Frontières: The Food of France’s Borderlands

Interlink. Dec. 2023. 288p. ISBN 9781623711184. $35. COOKING
In accordance with this book’s title, Jackson, a London chef, arranges his second volume about French cooking (after Provençal) geographically; it begins in Southwest France, ranges across North Africa and the Riviera, climbs across the Alps, and ends in Alsace. His focus is the places where French cuisine is inflected by neighboring cultures in Germany, Spain, North Africa, and the rest of the Mediterranean. When he introduces each region, Jackson offers a culinary gazetteer to situate readers before diving into recipes, each of which opens with a headnote. Some of the offerings, such as raw salt cod and tomato salad, are no-recipe recipes, while others (e.g., toro, a Basque fish stew) take much longer to read through and prepare. Not every dish is accompanied by a photo, but those that are feature in clean, simple images.
VERDICT Home cooks probably won’t turn to this for an easy dinner (the pasta and chickpea soup calls for first making homemade pasta), and vegans will find little they can adapt (seek out the minestrone al pesto). But those who love to read cookbooks, even armchair travelers, will find a treasure here, spiked with Jackson’s evocative writing.
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