Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Food: Recipes, cookbook reviews, food notes, and restaurant reviews. Unless otherwise noted, I have personally tried each recipe that gets its own page, but not necessarily recipes listed as part of a cookbook review.

Mimsy Review: French Cooking Simplified With a Food Processor

Reviewed by Jerry Stratton, October 9, 1999

Review of French Cooking Simplified With a Food Processor, with a recipe for Carrot Soup.

AuthorsRuth Howse, Rik Olson
Publisher101 Productions
Length144 pages
Book Rating5

This is less a list of recipes “simplified” by use of a food processor, then recipes that require the use of one (although for many, a grinder or blender will also do). It also includes recipes that require chopped and sliced vegetables. Obviously, here the slicer and chopper blades in your food processor will simplify things. Of course, a v-slicer will also do for slicing, possibly much cheaper, and a good knife—necessary in any case for pre-sizing chunks for the processor—will also make chopping easier if you don’t have a food processor.

The “Hors d’Oeuvres” chapter begins with Stuffed Mushrooms and Snails in Garlic Butter. The processor simplifies the mushrooms by finely chopping the shroom stems and shallots, and mincing the parsley. For the Snails (“Escargots”), it minces the garlic, shallots, and parsley. Both of these recipes are a bit fiddly, food processor or not: you end up stuffing each mushroom or snail. The Snails are definitely worthwhile if you can find a good source for them. But if you put that much garlic and butter on anything, it’ll taste great!

There is a small soup section—most of the soups are actually under the appropriate ‘meat’ or ‘vegetable’ section. Potato soup, lettuce soup, carrot soup (see below), spinach soup, bean soup, and salmon bisque are among the high points of this chapter. The seafood chapter starts out strong with “Sea Scallops in White Wine Sauce”, a buttery, creamy sauce for scallops or shrimp. Many of these recipes (and in the other chapters) use pastries or crusts of some kind to encase the dish.

The poultry and meat chapters contain good recipes. If I have any complaint about them, they aren’t really that ‘different’. They’re just standard recipes that tell you to use the food processor to slice and dice. Well, that’s nice, but I could figure that out myself.

There are some good purees in the vegetable section: grean bean, lima bean, broccoli (now there’s a way to disguise broccoli: puree it). Plus some recipes for normal vegetable dishes.

Perhaps the best section, as far as the purpose of the book is concerned, is the “breads and desserts” section. Here, you are making bread in a different way: you’re using the food processor to knead the dough as well as mix the dough. Mixing and kneading cakes and breads and pie crusts is not the same in a food processor than by hand. It really is much easier, and there are some useful, seemingly minor differences in techniques that can make a big difference.

Finally, as in any French cookbook, there is an entire section on sauces and the basics of stockmaking.

To be honest, I picked this book up on the strength of another book from the same publisher (101 Productions), “A Russian Jew Cooks in Peru”. Also, I liked the woodcut-style illustrations on the cover and inside, by Rik Olson. It’s an okay book, but not great. It definitely doesn’t live up to the promise of its colleague, nor its illustrations.

Potage Carottes

  • ½ pound carrots,
  • 1 onion,
  • 6 tblsp butter,
  • 3 tblsp uncooked rice,
  • 4 cups chicken stock,
  • 1 sprig thyme,
  • ½ tsp salt,
  • ⅛ tsp pepper.
  1. Slice carrots and onion in processor.
  2. Melt 4 tblsp butter in saucepan.
  3. Add carrots and onion.
  4. Cover and simmer 5 minutes.
  5. Add remaining ingredients (except butter).
  6. Simmer 30 minutes.
  7. Discard sprig of thyme.
  8. Process soup in two batches till smooth.
  9. Return to saucepan, heat, and add remaining 2 tblsp of butter.

French Cooking Simplified With a Food Processor

Ruth Howse, Rik Olson

My cost: $0.50

Recommendation: Special Interests Only

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