One of my favorite cookbooks is French Feasts, a cookbook by a French chef by the name of Stephane Reynaud. The interesting thing about this tome is that its so…vague. Yes, there are ingredients and directions…sorta. More than one recipe I’ve followed has given…direction, but more like ‘salt and pepper’ or ‘cook till its done’.

Which, essentially, is perfect for me.

It says ‘yellow pepper’ but only later does he indicate that it should be in strips as one reads on–and really, one has to apply both logic and cooking experience to interpret some of these recipes where the closest direction you can rely on is ‘Go north’…so hope for the best.

In any case, it wasn’t the recipes that initially piqued my interest…it was the photography–stunning, mouth-watering food that had me drooling in the aisle of the bookstore. I ended up buying the book defiantly on Amazon for the slight a corporate drone clerk once delivered to me for sitting in the aisle to browse a book; “You’re blocking the way, sir. I’m afraid you’ll have to get up.

Seriously?” I respond, considering how little impact my Indian-style cross-legged squat does to ‘block the way’.

It’s the fire code, sir,” she says, perhaps thinking that the code’s restrictions are more heinous than her actually enforcing this rule. So I move my tuchus and informally resolve to never buy a book in this large, last remaining bookstore chain ever again.

I’ll restrict myself, speaking thereof, to small bookstores and Amazon then, I tell myself. I will continue to occasionally browse in this vast emporium, and use my camera phone to take pics of books I’m interested in and take my business elsewhere. There are no fire codes on the Internet, at least.

Ma Tartine de Sardine is a delicious melange of vegetables, and worth the work– roasting yellow peppers and spring onion bulbs, julienning radishes and mincing shallots and mixing them with butter and salt, and toasting bread. Spread the shallot and radish mixture on the toasted bread, add your tinned sardines, and cover with the roasted veggies, sun-dried tomatoes, and a sprinkling of fresh dill. Serve.

Then watch as your wife notices the alarming CRUNCH as you take your first bite…and immediately scrapes everything off onto an untoasted piece of bread, then exclaim its a keeper (my dear one doesn’t care for overly toasted bread as it scrapes against her delicate gums–one more process to add to THE LIST).

Along with a nice, simple green salad of butter lettuce and julienned slices of gruyere with a hazelnut/red wine vinegar and mustard dressing (unfortunately also including grape tomatoes my wife’s palate deemed unacceptable and who knows, I think she’s right), a nice Sunday evening dinner with a chilled red.