Bistro Cooking at Home (Gordon Hamersley)
French cuisine made easy: Gordon Hamersley's restaurant, Hamersley's Bistro, has been Boston's go-to French joint for decades, making his book exactly the right bistro-cooking introduction for the skeptical American male.
You can hate Frenchmen for taking six-week vacations and politely declining to join our wars, but French technique remains the backbone of every modern culinary education. And while no practical man ought to muddle his brain with the vagaries of French haute cuisine, bistro food is the perfect repertoire to master, the ideal set of basic dishes to commit to memory so you no longer even need to consult a recipe. Low-key and traditional, bistro food is pretty much everything you crave to make and eat anyway: steak and fries, roast chicken, onion soup, braised lamb, grilled fish. And because Hamersley has been serving this stuff for a generation now, his interpretations have exactly the right mix of French flair and American hardiness. [$35; amazon.com]