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Phaidon wishes bon appetit with French classic
01.01.70 | Catherine Neilan
A French cookery book which has sold more than six million copies since it was published more than 70 years ago will be released in English for the first time this autumn.
I Know How to Cook (or Je Sais Cuisiner as it is known in France) was written by French cookery writer Ginette Mathiot in 1932. It has never been out of print and Mathiot continued to update and re-release it with the same publisher, Albin Michel, throughout the rest of her life. She was made an Officier de a Legion d’Honneur, the highest decoration in France, for her work. She died in 1998.
Phaidon editorial director Emilia Terragni said: "If you ask any French person who has ever done anything in the kitchen then they will know the book."
Terragni described it as "the bible of home cooking" similar to other titles in Phaidon’s loose series on national cuisine including The Silver Spoon, which considered Italian home booking, and 1080 Recipes, which looked at authentic Spanish cooking. She added: "As with The Silver Spoon, it is home-based—recipes that have been collected in home kitchens."
The title includes more than 1,400 recipes, from béchamel sauce to mayonnaise, Salade Niçoise to soufflés. It has been updated by French food writer and expert of French home cooking Clotilde Dusoulier, of the Chocolate & Zucchini blog and book.
She worked with a team of international cookery experts, who have adapted the recipes for modern cooks, such as adjusted cooking times, lessening the amount of fat-based ingredients, such as butter and cream, and simplifying and explaining recipes for a UK and US audience.
French chefs including Henry Harris of London restaurant Racine, Franck Raymond of Covent Garden-based Mon Plaisir and Pascal Aussignac of Cellar Gascon have also contributed recipes and menus from their own restaurants.
The look has also been revamped, with 15 chapters such as "fish" "game" and "sweets, preserves and drinks" plus 225 specially-commissioned colour photographs and illustrations by French illustrator BlexBolex. The title will be released in October as a £24.95 hardback.