Le Week-end Petit Plaisir: No. 14
Saturday April 5, 2014

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You may remember the scene in Julie & Julia when Julia is frustratingly working with her editor, Judith Jones at Knopf publishing to come up with the title for her first cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking. And so it is that Judith Jones that continued to work with Julia and many other talented writers with the recipes they would share with the public. Now the vice president and senior editor at Alfred A. Knopf, she released a cookbook in 2009 that I have had on my wish list for years. Finally, it has arrived and it has surpassed my expectations.

In The Pleasure of Cooking for One Jones sharing that after her husband Evan died in 1996, she was uncertain that she would ever enjoy cooking for only herself, but as she shares in her memoir The Tenth Muse: My Life in Food, she quickly discovered dining with her own company was not only a way of honoring one of her treasured rituals enjoyed with her husband but something she rather looked forward to at the end of the day.

~(clockwise, upper lefthand corner:) Judith with James Beard and Julia Child,  Linguini with Smoked Salmon Sauce, Judith editing with Julia Child, Judith at work, Judith with her husband Evan~

Why I am devouring this cookbook:

  • Concise simple, yet delicious recipes (my first recipe, Chicken Divan – 7 common ingredients, 30 minutes to delish!)
  • A list of supplies the solo cook will need in their kitchen (very feasible)
  • Addresses ideas, recipes for variations and use of leftovers
  • A list of food to have on hand in the refrigerator, pantry and freezer
  • A celebratory relationship with food and the pleasures it can offer
  • Why not . . . make the meals you have with yourself special? A linen napkin, a napkin ring and nice dish ware
  • Simple tips on keeping greens fresh, simplifying kitchen clean-up, feeding unexpected guests
  • A reminder of the splendors of cheese and how and what she enjoys

As someone who thoroughly enjoys cooking and has been cooking meals for myself for more than a decade, I wish I had had this book on my shelves years ago. While yes, the quality of ingredients may be expensive, with proper planning, nothing goes to waste and you can be assured of a satiating meal that is balanced and easy to double should you have company.

The tranquility I find in cooking, especially meals that I have made for years and am now tweaking and reinventing is exhilarating, and whenever I know I will have time in the evening to cook in my kitchen, I must admit I get quite excited. After all, if it doesn’t turn out as I hoped, only I will know.  🙂  And it is in treating ourselves well that we come to respect ourselves and consequentially build stronger relationships with those we do choose to spend our time with.

Thank you Judith, for reminding us all to enjoy the simple pleasure of everyday cooking and teaching us a few of your tricks along the way.


~No. 3 . . . Julia Child life lessons

~No. 7 . . . a chocolate dessert to devour

~No. 6 . . . French cooking in 10 minutes? Yes, it is possible

7 thoughts on “Le Week-end Petit Plaisir: No. 14

  1. Sounds like a wonderful cookbook! I’m so curious about it now 🙂 I’ve never been great at cooking, but in the past year I’ve come a long way. Thanks for sharing this review! I’m going to make my local bookstore today…I’ll be keeping my eyes opened for this one.

    xo Azu


  2. My dearest friend has a birthday the week after next, she’s a great cook and loves to cook for others but falls down on cooking for herself. Thanks Shannon, I will order this for Naomi right now.

    1. Honestly, I was excited to read it and it still exceeded my expectations. I have a feeling she will like it. The first two recipes I’ve tried (as you will see on my Instagram) we’re easy and delicious.

  3. This is absolutely fantastic! I wish I had this cookbook 10 years ago! It would have been great to take pleasure in cooking great meals and taking pride in dinning alone. Thank you so much for sharing! I love your blog!

  4. Have you discovered Keith Floyd, yet? He was a slightly eccentric English cook who was really popular in the 80s. He absolutely adored French cookery (particularly “la cuisine du terroir”) and produced some great cookery books. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keith_Floyd
    It was his book “Floyd on France” that made me want to become a Cordon Bleu chef 🙂

    1. Oh we LOVED Keith Floyd’s tv series. Always wish they would make them available on CD’s or the internet. There are short clips on Youtube but not the whole series. He was so funny and really loved cooking. What a charactor!

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