I began writing Cooking with Adrienne when my friend and food mentor, Adrienne, developed a rare form of dementia which would ultimately rob her of the ability speak, write or cook. The realization that we would no longer be able to cook or talk about cooking sent me into a panic. We had been travelling and cooking together for 20 years and many of the recipes we made were in her head or mine or on scribbled bits of paper. I frantically wrote down all the ones I could remember and all the stories and words of advice Adrienne had imparted to me as we cooked together. That’s when I knew I had to share Adrienne’s voice and kitchen joie de vivre with the world. I’ve included her favorite recipes from some of the great chefs of the twentieth century, as well as her own original dishes, carefully explained with the French terms and fancy kitchen jargon laid bare. As she would have wanted it.
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As I was writing the book it became clear that this is also the amazing, often hilarious, story of a woman who became the American doyenne of French cuisine from the Sixties through the Nineties. Her recipes were based on the food coming out of the kitchens of Alain Chapel, Frédy Girardet, Michel Guérard, Jean and Pierre Troisgros, Roger Verge and others who were creating the New French Cuisine. She became an accomplished home cook and helped to pave the way for many of these chefs to bring the New Cuisine to America. Adrienne first began cooking in Paris with Simone (Simca) Beck, co-author, with Julia Child, of Mastering the Art of French Cooking. See the story Fluting Mushrooms on the Bidet for a good laugh and insight into Adrienne’s single mindedness!
Adrienne was the Queen of Sauces and the book has a strong focus on taking the mystery out of making a sauce. From a simple jus to beurre blanc and hollandaise, as well as the basics of stock and vinaigrette, you will have an insider’s guidance to all things sauce related. The recipes run the gamut from Jean Troisgros’ Steak with Spinach and Vinegar dressing, Adrienne’s own Squab with Morels, Frédy Girardet’s Passion Fruit Soufflé to the simpler, but no less delicious, Tomate Provençal, Pasta with Pesto and Scallops, and Moussaka. They reflect Adrienne’s belief that all food is good food if prepared properly.
I hope the book also captures the camaraderie we shared – two unlikely friends, united in their love of cooking and eating the best food possible. I am donating a share of the proceeds from the sale of the book to The Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration, (The AFTD), to fund research into finding a cure for PPA. You can help me support The AFTD by making your own donation in Adrienne’s name.