Cover Image: The Hands On French Cookbook

The Hands On French Cookbook

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

VERDICT: The most yummy book I have read this year. Cook and learn French at the same time!
In the introduction, Elisabeth de Châtillon shares about her life and how she got to start her Hands On French business, and the pedagogical vision behind this book, that is, TPR (Total Physical Response), which is basically how you learned your own language.
With all this in mind, the book packs a lot of goodies:
you can learn basic grammar, basic French, especially related to food and cooking, as well as get a nice introduction into French culture and history related to food.

The book is bilingual, with either French and English on odd/even pages, or two parts on the same page. Or even a line by line translation; when it’s the case, the translation is more literal, so you get to understand better the order of words in a French sentence.

The book offers ten recipes. For each of them, you have a page on ingredients, on utensils, on the verbs used in the recipe, and then the recipe itself. The translation is first offered literally, and then in good English. 
The recipe is not fully translated, to encourage you to memorize the words you just saw on the previous page for instance, in the ingredients section. The context makes it easier to remember the words. Then there are ideas and tips, offering variations (plus the last twenty-five pages offer even more variations), so you actually get many more than ten recipes.
The last section of each recipe is cultural, explaining for instance the origin of the quiche.

I am French, so I cannot say I discovered any brand new recipe here, but I can tell you the author is offering a well chosen selection.
I  especially enjoy preparing une quiche sans pâte (crustless quiche), un gratin de pommes de terre (potato gratin), un clafoutis, and I’ll keep my favorite for the final word: la galette des rois !
Was this review helpful?
Pros: I love eating French food, but I’ve always been intimidated by the idea of cooking French food. I found this book to be approachable to cooks of any skill level with its detailed instructions and appreciated that the recipes’ ingredients could be found at any grocery store. 

I didn’t realize when I picked it up that this book was a bilingual cooking book, but that added some extra fun as I’ve been taking French lessons on DuoLingo! I can see this feature being used in French classes when it’s time to study foods and cooking. 

The photographs of the food made everything look incredibly appetizing, and I appreciate having a photo to compare my cooking attempts to. Some of the recipes I want to try immediately are the crustless quiche, the potato gratin, and the chocolate mousse. 

Cons: I did not love the photo/drawing of the feet with a peach—it was jarring to see feet in a cookbook. 

Thank you to NetGalley and Elisabeth de Châtillon for the opportunity to read this book!
Was this review helpful?
This book wasn't what I expected it to be, yet I still enjoyed it! I loved that it gave directions in both French and English, giving people the chance to brush up on their French while also learning to cook. Would recommend to those interested in cooking and languages, or all things French.
Was this review helpful?
As well as being a cookbook, this book is also supposed to be an aid to learning the French language and thus was not what I expected. The idea sounds great but I personally didn't find it worked and this made it difficult for me to read just as a cookbook.
Also as it is a cookbook I was expecting more than ten recipes.
Thanks to netgalley and the publishers for this read.
Was this review helpful?
If ever there was a writer who has taken her readers under her culinary wing it’s de Chatililon . Her biography is impressive. The photos are a real tribute to a sense of culinary style born in the country of less is more and you can do magic. It lets the reader in on a few tips that will let even novices excel.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you to Netgalley for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

My grandfather was a chef and from France so I could not resist this book. A very well written and informative read. Recommended.
Was this review helpful?
An interesting concept: Elisabeth de Chatillon has combined 10 quintessentially French recipes with French language lessons. The recipes themselves look delicious, but I found the dual-language instructions difficult to read. Each line is written in French, followed by an English translation. I don't know how effective this would be for someone wanting to practice their French, and it makes it harder to follow the recipe. Mostly I just ignored the French and read the English. This would have made a great PBS TV series, but as a cookbook it doesn't quite work.
Was this review helpful?
A wonderful book that involves the reader in learning two things at once.  Learning French while learning to cook the French food/way.  For those that want to immerse themselves into a different language and culture this is a wonderful cookbook.  Additionally, I think this would be a fun tool for teachers to use in the language arts.  By teaching to do through language you reinforce the learning skills.  The recipes are all both in French and English in the book. The author has also set-up a website where you can hear the recipes all in French to assist in the annunciation.  There are only ten recipes in total and the categories consist of; Quiches and Crepes  Lentils, Salads, Potato Gratin, Chocolate Mousse and Cakes..  They’re each a good example of French cooking, and can be varied in many ways. And since you’re also here to learn French, you won’t be overwhelmed by a vast number of recipes.  Immersing in another country’s culture is never a straight-line process. If you traveled to France with the goal of learning the language, you would not find the French to be static people, doing nothing but sitting around waiting to teach you a new word or two. No, you’d learn the language while participating in daily life. This cookbook is like that. The author uses what she calls TPR – Total Physical Response. It’s a way to learn French by incorporating specific physical tasks with a French command. This is how each of us gained fluency in our own native languages, after all, through hearing, responding, and doing.

