“Bistro cooking is good, traditional food, earnestly made and honestly displayed. It is earthy, provincial, or bourgeois; as befits that kind of food, it is served in ample portions.”David Liederman
For the autumn edition of our Cookbook Club, John Rieber (https://biteeatrepeat.com) suggested Patricia Wells’ excellent cookbook. I was all in because I am a Francophile at heart. So, it was with a lot of pleasure that I read Patricia Wells’ cookbook, and it transported me to little French Bistros where I could while away the hours sipping good wine, eating fabulous food, and people watch.
Wells takes readers on a gastronomic journey through the charming world of French bistro cuisine. Published in 1989, it has become a classic, beloved by home cooks and professional chefs.
One of the standout qualities of “Bistro Cooking” is Wells’ impeccable attention to detail. She provides insightful descriptions of each recipe, guiding readers through the cooking process with elegance and expertise. This cookbook offers a wide array of authentic French recipes, from classic bistro dishes like Coq au Vin and Bouillabaisse to indulgent desserts such as Tarte Tatin.
What sets “Bistro Cooking” apart is Wells’ ability to bring the essence of bistro dining to life. She captures the conviviality and rustic charm of these beloved French eateries, making readers feel as if they are enjoying a meal amidst the cozy ambiance of a quaint Parisian bistro. She also shares personal anecdotes and stories, adding a warm and personal touch to the book.
“Bistro Cooking” recipes are accessible to home cooks of all skill levels. Wells writes with clarity and simplicity, ensuring that even beginners can recreate these cherished French dishes. Each recipe is thoughtfully written, providing clear instructions and valuable tips.
With this book in hand, I channeled my inner French chef and cooked two delicious appetizers to take to a friend’s home for dinner.
The next dish I made was a delicious dish of peppers she named Maggie’s Roasted Red Peppers in honor of her friend, Maggie Shapiro.
LES POIVRONS ROUGES DE MAGGIE
1 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
6 large red bell peppers
2 HEADS of garlic, minced
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees
Seed and slice the bell peppers
Mince to the heads of garlic
Layer the peppers, chili flakes, and garlic into a large shallow baking dish
Pour the olive oil over the peppers and cover with foil
Bake for 45 minutes. Then remove foil and bake for another 45 minutes uncovered
COOKS NOTE: I prepared this recipe as written and found the amount of garlic distasteful. Before I served this dish, I removed 3/4 of the baked garlic. If I were to make it again, I would only use 1/2 head of garlic or less.
I enjoyed reading this cookbook and found the recipes interesting and authentic. That being said, I could not make room on my bookshelf for it, only because I have very many cookbooks featuring the same recipes. But, it would be an excellent choice, if you are not familiar with Fench Bistro cooking or you are a beginner in the kitchen and are curious about French Bistro cuisine.