of the week?
My Paris Kitchen took me by surprise with how unpretentious and inviting its recipes are. Crack open the book to any page and it’s not hard to imagine David taking you calmly by the elbow and strolling you down a Parisian street and into his favorite cheese shop, where you discover how fascinating (and delicious!) seasonal cheeses can be. His style of writing is relaxed, conversational and friendly. You’re just hanging out with a friend, chatting about adding ice to wine, the virtues of a good mortar and pestle, and the miracle that is a perfectly ripe cherry tomato.
The other little something special that sets My Paris Kitchen apart is the fact that some recipes are basic and other recipes will gently guide you outside your culinary comfort zone. David’s inviting writing is almost misleading, in that you’ll be halfway through a recipe you once thought to be way beyond your skill level before you realize how simple French cooking can be if you have the right teacher. And that’s the mark of an exceptional cookbook: It doesn’t just give you better recipes; it helps you become a better cook.