The Best French Cookbooks

Find our top 6 picks for the best French cookbooks of the past 25 years.

The Country Cooking of France
Photo: Randy Mayor

The Country Cooking of France

The Country Cooking of France By Anne Willan, Chronicle Books, 2007. Hardcover. $50; 392 pages

Everyone to whom I've shown this substantial book responds with the same dreamy sigh: There are pages and pages of beautiful photographs of the people, animals, farms, and landscapes that make up rural France. Chapter openers praise soups, savory tarts, snails and frogs, charcuterie, and the like, explaining their significance to French rural cuisine. Sidebars dig deeper into the particulars of, for example, Alsace and Lille, or stinky cheeses and fresh chestnuts, or Monsieur Milbert, the gardener who has "dug the earth seven days a week for a half century." Recipe headnotes offer origins and history of dishes, as well as fine substitutes for ingredients that are hard to find outside of France.

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