Holiday gifts for cooks (and Francophiles...)

Is Amazon clairvoyant??  It certainly seems that way because I opened an email from them this morning and it was all about French cookbooks!  Quelle Surprise - how did they know?  ( did they know?)  Anyway, it got me thinking about the holidays and gifts and..... I think you can guess where I'm going with this. For any devoted Francophile or cook or cookbook collector, these new offerings are awfully tempting:

Having eaten more than a few meals at Bouchon in Yountville, CA this past summer, this award-winning cookbook, Bouchon Bakery , really is appealing on so many levels.  The photography is lush and the whole French-inspired theme speaks to me.  I hope it's is under the tree on Christmas!   

My Paris Kitchen by David Lebovitz, former Chez Panisse pastry chef is a collection of stories and recipes with photographs taken in Paris.  A substitute for being there, it will have to do until September....

Who doesn't love Jacques Pepin??  Chef extraordinaire and author of over 20 cookbooks on his own and one with Julia Child - and who doesn't love her?  I remember watching Jacques and Julia cooking together on their PBS program, arguing ever so politely about seasonings. Essential Pepin looks like a good addition to any Francophile cook's kitchen library.

Mastering the Art of French Eating looks intriguing to me, as it promises to be filled with insights about Parisian neighborhoods and non-touristy restaurants and shops.  Written by a young woman whose diplomat husband leaves her alone in Paris for a year when he's sent on a mission to Iraq, it brings to mind a young Julia Child and the movie Julie and Julia - and it's added to my list!

Speaking of Julia ChildMy Life in France, which formed part of the back story for the "Julia" portion of "Julie and Julia", is one of the most charming autobiographies I've ever read.  A must!

I read the novel "The Paris Wife" first and was so thrilled to be immersed in 1920's Paris and Hem & Hadley's life there, I just had to follow it up with "A Moveable Feast". 

Wonderful writing, both - one stitched together with beautifully embroidered facts and the other from memories.  Essential.

Finally, "Suite Francaise" byIrene Nemirovsky, has nothing to do with cooking but tells the amazing story of the German occupation of France during WW2, from the perspective of those occupied.  The writing is engrossing, reminiscent of Tolstoy, and particularly poignant when one discovers that Ms Nemirovsky never was able to finish her "suite" of stories, as she was imprisoned in Auschwitz......

You can purchase any of these wonderful books through the Design Beat: Seattle store on and it would be the best Christmas gift for us, ever, if you did!