by Jacques Pepin
Publisher Times Books (December 12, 1976)
ISBN 10: 0812906101
ISBN 13: 978-0812906103
This is a companion volume to Pepin’s La Methode, which I will review in a future installment of Cookbook of the Day. Both volumes can now be purchased in one volume, but I’ll discuss each one separately.
This was the first of the two volumes and it’s exactly as the title describes – all about technique. It starts with holding the knife and finishes with making Cheveaux d’Ange (angel hair). No, angel hair doesn’t refer to pasta, but rather sugar gossamer “angel’s hair” used to decorate elaborate desserts.
There are recipes scattered throughout but only recipes that require use of a technique to accomplish. Filled with step-by-step matter-of-fact black and white photographs, Pepin takes you through the basics of breaking down a chicken, shucking clams and oysters, making terrines, poaching eggs and even folding napkins.
This was one of the first really practical volumes on technique that clearly showed the American chef step-by-step how to replicate the results of the top chefs of the world. It, along with its sister volume, is really a foundation book for any kitchen library. You should pick up the new combined edition if possible, but you can also find the two books in both hardback and paperback in selected used book stores. My copy of La Technique is hardback, while my copy of La Methode is in paperback. I don’t mind at all.
A confetti version of Cheveaux d’Ange – imagine that it’s made of sugar and sits atop some elaborately constructed gateaux.