Meeting Clotilde Dusoulier

 Clotilde Dosoulier

Although a renowned cookbook author, Clotilde Dusoulier is probably more well-known for her very popular blog: Chocolate and Zucchini. Based in Paris, her blog has a French twist. And why the curious name? "It is a good metaphor for my cooking style: the zucchini illustrates my focus on healthy and natural eating: fresh produce, artisan goods, and a preference for organic and local ingredients. And the chocolate represents my decidedly marked taste for baking in general, and chocolate in particular."

With her blog writing experience it was only natural that she would began to write cookbooks. Her third book, and most recent, is The French Market Cookbook: Vegetarian Recipes from My Parisian Kitchen.  (And, generously, she has offered three copies of her book to EYB members. Check out how to win a copy here.)

We asked her about her inspiration for writing a vegetarian book, although she isn't a practicing vegetarian:

"If you had told my twelve-year-old self that she would one day publish a cookbook focused on vegetables, she would have have looked at you and scoffed. ("N'importe quoi," she would probably have said.)

For one thing, I wanted to be an actress, and didn't even know food writer was a profession. But more important, I was not a particularly vegetable-loving child. There were a few that I enjoyed - zucchini, tomatoes, cauliflower, corn from a can - and many that I didn't - spinach, lettuce, endives, turnips, cabbage, Broccoli sprouts… the list went on.

I did grow up in a home where seasonal vegetables were featured front and center in our daily meals, cooked fresh by my mother, but I often ate them out of daughterly duty.

It's not until my early twenties, when I left my parents' home in Paris and moved to California after graduating from college, that a real relationship of love and trust developed between me and my vegetables.

All of a sudden, I was responsible for my own meals, and because I'd been brought up with vegetables as the foundation of my diet, I spent a lot of time exploring the produce aisle at the grocery store and the many stands at my local farmers market, to see what I could buy and cook.

Tentatively at first, then with growing enthusiasm, I proceeded to taste my way through the list of vegetables I thought I didn't like. The challenge was this: I would pick a bunch of, say, turnips, bring them home, and try to find and execute a recipe that would bring out the best in them. And I was thrilled to discover that my vegetable comfort zone kept expanding with every new experiment. This was it! I was becoming a grown-up!

Thirteen years later, the love story continues, and is even more passionate now: In my late twenties I started to get interested in the environmental and ethical consequences of the food choices we make, and naturally decided to opt for a diet that is mostly plant-based.

This has given me many opportunities to build and develop a repertoire of seasonal vegetarian dishes that are fresh, colorful, and satisfying, and it is the best of those recipes that I share in my new book, The French Market Cookbook.

Some are personal creations, others are inspired by my research into the lesser-known regional cuisines of France, and others still are adapted from memorable dishes cooked by chefs in Paris and beyond. All aim at presenting vegetables, from the most humble to the most sought after, in the best possible light, so we can all make the most of the seasonal gems we find at the market - and reevaluate if need be."

The French Market Cookbook





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