Would you like some vegetables again?
Our colleagues from Paris Match met Gabrielle Coppée and Amélie Gersdorff on the occasion of the release of their first book, “A Table les Amours”. Interview.
Several cookbooks are coming out right now. How is this one different?
Gabrielle Coppée. It is different because it is also dedicated to those who do not usually buy it. We wanted a book that speaks to our generation of fathers and mothers between 40 and 50 who juggle with time. I love cooking, but most people around me don’t. And yet, we can do creative, healthy, happy, and tasty things without being too basic.
A work done for two. What is the contribution of both?
GC This book combines everything I love. For the first time in eleven years, I was my own client. I made all the recipes, wrote the texts and took all the photos with great aesthetic attention. A real challenge! Amélie revisited the whole from a nutritional point of view and we worked in tandem to offer dishes as balanced as they are gourmet.
Amélie Gersdorff. What is good about this adventure is that we are complementary. My training in psychology and nutritherapy at Cerden in Brussels and in Paris with Jean-Paul Curtay, like that in integrative nutrition in the United States, allowed me to validate the recipes at the nutritional level, but also to bring a – emotional value.
A word on integrative nutrition for dummies?
AG The basic principle is that we eat what we have on our plate, but also everything that revolves around it. Food is a pillar, but inseparable from the other pillars, namely our relationships, our work, our social environment, our creativity, our spirituality, etc. So, it’s better to eat a pizza laughing and having a good time with the family than to gulp down and force yourself a big bowl of steamed vegetables. It is in this perspective that the book wanted to be very lively, very dynamic.
What is the pitch?
GC This is a cookbook and not a cookbook! It combines simple and easy-to-access dishes for those who don’t have a cupboard exploding under ingredients and spices, but still out of the ordinary, and at the same time combines everything that allows you to cook greedy without being a chef. The idea is to do things yourself and make do with what you have.
How is the book structured?
GC I started with a question: what are we looking for? A vegetarian dish? Express cuisine? With the children? In this section, you will find dishes taken from the “best of” of my boys and their friends who often invade my kitchen, but also tips for cooking with them or encouraging them to eat more vegetables. We also focused on what interested people, such as the five most used cereals or herbs, explaining how to use them. There are no ingredients that are very expensive or that require special culinary knowledge, it is accessible to all levels.
You speak of an “ecological and sanitary alarm bell which has shaken the conscience” and led you to favor vegetables.
AG It is true that, in our kitchens, they serve more as an accompaniment. We wanted to reverse this trend and say that today, vegetables are no longer there to decorate. If we could already put them back in the center of the plate, it would be a wonderful step forward for everyone, if only with regard to the diseases of our civilization such as diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular problems, etc. Our role has been to make it something gourmet by highlighting the seasons and the local side.
The angry question: can we therefore speak of a women’s kitchen?
GC Precisely, we wanted to get out of there. This is not a salad dressing book. The gluttony is really present and the vegetables take part in it in a generous and crispy way. Among the people who trained me, there is my father and many male colleagues and restaurateurs. It is therefore not a question of men or women, but of tasteful cuisine.
Organic… or not organic? To use the title of one of the chapters.
AG We didn’t want to make it an obligation because not everyone can take advantage of it. Dietary changes take time and if you want them to last, they need to be enjoyable and convenient. We started with the way we eat today. This book is aimed at people who are caught up in the jungle of everyday life, but feel concerned and have the ambition to go towards a more ideal diet without it being too complicated.
World cuisine is very present. A way to expand the repertoire?
GC It allows you to get out of classic recipes and offer more creative things. With children, we are very curious and greedy. We go around the markets, we ask a lot of questions to people we meet and we try dishes. Often world cuisine is difficult to achieve once we get home and so I have tried to adapt the recipes to our everyday ingredients. If a Lebanese tastes my arayes, he may be surprised by the free interpretation!
You also speak of contemporary cuisine. What exactly do you mean by that?
GC She is at the crossroads between extremely simple cooking – meat, potatoes, vegetables – and foodista cooking. We must also stop believing that because we eat broccoli and grape juice, we will be in great shape. Common sense is to cook what you like and try to eat what is best for you.
Your favorite vegetable?
GC Cauliflower. I like it cooked, roasted, raw and grated because I mix it, neither seen nor known, with all minced meats.
AG The artichoke, because I find it funny, festive, fun to eat. I associate it with the arrival of sunny days and, from a nutritional point of view, it is very interesting.
Your favourite meal ?
GC Cauliflower butter chicken.
AG The one I do most often is the lentil dahl. It’s easy, delicious, nutritionally very interesting and you can adapt it to your liking by adding, for example, chicken. This is also the secret of this book: no recipe is fixed. NOT
An answer in two seconds to all questions
It’s a cookbook today: simple, balanced, effective and tasty. Vegetable-based, but not only: there is also meat, fries and sauces. Without words difficult to understand and with a multitude of tips in zapping mode. How to prepare a kale salad? Which cooking to choose? How to save time in the kitchen? Or, eternal ranting, how to establish a menu for the week? And even, what to do when the fridge is empty? In short, an answer in two seconds to all the questions we commonly ask ourselves. Children are involved, with tips on how to get them to eat or prepare vegetables. Funny and easy to handle, it also includes playlists to listen to while cooking, workshops and a few films to watch with the family. A book that exudes dynamism and conviviality so well that it should very quickly attract many addicts.
A Table Les Amours (ed. Soliflor, 224 pages, 29 euros).
Available from November 25 in bookstores and on Soliflor