Many students who are interested in improving their cooking skills this semester may struggle with the confines of small dorm kitchens and a lack of specialized cooking equipment. These students can find a fun solution in Rachel Khoo’s “The Little Paris Kitchen,” published by Chronicle Books in 2012.
Khoo, a food creative from the United Kingdom who studied patisserie at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris and later hosted her own cooking series on BBC, developed the “120 simple but classic French recipes” from her small Parisian kitchen with only a miniature oven and two gas rings.
The book’s recipes range from “French Basics” and “Everyday Cooking” to “Snack Time” and “Aperitif.” All the recipes can be prepared with minimal space and equipment.
The section titled “Sweet Treats” is particularly enticing, mostly due to the author’s training in patisserie. Khoo includes simplified adaptations of classic French desserts including crème caramel, crème brûlée and apple millefeuille.
The savory recipes such as the spring lamb stew, the ratatouille and the creamy potato bake allow even inexperienced cooks with limited resources to prepare impressive meals. They lend themselves to both dinner parties for large groups of friends and single-serving suppers for busy weeknights.
The author also utilizes her British background with recipes for British classics such as bangers ‘n’ mash, but brings these full circle with a touch of French style or influence.
The book also provides a helpful guide to French basics in the back, explaining the rudimentary elements of the cuisine to cooks who may be unfamiliar with them. The explanations are accessible and direct, with entertaining personal anecdotes from the author sprinkled throughout.
The book itself is enjoyable to flip through. With thick pages and stunning photography by David Loftus, the steep $35 price tag is not regrettable, especially if roommates share one copy. Some readers may find the abundance of photos of the author herself in cute Parisian cafe scenes a little superfluous, but others will appreciate these photos and the picture of Parisian lifestyle that they create.
A well-written cookbook, “The Little Paris Kitchen” will likely play a part in transforming dorm cooking from a nuisance to a joy.
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, Feb. 4 print edition. Chandler West is the dining editor. Email her at [email protected]