Review of “Barefoot in Paris”

This is part of a 12-part series where I review each of Ina’s cookbooks. A new review drops every Thursday at 1:30 PM. This is the fourth review out of the twelve.

This week I get to talk about my favorite Barefoot Contessa cookbook to date — Barefoot in Paris. This book is different from the others in a few ways. First, this is the only book (so far!) that focusing solely on one type of cuisine: French.

And I think that’s what I love the most about it. For someone who wishes to dabble in the French culinary tradition, this is a perfect starter cookbook since it features all the classic Ina tips and techniques and simplicity in her recipes.

This book’s narration is all Paris and France based. Ina does an excellent job of painting the picture of living and cooking in Paris and what it is like to shop there. The cookbook just makes me want to live there and it’s as though you are there with Ina by your side.

There are sections dedicated to French wine, French table settings, French cookware, and even cheese. This is a must-have book for any Francophile. The end of the book also features a French-inspired resource list. French ingredients and cookware will help guide the budding French chef to mastery by equipping their kitchen with these tools.

Another unique feature of this book are recommendations of places to visit if you happen to find yourself in Paris one day. While I think this was a great idea and very unique for a cookbook, especially an Ina cookbook, this is also somewhat problematic. This book was written in 2004. 16 years is a long time and it’s possible many or all of these stores and shops are now closed.

If I ever find myself in Paris one day, I’ll be sure to let you know what’s still around! As with all the previous Ina cookbooks, there are two indices: one for recipes and a general one.

This is the last book in the group that I call “The Early Ina Years.” The books following are more down-to-earth, in my opinion, and offer the home cook writing and recipes that better relate to them. However, a new comer to Ina’s recipes shouldn’t poo-poo on the four early books. They offer a wealth of tasty recipes and some top-notch entertaining and cooking tips.

Recipe highlights from Barefoot in Paris!

  1. Pissaladière
  2. Winter Squash Soup
  3. Chicken with Forty Cloves of Garlic
  4. Vegetable Tian
  5. Moroccan Couscous
  6. Potato Celery Root Purée
  7. Île Flottante
  8. Pear Clafouti
  9. Elephant Ears
  10. Pain Perdu

I can’t wait to cook more recipes out of this book! The food looks so elegant. But since it’s Ina, I know it’ll be easy to make.

Come back next week when I review book #5, Barefoot Contessa at Home.


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