Exploring the Tastes of Paris Neighborhoods
by Brette Sember
Book: The Paris Neighborhood Cookbook: Danyel Couet’s Guide to the City’s Ethnic Cuisines (2008), by Danyel Couet From Interlink Publishing
When you read this, I’ll be in Paris. So it seemed appropriate to share my journey by reviewing The Paris Neighborhood Cookbook: Danyel Couet’s Guide to the City’s Ethnic Cuisines by Danyel Couet.
The best way to experience the cuisine of a region is with a local guiding you, but to have a chef as your guide is the ultimate foodie experience. You can bet I will be following Couet’s lead as I visit Paris neighborhoods.
Beyond the Traditional
Couet shows the reader that there is much more to Paris than the Eiffel Tour and baguettes. I must admit that at first was a little annoyed by the approach. I wanted the French experience from a French cookbook. But once I read it, I liked it. Paris is a multi-ethnic city and there are fascinating neighborhoods where immigrants settle and cook their native cuisine. As with the U.S., the immigrants enhance the culture with their own recipes. To really know a city you must know the different groups that give it character.
With this book you will tour the African, Arab, Jewish, Greek, Indian and Asian quarters. Couet knows we want some quintessential Paris and so also includes sections on traditional French bistro, market, and street foods. Couet does not do more than mention a few restaurants, however he does Discuss and show several markets the visitor can seek out and also discusses food shops. The focus here is on first describing the Paris neighborhood. Who are the people? What is the ambience of the area? He describes the clothing people wear, the storefronts, the historical changes to the areas, and the foods you will find. He also tells the reader exactly where to walk to see the best of these neighborhoods (an appendix summarizes this for easy use). This is perfect for my trip.
Tasting Paris Neighborhoods
The ethnic recipes from the Paris neighborhoods on offer lean towards simplicity, but it is simplicity that brings perfection. Sesame Chicken with Cucumber Salad, Pickled Peaches, Yogurt Crème with Flambéed Figs, Date-Filled Semolina Fritters, Lamb Couscous with Pumpkin – the focus is on authentic flavors and is meant to offer a realistic sampling of common menu items in the neighborhoods. You’ll also find recipes for the basics building blocks of these cuisines, such as Naan Bread, Quick Couscous, Curry Paste, Tzatziki and so on.
If you’d like a more traditional French experience, you’ll want to try Quiche Lorraine, Boeuf Bourguignon, Bearnaise Sauce, Onion Soup, Bouillabaisse, and more. If you’re looking for in-depth traditional French cooking, this isn’t the book for you, but if you are interested in an authentic taste of the real Paris, including the many cultures that really do make up the city, you will find this book fascinating.
Each recipe has a photo, so that will make you hungry. In addition, the book has lots of Paris photos, but they are of these neighborhoods, so you really get the feel for the individual vibes as you visit the streets, markets, and parks. The quintessential Parisian architecture is always in the background, so you always know exactly where on earth the photos originated.
Two recipes allow you to sample the French and international aspects of this book
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Original article: Exploring the Tastes of Paris Neighborhoods
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