I would like to thank all my American recipe testers before we even start. My recipes were developed in France and Switzerland, using French ingredients in a French kitchen, with an English-speaking French audience in mind. The difference between a typical French kitchen and a typical American one is enormous.
For example, in a French kitchen, we don’t have measuring cups and measuring spoons. We measure everything by weight and volume. I’ve converted my weight and volume measurements, but I haven’t been able to test them using American methods of measuring.
Another example: the wheat in France is not of the same variety as in the U.S., and though I’m not a baker, I know from experience that French flour doesn’t work to make Southern biscuits. There are many examples like this.
The water content of certain fruit and vegetables is different. In our French Thanksgivings, we have never succeeded in using an American recipe using French pumpkin because the water content of French pumpkin is so high. The pies remain runny no matter what we do. We now make sweet potato pies using American sweet potatoes and it works beautifully.
There are four recipes to test. Here are the links:
Soufflé au comté from the Franche-Comté
Matafans, crêpes from the Franche-Comté
Poulet Vallée d’Auge from Normandy
Blanquette de veau from Normandy
Please keep in mind that I am accustomed to developing recipes for a European audience, so my English might sometimes not comply with American expectations.
So there are a number of ingredients that can differ significantly in terms of density and water content, changing the outcome of the recipe and often requiring different measurements (and sometimes methods) as a result. That is why I need this information for my book proposal for The French and What They Eat:
- Do the measurements work? Should there be more or less of something? Do they comply with American standards (cups, fluid ounces, etc.) that are easy to measure?
- Are there explanations that are not complete enough? What details would you add or delete?
- Is the tone right for an American audience?
- Are any of the ingredients difficult to find where you live (this can depend on the season, of course)? Is there an ingredient you might replace with another one?
- Is there anything that strikes you as so very French that you couldn’t possibly make it in the U.S.?
- Are there any ingredients or recipes that you think Americans wouldn’t like in general, for whatever reason?
- Are there any kitchen utensils or gadgets that you would recommend adding or that most American kitchens don’t have?
- Is the seasoning right?
- Does the text flow? Is it presented in a logical manner?
- Is there anything that shocks you?
- I have not generally mentioned for how many people the recipe is developed because American portions are much larger than French ones. If you could give me your opinion about this, I’d appreciate it.
- Are they too difficult? Are they so difficult that they overwhelm you?
- Are you pleased with the end result? Was it too much work?
- Is the color pleasing? Is the texture pleasing?
- Is the cooking time correct?
- Do you have any other suggestions?