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4.6 out of 5 stars55
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 27 November 2008
Having lived in France, I have long tried to find an authentic recipe book that captured that French 'difference' in its cooking. I could never understand the secret of why meals made in France tasted so different to English recipes.

And god knows I have tried many recipes books from people who claim to be writing 'authentic' recipes! - from Rick Stein (who is not bad, admittedly) to the awful 'French Leave' from John Burton Rice. My home is littered with discarded recipe books, that have been tossed aside in frustration.

Ripailles is the first one I have tried that shocked me when I served up the meal. It was like a different cook had been let loose in the kitchen! I haven't tried any of the more exotic meat recipes, but some of the more standard recipes - eg the 'braised beef with carrots' tasted fabulous and made me feel I had landed in Granny Leroux's farm kitchen in Provence, surrounded by all her family.

There is a good range of recipes - they go from simple soups/lunches like:
'potage cultivateur' (farmer's vegetable soup)
'garbure' (gascon cabbage and vegetable soup)
'oeuf cocotte au roquefort' (baked egg with roquefort cheese)

to standard meals:
'épauloe farcie' (stuffed lamb shoulder)
'rôti de cochon tout simplement' (roast pork, pure and simple)
'canard à l'orange' (duck à l'orange)
'moules marinières' (steamed mussels in white wine)

to more exotic sounding stuff:
'civet de sanglier acidulé' (Jugged boar in a sharp sauce)
'rouille du pêcheur' (stewed octopus with rouille sauce)

And yes, there's recipes for frogs' legs and snails... There's also a sugar section with recipes for eg brioche, mille-feuilles, profiteroles, flourless chocolate cake, crème brulée - and Galette des rois (Epiphany cake), to name but a few.

There really is a good choice of traditional cooking, and the book is beautifully illustrated. There is a lot of humour too in the book, it's quite quirky (eg one recipe instruction is 'buy a stone cottage in France and build a bbq'. I wasn't too keen on that part, but I guess that's just a personal thing. I also wasn't too keen on the inclusion of the occasional musical score/French tune, which is part of the equally quirky regional/background text. I think I would have preferred more recipes.

The only other gripe I had is that sometimes the recipes are so simple, the novice cook (like me) who wants to be lead by the hand could be a bit disconcerted by the vagueness/freedom, but it's still a wonderful book. At the price on Amazon it's a bargain, so I'll definitely be giving a few away for Xmas.
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on 9 October 2008
I've just bought this book and have spent the last 2 hours pouring over the amazing photography, quirky drawings and huge array of recipes. If you love French cookery, the French way of life and want to have a go at recreating their unique style - this book will show you the way. Some of the French to English translations are a bit eccentric but it all adds to the charm of this mouthwatering encylopeadia of traditional French cookery. Forget all the celebrity nonsense from TV chefs, Stephane Reynaud could easily give Gordon Ramsay and his counterparts a run for their Euros. Nearly 500 pages of fantastic recipes. Charming, eccentric but also highly accessible. Francophiles and foodies will not be disappointed. Comes with charming gingham material bookmark.
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on 3 February 2009
This book was the best present my son has ever given me. Having retired to eastern France I was delighted to find recipes for local specialities and between them articles illustrations and explanations which convey the author's love of France and his passion for French food, from cultivation to consumption. The only drawback is that each time I refer to it for a recipe I spend half an hour reading further and enjoying it more. There is none of the usual pretentious nonsense: this is about good food prepared with love.
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on 12 May 2009
I bought this book for my boyfriend after seeing it in a book store where I immediately found it very intriguing and impressive looking.
First of all, the book itself is a little work of (cooking) art; it is big, the cover feels really nice and luxurious while handling the book and the illustrations inside are both quirky and funny. It almost have a 'I-have-been-just-putting-my-favourite-recipes-places-to-eat-and-anecdotes-together-for-years' feel to it so it looks like a very private collection of the best of France and it's full of character.
What I find the best bit is that majority of the recipes are very simple, yet using quality produce and some relatively unknown ingredients or ingredients which I haven't seen being used in a recipe for years. I admit I don't know much about French cuisine but it strikes me as very delicate yet has homely feel to it (maybe because we used to eat marrow bone or tripe when I was a child:)) The pictures are very helpful as one can see what the end result is supposed to look like so it makes it all easier to decide which recipes to try out first.
My boyfriend loved the book and said it is most likely the best cook book he's ever seen and believe me, we have a full cabinet of them. He was especially intrigued by the 'egg chapter' which focused on cooking methods of eggs and had very charming recipes for soldiers to dip to your egg (with onions and comte cheese or sheep's cheese and chilli pepper).
As for myself, I absolutely love the desserts chapter as all of the recipes are really simple yet delicious ( I have made Clafoutis with cherries) and I cannot wait to try bake most of them, although I have always been scared of baking and only did my first attempt on it last Christmas.
Overall, I believe this is a book worth the buy, even if you decide to cook only a fraction of the recipes, it still is a stand out piece in our cabinet and actually makes a nice relaxing read as well.
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on 26 November 2008
I just got Ripailles as a gift for my birthday and I am amazed by the beautiful photos, funny illustrations and great recipes. It will probably be one of my favourite books to refer to. It has everything from foie gras to creme brulee, and interesting info about everything :) I give four stars, because there was something i was missing in the book - some good french bread recipes. But otherwise - buy it or wish it, you won't regret!
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on 17 May 2010
This book blew me away, I've bought many French cook books in the past being obsessed with the divine food the French enjoy daily & getting downright miserable with the poor quality long-life mass produced garbage we are expected to put up with in this country. Each time I have lavished over the pictures but got downhearted with the sheer impracticality of half of the recipes being very time consuming for someone who works full time. HOWEVER Ripailles changes all of that. It is brimming with amazing recipes which are authentic, practical (anyone could make them)ok some are challenging but not impossible and each time they turn out restaurant quality food. Cooking from Stephane's repertoire is a sheer joy, his writing style is easy to understand and humorous, the book is beautifully laid out & illustrations and photos are great and there is something in here for everyone, from salad, to gateau, to roasts to breads. Un-missable, if you are serious about French cooling you have to get your hands on this book. Even if you don't cook this is great to flick through on the coffee table.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 8 February 2012
Ripailles is a translation from the original French book by Stephane Raynaud. So its no wonder it feels like an authentic French cookbook. Its contains mouthwatering pictures of French recipes both new and old. There is no focus on a particular aspect. Rather this covers the length and breadth. Its not encyclopedic in its coverage (look elsewhere for that in I Know How To Cook or Larousse for example). But it does have enough there to keep you cooking.

