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In a French Kitchen: Tales and Traditions of Everyday Home Cooking in France

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  551 ratings  ·  79 reviews
A delightful celebration of French life and the cooks who turn even the simplest meals into a celebration.

One by one, readers are invited to meet the busy people of Louviers and surrounding villages and towns of Loomis's adopted home, from runway-chic Edith, who has zero passion for cooking - but a love of food that inspires her to whip up an array of mouthwatering dishes
Hardcover, 303 pages
Published November 26th 2015 by Michael Joseph (first published May 5th 2015)
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Average rating 3.82  · 
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 ·  551 ratings  ·  79 reviews

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Mar 01, 2016 rated it it was ok
My problem with all of her work is that French culture and cuisine is idolized, in order to present it to North Americans who are then blown away by the difference from their own culture, the delights of French markets, French patisseries, French cooking. The everyday side of life in such a town never really comes across. In addition, she continues a trend in her later books to write her ex husband completely out of the narrative - yet as her second book reveals, he built the kitchen in which al ...more
Elizabeth Theiss
May 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cookbooks, memoir
In a French Kitchen recounts the experiences of two decades of learning and loving French cooking through friendships in a memoir with recipes. First thing I taste-tested was the Pot au Feu, a succulent, flavorful, classic braised beef dish, cooked the way your French grandmother would have cooked it, had you had a French grandmother. Oh my! Oh yes! It was fork tender and perfect. I just followed directions and it was as good as the world-class Pot au Feu at Paris's famous restaurant named for t ...more
Mar 05, 2016 rated it it was ok
An interesting topic, but I just could not get into the author's writing style at all. This is a combination memoir of an American living in France for 20 years and a French cookbook, interspersed with descriptions, tips, and hints from the author and her French friends. The recipes look great, but breathless declarations of things that all French cooks do (except the men! Oooh la la, the men, they never cook!), and the (generally bad) things that all American cooks do get old pretty quickly. Al ...more
Vicky Griffith
Jul 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
This was just an enjoyable read! The only bad part was that it made me incredibly hungry and at one point I actually put the book down, went to the grocery store for a bag of fresh lemons, and came home and made Madame Korn's Quick Lemon Cake. I am normally not a baker but holy hell that cake was delicious.
Dec 03, 2015 rated it liked it
Nice collection of recipes; I dog-eared several of them to try. Also gave an interesting description of government standards and classifications for baguettes (who knew?). But there are a lot of annoying stereotypes, i.e. "the French way is the best way," and some unnecessary jabs at Americans.
Wendy MacKnight
Dec 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017-reads
You’ll want a cup of coffee and a baguette beside you as you read this book! Love the stories and the recipes will be tried many times in 2018!
Kim H.
May 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
If you love books and films set in France and spend as much time soaking up the sensual background details in each and every scene on the page or frame, you are sure to be delighted by Susan Herrmann Loomis' revealing new cooking memoir, In a French Kitchen: Tales and Traditions of Everyday Home Cooking in France.

To my delight, I discovered at the outset of the book I must actually be French: First, I love food. (Chapter 1: Loving Food begins, "The French love of food is primordial.") Second, I
Linda Kissam
Sep 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
What is the secret of a well-planned French meal with a distinct beginning middle and end and appropriately paired wines? In the fascinating book In a French Kitchen by Susan Loomis, all is revealed.

Its part cookbook (85 recipes), part methods and secrets, part story, part peeking into freezers and cupboards and part shopping list. At the end of the book you will have become part of a new extended family. Toss in traditions, opinions and tips and you have one of the best books written on French
Jun 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: france, food, memoirs
Many years ago I read Susan’s memoirs On Rue Tatin: The Simple Pleasures of Life in a Small French Town and Tarte Tatin: More of La Belle Vie on Rue Tatin about how she found herself buying a derelict convent in the grounds of the church in the Normandy town of Louviers and how she turned it into a beautiful family home and business too. This latest book, In A French Kitchen is a cookbook with 85 recipes, but it is a narrated journey too. Susan takes us from one French kitchen to another via her ...more
Jan 17, 2016 rated it it was ok
Susan Herrmann Loomis's take on French cooking and eating.
I am so terribly mixed on this book. It is well written, parts of it are quite beautiful and make you want to eat what she is describing right now, and the recipes and some of the cooking tips are quite useful and interesting. Some of the sections though went on a bit long, especially the ones about salad and cheese. It's hard to write about specific types of food, such as cheeses many of the people who are reading your book have never e
Linda Haack
Jun 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book, so many tips on just whipping up wonderful meals with fresh ingredients and a few staples. I so wish we had the markets and small, specialized shops that they do in France. Supermarkets may be convenient but God only knows how long it takes to get things on the shelves. I also wish I had had a French "mamie" to teach me the age old methods of cooking and using up everything. I will keep reading this book occasionally and hope that some of the intuitive cooking takes residence in ...more
Jun 22, 2015 rated it liked it
A well written memoir that describes the tales and traditions of her grandmother (Mamie) and the author (Susan Herrmann),two great generations. This lovely book describes the wonderful French recipes that she learned living in south of France. All begin when she moved to France thirty years ago, traded her American cuisine to the highly elegant French cuisine. She became familiar and loved cooking with the spices and the exquisite aromas in her kitchen.
Clayton Taylor
May 31, 2015 rated it it was ok
Banal. I had high hopes for reading this but it was dull without enough recipes to make it worthwhile and none of the color pictures we love in cookbooks. Her earlier book was better, this one felt like a money grab.
Jan 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely delectable-- such a pleasurable read. I love good memoir-type books with excellent recipes and this is one of the best I've read.
Aug 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my favorite foodie reads of late. Quite a few recipes lined up to try now, or adapt to my needs, and none of them complicated.
Nov 10, 2019 rated it did not like it
I DNFed this book. Not my cup of tea
Suzanne Lisanti
Apr 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Enjoyable read and very nice sounding recipes. I will try some of them. Really loved her book 'On Rue Tatin' and this is a nice but short follow up.
Jun 29, 2015 rated it really liked it

