Here’s a new series for Book Wednesday: O.O.P. Wonders, featuring cool books currently out-of-print. I’ve posted out-of-print favorites before; this just makes it official. First up is a childhood favorite, Château Cuisine:
The book, a mix of coffee table travel book and cookbook, is by Anne Willan, the founder of the renowned La Varenne cooking school. Willan’s a fascinating figure in her own right, a somewhat less-heralded, British Julia Child. For many years, she ran her cooking school from the Château du Fey in Burgundy; that building is included here, along with 33 other châteaux from all over France.
As a child, I remember marveling at this book’s fairy tale architecture, country landscapes, and slightly bizarre French country dishes. Chicken in cider jelly? Pan-roasted wood cock? Tarragon liquer?! I could only dream of what these things tasted like, and in my dreams they were spasm-inducing delicious.
The book has held up well over the years (it was published in 1993, making it an unbelievable 18 years old), although the photos by Christopher Baker have a rich, pre-digital quality:
I have never tried the recipes, having always found them intimidating. Looking at them as an adult, however, the difficulty level seems on par with Julia Child’s recipes, i.e., more labor-intensive than your usual week-night dinner, but not French Laundry impossible. The dishes are very traditional French:
Seriously swoon-worthy, right? I’ll give one of the recipes a go soon, and update here when I do. Used copies of Château Cuisine can be purchased at Amazon; also see Anne Willan’s website for more on her books.