Richard Olney’s 1974 classic is consistently rated ckbk’s ‘most recommended’ for good reason. The American-born food writer’s prose is so elegant, his recipes so surprisingly concise, and his thoughts and reflections on Provencal village life, gastronomy, wine, and human nature so knowing and well observed that the book demands to be read and re-read – and, most of all, to be cooked from.
Richard Olney was considered a culinary genius for his ability to elevate cooking to a practical art. He wrote evocatively about the beauty and pleasure in cooking by focusing on preparing simple foods well. This new edition of his classic cookbook includes a fresh cover, new interior design, and a foreword by Mark Bittman—so that a whole new generation of food lovers can enjoy this inspiring book. Olney’s 175 recipes are so straightforward that cooks will be inspired to go right into the kitchen: herb omelets, fish with zucchini, lamb shanks with garlic, and many more. He also shares techniques (several featuring his own illustrations), such as fermenting vinegar, in line with the back-to-basics trend in cooking. Olney’s emphasis on simplicity and improvisation in cooking will resonate with today’s cooks and food lovers.
Editor, Observer Food Monthly,
I am in a bit of a panic, I can't find my copy. I have lent it to someone and I don't remember who and it seems they have forgotten. All Olney's books are brilliant. I chaired a panel that declared his French Menu Cookbook the best of all time. But for my own taste, this edges the others. As much about good eating as cooking (obviously), now where the hell is mine?
Chef and Author
Although I've owned this book for over twenty years it still gives me great pleasure as I turn each page. Each summer we put on the menu his beautiful dish of rabbit with cucumbers - it's one of my favourite summer dishes.
Farmer's market organizer
When I first read this, the list of ingredients was a revelation. Rocket was unknown, so I found the seed and grew it myself. The pages on the Impromptu Composed Salad should be required reading.
Food Editor, The World of Fine Wine and co-founder and convenor of the London Gastronomy Seminars
Elizabeth David was the better prose stylist, but I have always found Richard Olney's recipes easier to follow...
Nothing's actually simple, but it conveys such understanding of French cooking. Also Lulu's Provencal Table.
Makes the case for French food as an ethos and a feeling, not a compendium of exact formulas.
Writer and former chair of the Oxford Symposium on Food & Cookery
The seminal book from one of the few writers/cooks ever to create a genuinely new recipe.
Writer, film maker
Wholly unpretentious local recipes, and a life in food/food in life feel.
A small and tasty gem of a cookery book.
Chef, gardener and TV presenter
Chef and owner of Buvette
Founder/owner of Mustards Grill, and Cindy’s Backstreet Kitchen
Co-founder of ChefSteps and author
Food columnist of LA Times
American born British Chef who owns and runs the Michelin Star Italian restaurant, The River Cafe
Author and editor
Food writer and critic
Editor, The Art of Eating
Food writer, former restaurateur, food educator
Chef and farmer
Professional Food Lover
Writer and composer
Executive Chef and Partner
Author, former chef & TV cook/presenter
Chef, restaurateur, author
Consultant and writer