As someone who is used to reading the all-too-brief reviews of cookbooks found in my local newspaper, yours was really a surprise and a pleasure. It demonstrates what an excellent cookbook review should be--which is an entirely different animal from reviews of other types of non-fiction books. The attention paid to audience, structure, language, physical presentation, and testing of the recipes was terrific. Add to all that, a real person comes through in your writing, a real person cooking real food.
Wow, now that I've said all that it makes me think again about the string Devotay started about creating a writers' forum. We could start by taking examples of different types of food writing, reading them, and then exchanging thoughts about what makes them strong pieces or what could have made them better.
Sorry to have gone off on a tangent, but clearly Suzanne's writing (and possibly the beefshort ribs I have slow-cooking in wine on the stove) are having an effect on me.
I'll be coming back to read your review but I have a question. Past Peterson books seemed to complicate things that should not be complicated. Does he do that with French food? (Which is already perceived as complicated by some...)
Chiff -- I thought that for once he simplifies. He gives a basic recipe for each of the 50 "classic" dishes he's chosen, and then gives variations based on the same ingredients, or the same cooking method, or some other variation that sort of makes sense. I think his basic idea is to make these classics, and some of their variants, more accessible. There is nothing in the book that a mid-level home cook could not do. No exotic ingredients, not unusual procedures -- his recipes are well-written and easy to follow here.
There are other recipes (besides the ones I tried for the review) that I would like to make, and that I am pretty sure will work.