Culinaria - France


If I had enough space on my book shelves, I'd try to collect the entire Culinaria series, which has volumes on many countries, including China, Hungary, Germany, Russia, Greece and Spain.

The books aren't just collections of recipes from specific countries (or in other cases collections of desserts or European specialities). In fact, the recipes play a minor role - the books are most valuable for the information they provide on the history and culture that contribute to each country's cuisine.

The volume on France is divided into regions, starting with Ile-de-France, which incorporates Paris, and moving on to the Loire Valley, Burgundy, Bordeaux and Provence. There's information on breads, pastries, cheese, wine, types of eatery (restaurants, bistros, brasseries and cafés), the foods eaten on various occasions, utensils and the brigade of workers that make up an haute cuisine team ( chef de cuisine, sous-chef, saucier, garde manger, apprentice and plongeur [dishwasher]) and front of house staff (including restaurant manager, sommelier and waiter).

Recipes include la cotriade d'armor (a seafood soup that's a speciality of Brittany); terrine of veal sweetbreads; roast suckling calf in a salt crust; whole calamari with crab ragout; tarte Tatin; and chocolate mousse.