This was a delicious read! Susan Herrmann Loomis shares what she has learned living in France for years; and not just cooking French cuisine – but eating her fair share of it as well. Loomis tells stories from her own kitchen and also those of her French friends. Basically I want to move to France now so I can shop daily in my own village from my own produce market, cheesemonger and boulangerie. Let’s be honestly, my life would be complete with my own chee
May 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Tales and Traditions of Everyday Home Cooking in France

This delightful book should come with a warning label affixed to the cover: Do Not Read While Hungry! If you're not already hungry, a few pages into this warm introduction to the inextricable intertwining of French food and culture, you will be, soon.

Acclaimed chef and author Susan Herrmann Loomis (ON RUE TATIN) does a lovely job of explaining the symbiosis between French family life and cooking. From chapters su
May 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
When I was a little girl, my mother would send me to the bakery to buy two loaves of bread. She learned that when she had me buy one loaf, I would have eaten at least half of it by the time I got home. Susan Herrmann Loomis reminded me of that when she wrote about bread in her chatty new cookbook, IN A FRENCH KITCHEN.
Using examples from her friends and neighbors, she answers the question: “How does a French cook put a multicourse meal on the table at least once every other day...and still mana
Prima Seadiva
Jul 28, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: food
2.5 stars. The writing style was a little too enthusiastic in style for my taste. It was a like a blog where every other sentence has an exclamation.
I worked and cooked for my family, now they are grown still cook for myself. Planning menus, being organized, having a pantry, shopping regularly, knowing basic skills along with love of preparing and eating food are not unique to the French though perhaps it is more common there. Where I live there is a wide variety of fresh foods to choose from an
Jul 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
Enjoyable look about French traditions in the kitchen and about food I had waited forever for this book to come through my library queue, and I was happy to see it was mostly worth the wait.. Author Loomis takes the reader though various aspects of food in France: breakfast, cheese, dessert, as well as the kitchen itself: where food comes from, how many French people learn to love food/how to cook, etc.
It's a romantic view where we read a bit about how meals go, how they are cooked, where the F
Jan 02, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-books
This was my second attempt at audiobooks. I've been wanting to read more and thought being read to might help me sneak in a few more pages than usual. My first attempt did not go over well, so I thought I would try something more biographical in nature. I had never heard of the book before but it popped up as a recommendation on my library's app, so here we are.

I thought the book was "okay". It's possible I may have liked it better if I was reading it on paper, as it included many recipes and re
Checked this out on a whim from our library's "spotlight" books of the month. I didn't think I'd enjoy it as much as I did, but it struck a nice balance between being informative and chatty. The recipes were clear and concise (and look pretty simple, really), and the tips section had some good information about basics without being patronizing or preachy. There were no photos in the e-book format, but I'm fine with that.

Part memoir about French food (shopping for, cooking, and eating it) and pa
Jun 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
**I won this book as an ARC on Goodreads.**
I enjoyed this book for so many reasons. It is so nice to find people that actually appreciate food, from its nutritional value to its flavor. Reading this book upset me, though, because it made me realize how difficult it is for us in America to have the same fresh, amazing food as they do in France. In the city where I live, the nearest bakery is a 25 minute drive away, and even there most of their breads are made from mixes, and "baked fresh" every m
Apr 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing

In a French Kitchen is where I long to be, so this book is one that I will re-read. I admit that I cheated and started with the recipes in the back of the book. Of course, then I was excited to start reading and found that there are recipes all through the book! Besides the interesting story that Loomis weaves through her book, there are Lists, and Tips, and Rules, and Techniques that are valuable gems for anyone. But I know they were directed toward moi. At one point in the book, she mentions e
R J Mckay
Jun 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
Everyone marvels at the ability of the French to prepare a wonderful meal. But just how much effort and skill is needed to accomplish that feat? Author and expat, Susan Herrmann Loomis takes the reader into the French kitchen. She introduces us to the tools most commonly found there. She shows us how easy it is to produce a simple meal with French flair.