The first, most important, success of this book is that the recipe's work. Turkey Stuffed With Good Things lived up to its name for example and there are many more I have tried and loved. Its easy to follow and each recipe comes with a wine suggestion - fab.
Its also shot through with humour throughout. Moo, Baa, Oink is the title of the meat section for example. There is sheet music in here and portraits of people, shops and restaurants that Reynaud appreciates. Its also practical with charts for vegetables and when they are in season, regional wine lists, cuts of meat illustrations, egg advice and more. Its got a two page cartoon on the different sizes of Champagne bottle for example.

This is a book I fell in love with when I bought it and come back to when I want to cook something new. I have bought Raynaud's other books (except Pork and Sons for some reason) on the basis of it and not been disappointed. However, this is my favourite.
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on 18 March 2010
I adore this book so much! It really jumped out at me - I was particularly intrigued by the fact that I'd never heard of the author before, but flicking through the book filled me with more inspiration than any of the celebrity chef books I own. The photography is stunning - everything looks mouth-wateringly good - the recipes are easy to follow and very very French! A lot of chapters on meat and innards, maybe not so great for the vegetarians out there, but the recipes are hearty, warming, rich and charming. I just love the character of this book - it's more than a recipe book, it's about the heart and soul of French cooking and the culture behind it. Really magical, and really worth every penny. Screw you celebrity chefs! The best recipe books are written by French nobodies.
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VINE VOICEon 3 November 2010
I think this is one of my favourite food books. It has a warmth that just embraces me every time I open it.

The presentation is just brilliant - the hand-written/hand-drawn elements help create a personal relationship between the reader, the cook and the food.

The range of recipes suits me perfectly - lots of good ideas to cook and plenty more to inspire you to create your own variations on a theme.

In many ways it could just be a great coffee table book - but it is one I do turn to for inspiration and help with classic French dishes - as well as a few new twists.

I love the quirky translation which is just wrong enough to make it feel authentic!

I cannot praise this fascinating book enough.
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on 30 November 2008
So I took this book into work to show the other chefs along with my newly aquired copy of Alinea by Grant Achatz, Wondering which would be the most popular.

I'm sure ripailles has turned out better although the photography and the content is better in Alinea, You probably would never be able to make anything from this book, And that is where ripailles wins you could make every recipe in it without too many problems and the photography fits in nicely with the French rustic food.

So I will definitely try some of these recipes! One other reason to buy it is it only cost's £10.00 from Amazon at the moment (nov 08) and it has the most amazing cover on it which is padded, Thats what made me want it when I first saw it in the bookshop.
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