Book review: The French Market Cookbook


Whenever I’m in Paris, I go to one of the many produce markets. So when I found out that food blogger Clotilde Dusoulier had written a book about cooking with seasonal produce I was sold. Clotilde finds that there is a lot more to French food than the classic cuisine. There is regional cooking too which is mostly a peasant diet and rich in plant-based foods and local bounty.  Her book The French Market Cookbook, Vegetarian recipes from my Parisian Kitchen, focuses on cooking with seasonal vegetables and fruits.

The book is divided into five chapters: the four seasons, and an Essentials chapter where she outlines basic recipes of doughs, vinaigrettes and sauces. Each seasonal chapter gives pointers about the seasonal produce and gives a delicious line up of vegetarian regional recipes with her own personal fingerprint. Let’s find out more about the book and author:

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Who is Clotilde?
Clotilde Dusoulier is the 30-something Parisienne behind the award-winning food blog Chocolate & Zucchini, in which she shares her passion for all things edible. Her focus is on fresh, colorful, and seasonal foods, making room for both wholesome, nourishing dishes and sweet treats. An enthusiastic explorer of flavors and acute observer of culinary trends, she contributes to food and travel magazines in France, the US and the UK.  She lives in Montmartre with her boyfriend and their young son.
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What made you decide to write this book? / How did you first bond over French vegetarian food
 Over the past few years, I have transitioned to a more and more plant-based way of eating — for reasons of ethics, environmental concern, and natural inclination — so I’ve had plenty of opportunities to explore unusual and exciting ways to use up my weekly selection of seasonal vegetables. I’ve done a lot of research into lesser-known regional French cuisines, and gotten many ideas from contemporary French chefs. I wanted to share the best of these dishes in a book, and show that the French repertoire can provide inspiration for people who want to eat less meat and fish.
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How did you shape your love for food?
I grew up in a family where fresh, home-cooked food was very important. My mother is an excellent cook, and I learned a lot by spending time in the kitchen with her throughout my childhood and adolescence. Then I moved to California in my early twenties, and it really broadened my horizons: I realized that my food culture was not the only one, and I was fascinated to explore other ways, other dishes, other ingredients. I haven’t stopped since!
How would you characterize the recipes in the book
Fresh, seasonal, colorful.
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What is the most important thing you can learn about food and life from French?
Simple is best! And choose your ingredients with the greatest care you can — that’s half the battle.
What’s your favourite recipe from the book and why?
It’s hard to name just one, but I am particularly fond of the pascadous — green pancakes from the center of France. They’re a surprisingly simple and incredible delicious way to eat your greens.
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Which food markets are your favourites in Paris and why?
I like the Batignolles greenmarket, which is an all-organic farmers market. It’s close enough that I can bike there, and I like that most of the stalls are kept by growers who can share lots of tips about their produce.
Why French market? What makes it better than supermarket?
 Shopping at the greenmarket usually means that the produce you get is fresher and more local, and the experience is completely different: you get to chat with the vendors, ask questions, and build a relationship with them.
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Thank you Clotilde. Get the book and see for yourself: The French Market Cookbook, Vegetarian Recipes from my Parisian Kitchen, by Clotilde Dusoulier, Clarkson Potter Publishers, 2013

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