If you’d been staking out our Melbourne home over the past month or so, apart from being extremely bored, you would likely have come to two realisations. Firstly, Scotty and I have led very dull lives during lockdown. And secondly we’ve recently had lots and lots of books delivered.
I’ve always loved anything to do with books. I’m drawn to bookshops and libraries. I decorate our home with books. (Yes, my bookshelves are colour coded, something that won’t be changing no matter how often Scotty tells me that my system is way less effective than Dewey Decimal Classification.) And I love to read.
During our extended lockdown, I’ve definitely had a bit of a splurge. Books showcasing French food, lifestyle and design have been finding their way into our home at a great rate. And I’ve been enjoying all of them. So much so that I’ve been procrastinating on this post because I wasn’t sure which book to review first.
After thoroughly overthinking it, I finally decided to go with Rebekah Peppler’s À Table – Recipes For Cooking + Eating The French Way. It’s such an enjoyable book on every level and I feel like it appeals to a wide range of readers – particularly those who like food, French lifestyle snippets and Paris.
Title: ’À Table – Recipes For Cooking + Eating The French Way.‘
Author: Rebekah Peppler. Photography by Joann Pai.
Published: 2021 by Chronicle Books, Hardcover, 304 pages, 125 recipes.
What I Liked:
- The premise. À Table is anchored around a modern French dinner party, so you’ll find chapters covering ‘Before, During and After’. The recipes range from the classic to the unexpected. And there are an excellent range of apéritifs and digestifs shared which feels fitting, given an earlier book of Rebekah’s was titled Apéritif: Cocktail Hour the French Way. À Table also shares insights into etiquette and how to bring a bit of French dinner party style into your own home.
- The humour. I don’t think I’ve ever found a cookbook so amusing – I found myself laughing out aloud all the way through this book. And I know that I’ve never shared so many snippets with Scotty – as a general rule, recipe books aren’t known for being read out loud. But Rebekah’s writing style is as entertaining as the soirées she describes – it really is a fun read.
- The French staples section. Titled the Modern French Pantry, Rebekah does a nice job of ‘translating’ for international audiences. She also offers brands to look out for and alternatives where required.
- The fact that there is a section titled ‘On Frozen Water’ and that Rebekah so cleverly explains the importance of ice to a French dinner party. And if you were looking for recommendation for an apéritif to pop that ice in, I’d point you in the direction of the Pre-Dinner Armagnac (which works well with cognac too).
- The gorgeous photography. Good cookbooks need beautiful photos and you’ll find plenty of lovely food styling and pictures in À Table. But I was also struck by how well Joann Pai captured humans in this book – I really did feel like I was getting a sneak peek into French life.
What I Wasn’t So Sure About:
- Regular readers will know that I go out of my way to find something that I’m not sure about in the books I review. And that it’s rare for me to not come up with even a small foible. Well, I’m afraid that À Table has beaten me – I couldn’t find anything to share without feeling ultra picky.
Have you read À Table? Did you enjoy it as much as I did? And would you like me to review books more often on Distant Francophile? Trust me – I have plenty of books ready to go. Either way, I’d love for you to share your thoughts in the comments section below.
And until next time – au revoir.
P.S. I know so many of you have been patiently sitting on the waitlist, wondering when we’re going to launch our online fine art photography store. Thank you so much for sticking with us – Melbourne’s desire to win the award for the world’s longest pandemic lockdown has been slowing us down. But the good news is that lockdown lifted last Friday and soon our printers will be back in business. So please continue to stay tuned. And if you’re not on the waitlist but would like to be one of the first to know when the store opens, you can pop your name on our invitation list – simply click here xx
This is an unsolicited post. No compensation of any kind has been received from the author, publisher or parties connected with À Table.