My thanks to author Elisabeth de Châtillon and NetGalley for allowing me to read a digital advance review copy of this book.
Was this review helpful?
Very interesting twist on the French cookery book and French language learning. Thought it worked well and I was able to follow. Read the recipes along with the audio to correct and improve my pronunciation. Can see this working*for families cooking alongside children and generating conversation in French - it was fun. Maybe also  have a a YouTube video alongside it too.
Was this review helpful?
I suppose it was my fault for not reading the book summary thoroughly enough, but I didn't realize this was as much of a language learning book as a cookbook. It was a pleasant surprise though! My experience learning foreign languages leads me to completely agree that learning while doing and immersion are incredibly valuable. This book was a unique opportunity for language learners to give context to vocabulary and lots of good examples and I would recommend it! Merci!
Was this review helpful?
Feeling so-so about this book.  I found it a bit messy by mixing both languages in the same page/same recipe. I was confuse about whether it was a cookbook or a learning book. Was sightly lacking in recipe in my opinion. 
Otherwise I liked the recipe and make me want to try some of them. 

Thank you netgalley and the publisher for this ARC in exchange of an honnest review.
Was this review helpful?

Hi everyone, today I’m back with a new book review and excitingly, this time it’s a cookbook! I cannot explain to you how excited I was as soon as I saw this one on NetGalley. 
I’ve been learning French ever since I was a child, I’ve been to France many times and needless to say I LOVE French cuisine. And I’m not only talking about the luxurious “Michelin” restaurant type of dishes, I also have a deep passion for more classical home-cooked cassoulets, ratatouilles, quiches, haricots verts, vegetables “au gratin” etc. I’ve tried some of these recipes myself, using most commonly used ingredients available here in Turkey and they actually turned out great and my family loved them! So as you can guess, I saw this book as a great opportunity to learn more recipes directly coming from a French person.
What I didn’t know that the book also had a purpose of teaching the French language (which is completely my fault since the fact that this was a bilingual book was indicated in the description but I guessed I missed it from over-excitement) by making the reader repeat the names of certain ingredients, utensils, some actions and verbs. Apparently this is a relatively new technique for language learning known as the “Total Physical Response (TPR)”, aiming to teach the readers by involving them in a process (like cooking and baking in our case) during which they can learn and repeat some words in the foreign language. It’s all explained at the beginning of the book, which is quite different for a cookbook. However, as I could already speak French, I don’t know how effective this would be but the instructions  were very clear all the time, written in a manner easily understandable for new learners. And who knows, maybe repeating the steps each time you make a dish from this recipe book can teach you a thing or two! And if you’re eager to learn, that’s already a great start! For proper French pronunciations, audio versions of the recipes are also available on Mrs. Elisabeth’s website (over here at
What I reeeaaaaly liked about this book however was the flexibility and adaptability of its recipes as it involved many replacements according to seasons, region, eating habits and contained vegetarian, gluten-free, pescatarian and dairy-free options. It had 10 main recipes but considering the other options in the back and possible ingredient replacements, it made them so much more. Every main recipe also had little signs on top indicating whether they were vegetarian, gluten-free… You get the idea.
By the way, I need to say that the photos in this one looked absolutely great and all the dishes seemed mouth-watering and worth a try for future kitchen experiences. Needless to say, this cookbook also had a very sincere and friendly feeling to it: I felt as if I was in the kitchen with Mrs. Elisabeth herself and I’m looking forward to see new recipes from her in the future.
I personally think that this book would be a great gift for an already French-learning person as it would give them the chance to learn so many new verbs and dish/food/ingredient names widely used in the everyday language. (At least, I would’ve benefited from and loved it like 10 years ago when I was trying to learn this level of vocabulary. It would also make me super happy if such a source was available in languages I’m currently trying to learn such as Italian or Spanish.) Connect with French Through Simple, Healthy Cooking (A Unique Book for Learning French Language) by Elisabeth de Châtillon got published this June and is now available for wider audiences, check out your local bookstores if you’re interested!
Was this review helpful?
Is it a recipe book or a learning French book? The great news is that it is both. I love the thought of doing and thinking in French. I bet it works! Classic recipes, well explained. This would be a great gift for a foodie who is planning a trip to France.
Was this review helpful?
I’m afraid this book didn’t do it for me. I usually expect a cookbook to be full of delicious looking photography.   This book doesn’t have that. If however, you want to learn a little French then this book will suit you.  Certainly perfect for my daughter but not for me I’m afraid.
Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for the opportunity to see an arc.
Was this review helpful?
Reading this cookbook made me feel like I was sixteen again and lost for hours in the Paris Metro because I didn’t know the word for exit. SORTIR. I know it now (my Alexa just told me) - but back in the day when no Frenchman would admit to understanding a word of English, my Canadian roommate (shame on her) and this Ohioan hadn’t a clue where we were, nor were we able to communicate our distress to the myriad of disdainful French who couldn’t be bothered with two witless teens, tripping over their tongues and wildly gesticulating with their hands for the way out. Fortunately, I didn’t drink coffee at the age of sixteen, or my gesticulation would have been seriously more frantic.

