Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The Apprentice - Jacques Pepin

Every once in a while, a book that seems like it was written just for me comes along, and The Apprentice is one of those books. Books that I really truly enjoy tend to fall in one or more of the following categories:

- biographies
- life in other regions & travel
- food & cooking
- fantasy & sci-fi

The Apprentice hits all but one of those notes, and I loved it. It's a collection of loosely-chronologically ordered essays going back to Pepin's earliest memories and ending close to the present day, covering his training in the old fashioned French culinary system to his multiple stints on TV teaching Americans to cook. Each essay has a central element that nearly always amounts to "meals shared with friends", and there are plenty of anecdotes about professional kitchens and cooking for family. It's simple and pretty, and there are lots and lots of meals (and recipes!) to get your mouth watering.

This book is my catnip. It has virtually everything I look for in a biography/non-fiction book, and it was delightful to read. There were even a few bits about growing up in the war, another topic that fascinates me! Pepin writes in a really friendly, casual style, and I paged through chapter after chapter just imagining the meals he was plating. As with all the best books, it made me want to go to both Paris and culinary school immediately. I think I may have to settle for getting a copy of La Technique or Mastering the Art of French Cooking instead.

Five stars, a spot on the favourites shelf, and a recommendation for anyone who comes within shouting distance!

This review was crossposted at CannonballRead, a race to read and review 52 books this year. 

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