Review: Williams-Sonoma Essentials of French Cooking

by Williams-Sonoma

Published by Oxmoor House

Cookbook review courtesy of contributing writer
Stephanie Sears

When I saw this cookbook at the library I immediately knew I wanted to give it a try! French cooking is becoming increasingly popular and appearing more often on the tables of average American families, in part because of cookbook authors such as Dorie Greenspan and films like Julie & Julia.

As soon as I opened the book I was captivated by the gorgeous photography (and there is a lot to admire). Almost every recipe has a matching photo, and while pictures are not a necessity for my enjoyment of cookbooks in this case it was nice to have some visual aids as I had never heard of a few of the dishes. The book includes a nice variety of recipes that range from beginner to advance in terms of cooking skill. They are written in very clear language so that even the most novice cook can easily understand what is required.

Despite the fact that I feel some of the recipes need improvement, Williams-Sonoma Essentials of French Cooking is still a good starting point for people interested in French cuisine. Overall it is informative, and includes a lot of useful information that I found helpful. I loved that each recipe includes a note about which region of France the dish originates. It was interesting to flip through the book and see the difference in flavors between the regions. I also found the information helpful when deciding upon which recipes to test.

In the end I chose the following three recipes: Soupe au Pistou, Pork with Apples, and Chocolate Pots de Crème.

To read the results from Stephanie’s recipe tests, please click HERE