(OK, it’s true, I’m Canadian too, but I never actually lived in Canada, so no one expects me to know French).

Back to the book. After sorting myself out and trying to get to the heart of these ten (!) recipes, I learned that I could be just as disdainful of the French and they were of my English. Not one of the recipes made me dash into the kitchen and give it a whirl. I found the recipes to be unexciting and the cooking tips to be geared more toward the kitchen novice: (in plain English) Vegetable Quiche, Buckwheat Crepes with Salmon, Lentils, Quinoa Salad, Potatoes Gratin, Chocolate Mousse, Sweet Spelt Crepes, Apricot Clafoutis (baked custard), Yogurt Cake, and Kings’ Galette (edible French Piñata?).

But the gimmick of this cookbook might appeal to those romantics who never travel without Google Translator, were never traumatized by the Paris Metro and, are thus undaunted by the French language. The book is completely bilingual. A French translation follows all of the English texts. If you have a very good ear, you may also learn to convincingly articulate the French, as you can listen to the French recitation of the recipes by the author on her internet site.

Thank you NetGalley and Elisabeth de Châtillon for an ARC of this English/French cookbook in exchange for my honest review. I believe this book will appeal to lovers of both French cooking and the French language alike. The concept is original (the photos and recipes a smidgen less so) and, if you close your eyes, the French narrations of the recipes from the author’s internet site are lovely.
Was this review helpful?
This is a cookbook full of heart! The author combines delicious-looking French recipes with a tutorial of the French language in a way that makes it fun to learn while you are eating. There are many practical tips, innovative substitutions, and history lessons contained in this book. It’s a lot of fun to read and will be even more fun to cook. I agree with a previous reviewer that this would make a great series of cookbooks as I’d love to learn to cook this way in many languages and cultures.
Was this review helpful?
This book was received as an ARC from Elisabeth de Châtillon in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own.

I was immediately intrigued by this book simply because of the decadent delicious dish featured on the cover. Then from reading the book description, Elisabeth provided a link to audio pronunciation and it was very rewarding practicing some French speaking words while reading the cookbook. I appreciated Elisabeth's background and her knowledge she has not only of the language but of course the French food.  I am somewhat familiar of the French style of cooking and how elegant, sophisticated and decadent it can be but I always think about having a high fat and salt content based on recipes from Julia Child. It was refreshing from Elisabeth that French food can be healthy and all of the recipes here in the book. The Hands On French Cookbook will definitely be a future candidate for the cooking demo because the recipes looked easy, decadent and delicious.

We will consider adding this title to our TX Non-Fiction collection at our library. That is why we give this book 5 stars.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you to the publisher, author, and NetGalley for a copy of this cookbook in exchange for honest feedback. This book doubled as a recipe/cooking guide and a French language/cuisine guide. I liked the translations which shows the teaching tools, recipes/food types, etc. It’s also pretty neat that the author included a pronunciation guide on a website that goes along with the book. That is something that always tripped me up when it comes to foreign language / cultural studies books. Pronunciation is a big part of truly understanding concepts, so that’s an important inclusion. I’d suggest this cookbook to those serious about French cuisine or the cultural study of France.
Was this review helpful?
My Review of The Hands on French Cookbook by Elisabeth de Chatillon - 
5 Stars

I've never checked out a book on a specific country's recipes and I'm glad I started with this one! The French have so many different recipes and I can't wait to try some of them! I definitely recommend this book to anyone who is an intermediate chef who wants to try world cuisines.
Was this review helpful?
This is a great idea, and I think could be expanded into a series. This is the perfect gift for someone who wants to combine studying the French language and cooking.
Was this review helpful?