Picks and Pans Review: Bistro Cooking

updated 12/11/1989 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/11/1989 AT 01:00 AM EST

by Patricia Wells

Brace yourselves, cholesterol counters. And you too, Dracula. Rich dairy products and just-crushed garlic are prime ingredients when it comes to bistro fare, which is best described as simple, rustic, French home cooking served without pretense.

In this friendly little volume, Wells, an American living in Paris and author of The Food Lover's Guide to France, has culled what she considers to be the best in bistro eats. To collect the 200 recipes she offers, Wells poked around restaurant kitchens prying secrets from masters of the genre (then adapting them for Americans) and gathered tips and saucy tales from butchers, bakers and cheese makers she had come to know in her travels.

The book is as unassuming as its recipes, and what Wells's prose sometimes lacks in grace, it makes up for in infectious chitchat. "I love the way the nuts and cheese sort of get captured inside the leaves, making for a lovely burst of flavor when you come upon the trio in a single bite!" Wine suggestions follow most entrées. (Workman, $22.95; paper, $12.95)

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