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The Paris Cookbook is the eighth book by Patricia Wells, this one full of recipes she's collected during the two decades she's spent exploring the restaurants, markets and bakeries of her adopted city. While she focused on simple regional cooking in her classic Bistro Cooking, here she takes inspiration from three-star chefs such as Joël Robuchon and Pierre Gagnaire as well as from her local butchers and bakers. Despite the more sophisticated material, Wells again accomplishes what she does best: make French food accessible to the home cook ($30).

Jacques Pépin Celebrates is a companion volume to the third PBS series that the affable master of technique has made with Claudine, his culinarily impaired daughter. Because we often turn to tradition when we're celebrating (and because this is Pépin), the recipes tend toward the classical: chateaubriands with Madeira sauce, potatoes dauphine, tarte Tatin. Pépin's emphasis in these relatively elaborate recipes is once again on proper technique, illustrated by a helpful series of how-to photos. There are also plenty of instructive sidebars on such topics as making croutons from baguette slices and grinding meat in a food processor ($35).

Finally, the Best Food Writing 2001 is an anthology of memorable essays drawn from books, newspapers and magazines. Readers of F&W will recognize many pieces, including Melanie Thernstrom's determined attempts to bake a wedding cake and Jeffrey Eugenides's night crawl in search of Berlin's best döner sandwich, the Turkish version of the Greek gyro ($15).

- Lily Barberio

Published December 2001
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