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The Tante Marie's Cooking School Cookbook: More Than 250 Recipes for the Passionate Home Cook    by Mary Risley order for
Tante Marie's Cooking School Cookbook
by Mary Risley
Order:  USA  Can
Simon & Schuster, 2003 (2003)
* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Mary Risley is the founder and owner of Tante Marie's Cooking School, which she opened in 1973 in her flat in San Francisco. Risley claims the first thing to learn about cooking is not to worry. She tries in this book to supply lessons and explanations to give you the confidence to cook, to risk making mistakes, and to figure out how to correct them. 'What I am trying to do here is to teach you how to cook so that you can start cooking without recipes. Each chapter starts with simpler recipes and moves on to the more complicated. If you really cook your way through this book, you will have learned every technique that an accomplished home cook needs.'

Starting with Hors D'oeuvres, the book works its way through First Courses, Soups, Salads, Pasta, Risotto, Fish and Meats, Vegetables, Desserts, Cakes & Pastries, Breads, Cookies and Chocolates. Each recipe begins with tips and information that the cook needs to know about the foods with which he or she will be working. A list of ingredients leads to excellent instructions on how to prepare the dish. Then more tips follow that help turn you into the cook you always wanted to be. It would be very tempting to leaf through Mary Risley's cookbook and pick out just what appealed to you - but remember that each recipe is a lesson and needs to be learned to continue to the next phase.

I have to admit that I did just what I cautioned not to - leafed through. But in what I think of as a good cause, to point out what you can work up to. Anything for my readers. I am so selfless. A few recipes that caught my eye - Mushrooms Filled with Garlic Butter, Fresh Corn Soup with Basil Butter, and Classic Ceasar Salad. How about a pasta variation with Spaghetti with Pesto, Potatoes and Green Beans? And I always wanted to fix Paella. Here's the recipe for me. Crispy Chicken Breasts and Wild Mushrooms with Mashed Potatoes intrigues me. And Spring Lamb Stew (always a favorite in my growing up years, but Mother's recipe was lost). I'm now back in business.

Blueberries in Lemon Mousse. Fantastic. Cappoccino Brul9e. Wow! A dear friend's most favorite food in the whole world - Tiramisu. Rectangular Tart Filled with Peaches and Blackberries - I love most anything with fruit, but this sounds especially good. The Breads sound divine - I'm a sucker for the fragrance of baking bread. Beginning cooks and old hands in the kitchen alike will welcome this wonderful book full of what is needed to instill confidence in cooking.

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