We get snippets of information from friends and even the neighborhood butcher, all geared toward demystifying the way the French prepare a meal
Mister Moose
May 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
Though there are times when we hear a bit too much about Ms. Loomis's private life, overall this is a very interesting and useful book that's much more honest and real than books by wannabe Julie Child chefs like Dorie Greenspan and Ina Gartner, both of whom live in the US but pretend to be French through dint of having Paris pied a terres. I've heard Ms. Loomis speak French, and she's the real deal, unlike the two other ladies, and this is why I bought this book. There are many wonderful real-p ...more
Apr 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I got this one from Goodreads giveaways and absolutely loved it! I've been to France twice and it's cliche' but I've always wanted to move there and this book just solidifies that urge. The ease of the writing lends to the ease of the French cook and lifestyle, and makes me want to change everything about my kitchen repertoire. The stories give me a sense of the purity of technique and hopefully I can develop the same simple efficiency. I don't consider myself a 'foodie', but this is a great foo ...more
Mary C
May 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this book. So many tips and facts I'm learning about how and why the French eat and cook and shop as they do. I know why and when to eat certain cheese, what wine goes best with cheese, why the french don't get fat ( they have to walk to buy food, and no snacking), and mostly what it's like to grow up in homes that everything revolves around close family and great food. Included were a ton of recipes, some easy, some hard, and I will try to make my own mayonnaise. This is a bo ...more
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“Another key to a perfect salad is the sauce, or vinaigrette. Most people don’t think of vinaigrette as a sauce but it is one of the most important in the French repertoire. It always includes mustard, and shallot, garlic, or chives, either vinegar or lemon juice, and most often peanut oil, though olive and canola oil are rapidly becoming more common. The proportions are 1 tablespoon vinegar, 1 teaspoon mustard, ¼ cup (60ml) oil, a pinch of salt. There can be more to a vinaigrette. Try adding a bit of soy sauce (1 teaspoon) when you add the vinegar, mix oils or use just a nut oil—hazelnut and walnut are my favorites, but almond and peanut oil are delicious, too. You can add different herbs aside from the traditional chives—try tarragon, mint, thyme, basil, or fennel fronds—a flavored mustard, a mix of ground peppercorns. One vital tip for making a great salad, whether green, composed, or otherwise, is to thoroughly toss the leaves in the vinaigrette. Some people ask me if they should toss salad with their hands. My resounding response is “Ugh.” Apparently someone at some time said the French do this but I’ve never witnessed this behavior and cannot imagine anything worse. The best utensils for tossing salad are a wooden spoon and fork, though you can use whatever is easiest for you. The point is to fatiguer la salade, tire out the lettuce, by lifting it up and out of the bowl, turning it, and letting it fall back into the bowl as many times as it takes for the lettuce leaves to begin to feel heavy. When they do, they’re perfectly dressed. And finally, toss the lettuce right before you plan to serve the salad. You cannot do this in advance. The acid in the vinaigrette begins to “cook” the leaves almost immediately—they’ll soon be wilted and soft if they’re left to sit.” 0 likes
“LENTILS WITH SAUSAGES { LENTILLES AUX SAUCISSES } My friend Fabienne makes this dish at the drop of a hat, because it’s quick, simple, satisfying, and delicious! Traditional vegetables in a dish like this are carrots, celery, onions, and perhaps fennel, which make it so flavorful. Sometimes it’s fun to go a bit wild, though, as Fabienne says. “I use red bell pepper,” she said. “It gives the dish exciting color and flavor.” Whichever vegetables you use, be sure to dice them so they blend in nicely. This calls for a hearty red, from Cahors. NOTE: You need delicious pork for this recipe. I’ve suggested kielbasa and slab bacon; use pork belly or unsmoked bacon, salt pork that you’ve boiled in fresh water twice first, or fresh pork sausages. 1 tablespoon duck fat or extra-virgin olive oil 2 medium onions, diced 1 small red bell pepper, seeds and pith removed Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper 1 large clove garlic, green germ removed, minced 1 cup (250g) green lentils (ideally lentilles de Puy), picked over for small stones, rinsed 1 bouquet garni 1 (8-ounce; 250g) Morteau or kielbasa, cut into ½-inch (1.2cm) rounds 2 to 3 fresh sausages (about 8 ounces; 250g total), cut into 2-inch (5cm) pieces 6 ounces (180g) lean slab bacon, cut into 1-inch (2.5cm) chunks Fresh flat-leaf parsley, for garnish Grainy mustard, for serving Melt the duck fat in a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and bell pepper and stir. Season with salt and black pepper and cook until the onions are translucent, stirring frequently so they don’t stick, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic and stir. Add the lentils, stir, and add water to cover them by 1 inch (2.5cm). Add the bouquet garni, pushing it under the water. Raise the heat to medium-high and when the water boils, reduce the heat to medium so it is simmering, partially cover, and cook until the lentils begin to soften, about 15 minutes. Add the meats, pushing them into the lentils, and additional water if necessary to make sure that the lentils are moist. Return the liquid to a boil, then reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and cook, partially covered, until the lentils are “al dente” and not too soft, 15 to 20 minutes more. Remove from the heat and ladle into four shallow soup bowls. Garnish with a generous grind of black pepper and a parsley leaf. Serve immediately with the mustard alongside. SERVES 4” 0 likes
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