14 books directly related to French cuisine 📚

All 14 French cuisine books as recommended by authors and experts. Updated weekly.

The Cooking of South West France

By Paula Wolfert,

Book cover of The Cooking of South West France

Why this book?

Wolfert made her name with her book Couscous and Other Food of Morocco, first published in 1973. This groundbreaking book was not only the first time an American writer’s topic was North African food but Wolfert explored for the first time its culinary anthropology. This book on southwest France might even be better than her couscous book. Its depth of understanding and explanation is amazing. Its thoroughness is unparalleled. Its fastidiousness might annoy some readers, but one will never claim there wasn’t enough detail. Follow this book and you will be able to make confit de canard to use in your equally authentic cassoulet of southwest France.

French Provincial Cooking

By Elizabeth David,

Book cover of French Provincial Cooking

Why this book?

David was one of the most famous food writers in post-World War II Europe and she introduced English readers to the cuisine that exists beyond the celebrated kitchens of the top chefs of Paris. Although the recipes are written in a more abbreviated style than one sees today, her personable stories enliven the dishes she includes so you the reader will excitedly jump right to the kitchen and get cooking.

Monet's Table: The Cooking Journals of Claude Monet

By Claire Joyes,

Book cover of Monet's Table: The Cooking Journals of Claude Monet

Why this book?

A famous painter’s cookbook? If you didn’t think artists eat, think again, and start by Googling images of Monet’s kitchen at his house in Giverny. (I said eat, not cook.) Written by the wife of Madame Monet’s great-grandson, this book offers you beautiful photographs of this artwork along with diary accounts of his family life and an opportunity to understand one of the great Impressionist artists through the dishes that his wife and family prepared, including his favorite, richly green-hued pistachio cake. 

French Pastry 101: Learn the Art of Classic Baking with 60 Beginner-Friendly Recipes

By Betty Hung,

Book cover of French Pastry 101: Learn the Art of Classic Baking with 60 Beginner-Friendly Recipes

Why this book?

My apprentice, Betty Hung, who eventually inherited the bakery I founded, has written an award-winning recipe book on French pastries. It’s wonderfully photographed, well-tested and informative. I am always proud to see her create with such precision and success.

The Cooking of Provincial France

By Mark Kauffman, M.F.K. Fisher,

Book cover of The Cooking of Provincial France

Why this book?

The Time-Life Foods of the World series first published in the 1960s is hands down, to this day, the best books on the various cuisines of the world. Every book in the series is top-notch but the one on provincial French cooking was edited by the famous food writer M. F. K. Fisher. The book, as all in the series, is not written from a chef's point of view, but for the home cook. The recipes are classics and easily do-able by an even slightly competent home cook. They were originally sold as a box set consisting of a large book of text with several recipes and alluring photographs and a smaller spiral-bound book of recipes.

French Regional Cooking

By Anne Willan,

Book cover of French Regional Cooking

Why this book?

Willan is an Englishwoman who lived most of her life in France where she founded and ran the École de Cuisine La Varenne, in Paris and Burgundy. All her books are great, but this book is superlative, and I would put it in the same ranks as the Time-Life book. Its depth of knowledge and breadth is wonderful and there is much to explore and learn. The recipes are gems and work every time.

Mourjou: The Life and Food of an Auvergne Village

By Peter Graham,

Book cover of Mourjou: The Life and Food of an Auvergne Village

Why this book?

Few visitors to France venture to the Auvergne, the sparsely populated, south-central region where until recently most of the now-aging population still spoke the medieval language known as Occitan. Englishman Peter Graham moved there in 1978 and became captivated with the land and its inhabitants. Mourjou communicates his love for this little-known region and its hearty food. Graham collected extraordinary recipes that can't be found in other books about French food (an eggy pudding made with buckwheat flour, ham, Swiss chard, and prunes; a charlotte made with chestnut flour, chestnut cream, pumpkin, and quince). He intersperses recipes with beautifully crafted essays that dive deep into the region's history and culture, chronicling a way of life that is rapidly disappearing.

The Apprentice: My Life in the Kitchen

By Jacques Pépin,

Book cover of The Apprentice: My Life in the Kitchen

Why this book?

