One of the other reviewers noted DeGroot's gift for description, and was amazed when he learned that deGroot was blind. I, who knew he was blind before I read the book, was also amazed and continue to be -- though there are telltale clues throughout, as, for example, when he describes eau de vie de prune as deep purple in color. Not in his lifetime or mine: it is clear as water...it simply tastes dark purple. But no matter about DeGroot's blindness or occasional factual slips; this is one of the greatest (and oddest) cookbooks in English, one of the very few to sit comfortably on a shelf with the works of Madelaine Kamman, Elizabeth David, Richard Olney, and MFK Fisher. Like the best works of those other authors, this is fundamentally a book about life-well-lived, not merely about cooking, eating and drinking. Nonetheless, the recipes work well and the stories behind them provide more than enough context and inspiration to pursuade you to try them. The oddness comes from the fairy-tale atmosphere DeGroot creates and maintains throughout. The mysterious old inn (no longer extant, of course) in the village at the top of the alpine valley could almost have come from the Brothers Grimm -- except there are no evil witches, just two kindly and aging lesbians, and the cauldron in the kitchen is not bubbling over with unspeakables. I have been cooking seriously for thirty years, have taught cooking in Parisand other places, and have been the executive chef of a Michelin rated restaurant in London (I'm now a lawyer and business consultant in California). In my restaurant in London (6 Clarendon Road, W11, now run by my friend and grand gourmand, Paul Fisher) I gave a copy to all the senior cooks, and insisted that they read it -- not for the recipes specifically, but for the wonderment, dedication and attention to detail I felt sure it would inspire. It did. Truly, a not-to-missed book.