Thursday, June 07, 2007

Shout-Out to Clotilde

I just got a finished copy of blogger Clotilde Dusoulier's Chocolate & Zucchini: Daily Adventures in a Parisian Kitchen... and am I impressed! I'm used to seeing cheap-looking pre-publication galleys turn into glossy finished books. So when Clotilde and I met back in February, I wasn't surprised that her book at that point looked like most other galleys, its pages dull and photographs grainy. But the transformation of Clotilde's manuscript to book is much snazzier than usual.

Unlike many cookbooks that have a couple of pages of full-color photos inserted into an otherwise colorless book, C&Z has gorgeous full-color photographs throughout its pages. And what's even cooler is that all the photos are taken by Clotilde herself. She mixes images of Paris's culinary offerings--dried sausage hanging in a gourmet shop window, asparagus and tomatoes at a market, Sacre Coeur and the carousel at the base of the butte in Montmartre, where she lives--with photos of the food. Most cookbook photographs are taken in fancy studios, with serving pieces that are chosen strictly for their looks. But the food photos in C&Z show Beef Bourguignon, Soft-Boiled Egg with Artichoke Bread Fingers, and Lavender Apricot Compote on Clotilde's own dishes. This is the real deal, and it's just beautiful. Looking at the up-close images, you can see how fluffy the Fava Bean and Mint Frittata is; how intense the Chocolate Caramel Tart is. And if the glam shots aren't enough to get you into the kitchen, Clotilde's charming recipe introductions and stories should be. She begins each recipe with an explanation of where it came from, what it is, and how you can tweak it. And the recipes themselves are a refreshing blend of old-school French and international chic.

Congratulations, Clotilde!--S

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