What I’m Reading: The Bonne Femme Cookbook

A couple of months ago, I got it stuck in my head that Eggroll should eat the way French kids eat, meaning only at the table for no more than four sessions a day (breakfast, lunch, snack, dinner), at least a couple of which would include anything that Randy and I were eating. Unobtainable in America I know, but I can pretend, right?

I got so into the idea, I bought a French baby food cookbook. For the most part, it seems similar enough to what I imagine I’d find in it’s American counterparts – lots of steamed and mashed up stuff, but I was impressed with the variety of things they expected kids to eat before two years old. In short – everything. Lychee, white fish, fennel, and beets are all included in recipes.

Bonne Femme CookbookThat’s all well and good, but first I need to make sure I’m eating all those healthy foods, too, right? Eh. Enter in my own French cookbook perfect for novice chefs and aspiring gourmands alike. The Bonne Femme Cookbook: Simple, Splendid Food That French Women Cook Every Day by Wini Moranville is exactly that. Well, I guess I can’t confirm that this is how French women cook every day, but it is definitely simple and splendid.

The recipes paired well with the clean eating challenge because French people simply don’t use a lot of the crap we do. Sure, butter and good cheeses are listed often in ingrediant lists, but if you take the time to find quality product, I still consider them clean. I’m looking forward to diving into the dessert section once granulated sugar is allowed for more than just my cheat meals.

None of the recipes seem to be as labor intensive as we would expect from a French cookbook. Then again, the author isn’t French. She’s an American who has traveled extensively throughout the country, proving to be knowledgable on the topic and my hero when it comes to careers. How do I get her job?! Or at least her schedule and travel budget??

There is a whole chapter dedicated to “Saute, Deglaze and Serve” – a very easy way to cook almost any protein and create a sauce in one fell swoop. So far, I’ve tried the basic chicken recipe and can picture that paired with many, many sides. From the “Braise, Stew or Roast” chapter, I just made the Normandy Beef Stroganoff that replaces the traditional mushrooms with apple slices. It was good this week, but I can’t wait to do it again with mashed potatoes and a fire come January. It’s perfect winter food! One Bonne Starter Salad finally introduced me to a way I like fennel; paired with a lemony dressing, almonds and creamy cheese over Bibb lettuce. YUM!

The Glazed Carrots are face-palm simple yet delicious. The extra ingredients in this recipe are minimal, so I can give leftovers to Eggroll. Bonus.

Do I even need to tell you how much I liked the Chocolate Cherry Pound Cake?

If you’re looking for a new book to up your basic cooking skills, let me recommend this one. It will make for a great Sunday afternoon’s read AND easy midweek dinners, I promise.

11 Comments

  1. chezbonnefemme

    What a kind and thoughtful review! Thanks so much. I’m glad you like the recipes!

    PS: You’ve given me a great idea for a blog post: How I got my job (!) and/or my schedule (!)….it sounds more glamorous than it is….and I definitely fell backwards into every single thing I’ve been lucky enough to do.

    Thanks again for this charming review.

    • Wini, you definitely have started a revolution. Look at Alisa – she started a blog because of your book. We’ll all be waiting to hear about the how tos of the career, schedule, and budget. Thanks again for being awesome!

  2. I, too, am OBSESSED with this cookbook. In fact, it was the inspiration behind starting my own food blog when my little girl was born and beginning on solids! I have simply NEVER run across a single Bonne Femme recipe that failed – more than that – never ran across one that wasn’t outstanding. Enjoy cooking from this book! I’ve made her poulet pot pie a dozen times and taken it to sick friends and people who just had babies, etc – it’s amazing!

    • Oh! Alisa, I’ll put the poulet pot pie on the short list. Isn’t this book great!? Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  3. While the recipes certainly look delicious, my feminist brain is raging at yet another engendered cookbook. Do French men cook?

    • Interesting point. I have now read three books on Americans raising kids in France and in all three it was mom’s responsibility to get food on the table (though they also had jobs). They were 1. American and 2. a sample size of 3, so I’m not sure I know the answer to that.

    • chezbonnefemme

      Interesting point, Meghan A., and believe me, the “Bonne Femme” team at my publisher thought long and hard about the title. We kept with it because the term “Cuisine de Bonne Femme” is a time-honored term in French cooking that specifically refers to everyday home cooking. It’s not really about who does the cooking, but the style of cooking. That’s something I’ve tried to impress upon my readers.

      I think it’s working, because according to the Google analytics for my website, 45.85% of my visitors are female, while 54.15% are male.

      Indeed, plenty of men cook “à la Bonne Femme.”

      Thanks for giving me the chance to explain this.

  4. I only feed my kids what we are eating and it is a struggle sometimes. They rarely get “kid food” My middle kid is super picky. With the baby we did baby led weaning and it has been amazing. She eats everything! http://www.babyledweaning.com

    • We are doing half and half so far, but I’m already finding myself just chopping up little pieces of what Randy and I are eating for Eggroll. It’s so much easier and I think she likes it better. Now if only she could take less than 5 minutes to eat an individual Cheerio… Bookie, did your baby jump right in to foods like the porkchop in the picture of the link?

  5. Pingback: This Food Nerd Is Going Back To School | Maggie Joos

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