It may take another generation for us to become Francophiles in this country – too many of us have long memories where the Rainbow Warrior bombing is concerned. But there is no doubt that the French have Style (note the capital letter). And when it comes to understatement and self deprecating wit, Marie-Morgane Le Moel has it in bucket loads. This is the story of her life – raised in rural France, through the apparently interminable French education system, love affairs, trips to Canada, a succession of internships before heading to Australia for work and finding a very different culture and, a little reluctantly, a husband. It is an entertaining read and her observations on Australian life and culture are pretty much on the ball.
Each chapter includes a recipe relevant to some point in the text. Twenty four chapters so twenty four recipes, French classics in the main. Tarte tatin (a personal favourite), ratatouille, sables, Coq au Vin, crepes and more, given in flexible and user-friendly style. It is wonderfully unpretentious and as practical a guide to essential French cooking as you are likely to find. All the ingredients are readily available, the methodology could not be simpler. Maybe we could pretend to carry it off with the panache of the French. Just don’t go near foie gras which is a cultural difference too far. Even the author concedes that.
Secrets of a Lazy French Cook by Marie-Morgane Le Moel (Harper Collins; ISBN: 978 0 7332 9426 7) reviewed by Abbie Jury.
First published in the Waikato Times and reprinted here with their permission.