For those who are familiar with French and who enjoy making pastry The French Words to Say it: Pastry Making is a brilliant concept. Not only are there 30 tasty French dessert recipes—from marble cake (marbre) to the Yule log (buche de Noel) aniseed cookies (biscuits a l’anis) to crepe Suzette—but concise and topical lessons in the French language.
It should be known that this book is intended for intermediate speakers so readers who have never had a French class or have not had one in a very long time might want to start out with one of Gabrielle Guichard’s beginning language books. The recipes in Pastry Making are presented in English with their French translations on the facing page. Most of the recipes also come with a little lesson on a French verb used in the recipe as well as exercises using the recipes as models to help readers learn how to conjugate the verbs.
The theory behind the book is that it is easier to learn a foreign language in a real-life situation rather than from a class or a traditional grammar book. Other books written by Guichard tackle words dealing with religion and romance: topics that if are of particular interest to readers could help them learn the special vocabulary more quickly and easily than they would by memorizing word lists.
For those who don’t know much about the French language this book could be quite useful as an inexpensive French pastry cookbook. Most of the recipes are straightforward and include only easy-to-find items. Readers will learn how to make tarts éclairs shortbread cakes and doughnuts. It’s the perfect book for helping someone make a dessert spread for Bastille Day or a French-themed dinner party. It would have been nice to have had more discussion of the French pantry or the specialty items that American home cooks might not be familiar with such as potato flour and vanilla sugar alongside the language exercises.
Readers who don’t know enough of the language to comprehend the exercises will still get much out of The French Words to Say it: Pastry Making. Since the last two recipes are only in French readers might be compelled to learn more to uncover les secrets fran&231;ais de cuisine.