Books

This cookbook author ‘speaks’ simple French in the home kitchen

“The kind of cooking I do is ingredients-driven, made in simple ways,” said cookbook author Georgeanne Brennan. “If you know how to sauté, you can cook an awful lot of dishes.”
“The kind of cooking I do is ingredients-driven, made in simple ways,” said cookbook author Georgeanne Brennan. “If you know how to sauté, you can cook an awful lot of dishes.” Georgeanne Brennan

What home cook doesn’t like to page through a new cookbook, explore delicious-sounding recipes, and add to their repertoire of culinary skills and knowledge? After all, discovery is what cooking is all about. That, and actually eating what comes out of the oven or the pan, of course.

Georgeanne Brennan knows a thing or two about all that. She’s the chef-author of more than 30 cookbooks that have won major honors, including a James Beard Award and an International Association of Culinary Professionals’ Cookbook Award.

Like legendary chef Julia Child before her, Brennan has helped take the mystery out of French cuisine, making it approachable and easy for home cooks to whip up such Provençal specialties as green garlic and new potato soup, smoked trout pate and mushroom-stuffed chicken.

Brennan’s latest how-to book, “La Vie Rustic: Cooking and Living in the French Style,” is the Sacramento Bee Book Club’s choice for May.

“Certain kinds of French cooking won’t work if you don’t have your techniques down,” she said in the kitchen of her century-old farmhouse in Winters. “The kind of cooking I do is really more ingredients-driven, made in simple ways. If you know how to sauté – melt some butter or heat some olive oil in pan – you can cook an awful lot of dishes.”

Brennan’s expertise comes from decades of dividing her time between her farmhouse in Provence – where she once taught cooking classes – and her farmhouse in Winters. Each venue has added its own unique flavors to her cookbooks.

In the introduction to “La Vie Rustic,” she writes of her early years in rural Provence: “Little did I know it at the time, but my first years in France gave me the foundation for my life’s work and changed me forever. The relationship between land and table is more than just sustenance.”

At the event, Brennan will be happy to answer your cooking questions and offer kitchen-ready tips and advice. Buy tickets at www.sacbee.com/events.

Visit Brennan at www.georgeannebrennan.com.

Information: 916-321-1128.

Allen Pierleoni: 916-321-1128, @apierleonisacbe

Sacramento Bee Book Club

Cookbook author and educator Georgeanne Brennan will appear for The Sacramento Bee Book Club at 6 p.m Thursday, May 18, in The Hive at The Sacramento Bee, 2100 Q St., Sacramento. She will be in conversation with Bee senior writer Allen Pierleoni.

Tickets to the event are $20 for seven-day-a-week subscribers, $10 for students and $25 for general admission. Buy tickets online at www.sacbee.com/events. Doors open at 5:15 p.m. Parking is free. Barnes & Noble will be on site, selling “La Vie Rustic: Cooking and Living in the French Style” for 30 percent off the list price (Weldon Owen, $35, 292 pages).

All proceeds benefit The Bee’s News In Education program, bringing news and information to more than 20,000 students in the region.

“La Vie Rustic” also will be offered for a 30 percent discount through May 18 at these bookstores: in the Sacramento area at the five Barnes & Nobles, Avid Reader at the Tower, Underground Books, Time Tested Books and Sac State’s Hornet Bookstore; in Davis at Avid Reader; in El Dorado Hills at Face in a Book; and in Grass Valley at The Bookseller.

Cooking lessons

Coming in the May 17 Food & Drink section: The Bee’s Debbie Arrington finds out how Georgeanne Brennan applies her French-cooking expertise to the fresh bounty of California. The key? Keep it simple and seasonal.

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