Paperbacks: Madeleines in Manhattan, By Colette Rossant

Bloomsbury £6.99
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It is unsurprising that the author, brought up in Cairo and Paris, found the food "baffling" on moving to New York in 1955. Her account of utilising local ingredients in an idiosyncratic version of French cuisine makes an appetising read, though the recipes are inexplicably unindexed. The best parts of this book describe life in pre-yuppified downtown, when each district boasted a distinctive ethnic cuisine. Rossant is no Proust in the Style Dept., but her anecdotes provide plenty of interest, such as Paul Bocuse congratulating a McDonald's chef for "les meilleures frites que j'ai jamais mangées".