This is the heartwarming and inspiring story of the journey a great chef took from serving as a lowly apprentice to becoming a leader in establishing new food traditions in America. I especially enjoyed the many funny stories about Pepin and his family. Warning: the book includes many of his favorite recipes that will cause hunger pangs as you read the book. 

Traditional Recipes of the Provinces of France

By Maurice Edmond Sailland,

Book cover of Traditional Recipes of the Provinces of France

Why this book?

Better known by his pen-name Curnonsky, Maurice Edmond Sailland, was called the Prince of Gastronomy and was the most celebrated writer on gastronomy in France in the 20th century. Notice I say writer on gastronomy and not most famous chef or most famous cookbook author. What Curnonsky did was write about the whys and wherefores of the great provincial cuisines of France. If you think you know something about provincial French cuisine, Curnonsky will enlighten you with his explorations into the culture and geography of these various regions. The recipes in some cases will be unfamiliar and archaic, although no less delicious. The book is a gem.

The Gastronomical Me

By M.F.K. Fisher,

Book cover of The Gastronomical Me

Why this book?

To call Fisher merely a food writer is to miss out on one of the most provocative essayists of the 20th century. This exploration of her departure from American life to live in Dijon, France, is a celebration of what it means to be truly engaged in one’s own story. For those with ravenous appetites for not just food, but the stuff of life.

My Place At The Table: A Recipe for a Delicious Life in Paris

By Alexander Lobrano,

Book cover of My Place At The Table: A Recipe for a Delicious Life in Paris

Why this book?

This was a gift from a friend, and I absolutely love it. From the jacket copy: “It is the riveting portrait of a gay man struggling to overcome the reverberating shame and guilt of a long-buried childhood secret.” On the very first page he includes his ode to a sandwich, written when he was a child. It starts: "The BLT is the most perfect sandwich. The bacon brings it salt and the rich taste of pork. The tomato is sweet and juicy…”  Labrano eventually became a famous food critic, and his memoir is peppered with fabulous descriptions of food and wine. His description of a dinner in Val-les-Bains in the Ardèche region of France is downright inspiring. A great read!

A Kitchen in France: A Year of Cooking in My Farmhouse: A Cookbook

By Mimi Thorisson,

Book cover of A Kitchen in France: A Year of Cooking in My Farmhouse: A Cookbook

Why this book?

If you like to cook and love France this book with its wonderful photography is also a coffee table book. Just looking through it will transport you to the French countryside where I lived and worked and adore. The recipes are not convoluted and are simple and delicious.

The Cookbook that Changed the World: The Origins of Modern Cuisine

By T. Sarah Peterson,

Book cover of The Cookbook that Changed the World: The Origins of Modern Cuisine

Why this book?

This book is about the early modern cooking revolution. Basing her investigation on a ground-breaking recipe book from 1651, Peterson examines the fundamental shift in European food tastes from the medieval preference for fragrant, heavily spiced dishes that combined sweet and savoury to the salt-acid followed by sweet that forms the basis of modern European cookery. This book was not written for an academic audience, so although it is well-informed it is not a demanding read for non-experts. The book contains a few recipes that are worth trying, and as a whole it’s a colourful and compelling story.

The Table Comes First: Family, France, and the Meaning of Food

By Adam Gopnik,

Book cover of The Table Comes First: Family, France, and the Meaning of Food

Why this book?

Adam Gopnik’s book, The Table Comes First: Family, France and the Meaning of Food has it all: essays on the history of restaurants, followed by second on taste, then come the recipes (a stellar one on leg of lamb prepared with bacon and anchovies, saffron and cinnamon), and finally, in Chapter Ten, an essay on wine that is a far cry from the plethora of books on “how to taste.” It calls wine what it is, alcohol, and talks about why it makes us happy. I downloaded this book onto my Kindle a long time ago, and writing about it reminds me to purchase a hard copy of the book in order to place It on my shelf next to Gopnik’s book, Paris to the Moon, written way back in 1995, which is about the year he and his wife and infant son spent in Paris, with great stories about tasting French cuisine.