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Tag Archives: French cuisine

Cookbook of the day – Le Répertoire de La Cuisine

Le Repertoire

Repertoire de La Cuisine, Le: A Guide to Fine Foods

byLouis Saulnier

  • Publisher Barron’s Educational Series (December 31, 1977)
  • ISBN 10: 0812051084
  • ISBN 13: 978-0812051087
  • I found this handy little volume yesterday in my local used bookstore. I suspect that it’s going to prove handy as a reference in the future.

    It assumes that you know how to do certain things like poaching, reducing, masking, etc.  Quantities aren’t listed and the reader is on his or her own in determining how much of something to add to the “recipes” or determining cooking times or order of cooking, which are along the lines of Escoffier. As Jacques Pépin points out in the preface, “The professional chef will use the Répertoire mostly as an aide mémoire (reminder) to find out the necessary ingredients for a garnish, as well as to get the correct spellings for different proper names and names of dishes”. he goes on to point out that amateurs can also use the “pamphlet” to “clarify confusion” and simplify the organization of a menu.

    Whether you need the definition of ancienne (“small braised onions without colouring”) or come across a reference to “Turtles Baltimore” (“cooked pieces of turtle, tossed in nut brown cooked butter, dressed in cocotte, with the thickened gravy, and a glass of Xérès wine”), this book covers the gamut of esoteric and obscure French cooking terms. If you’d like to do filets mignons marly, you’ll quickly discover that it’s filets cooked in butter, coated with madeira half-glaze and garnished with artichoke bottoms filled with carrot balls. You’ll find it quickly because each main ingredient is followed with a multitude of preparations.

    This is a small format book (hence the use of the word “pamphlet” in the preface) and is a handy helpful adjunct to Escoffier.

    If you can find this hardback and jacketed book for $2.00, as I did, you’d be a fool to pass it up. and if you have to buy it from Amazon for $12, it’s worth it if you wish to have a complete culinary reference library.

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    Cookbook of the day – The Paris Cookbook

    the-paris-cookbook

    The Paris Cookbook

    by Patricia Wells

  • Publisher William Morrow Cookbooks (October 24, 2001)
  • ISBN 10: 0060184698
  • ISBN 13: 978-0060184698
  • Famed food author Patricia Wells has written a love letter to Parisian life. Having lived in France since 1980, she’s at home in the glittering night life of Paris or the slow calm of her home in Provence, which she has also written about in her book (to be reviewed by me in a future post), The Provence Cookbook. She wrote about bistros long before it was discovered by a voracious American culinary scene.

    She certainly doesn’t give bistros short shrift in this book, but she also discusses the 25! Michelin starred chef Joël Robuchon, featuring several of his recipes including the famedMacaroni aux Truffles Joël Robuchon, variations of which have become quite fashionable here in the States.  She pulls a recipe from Guy Savoy’s brasserie, Cap Vernet (Salade à la Maraîchère Cap Vernet,a simple mixed green viniagrette-infused salad with thinly shaved ParmegianoReggiano). And she creates dishes inspired by market vendors and old clipped French magazine recipes.

    Many famous and obscure Parisian citizens inside the culinary orbit are name-checked and you’ll catch a measure of the passion that Wells feels for Paris and French cuisine. 

    It’s an interesting read and well worth adding to your cooking library.

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    Cookbook of the day – La Methode

    La Methode

    La Methode

    by Jacques Pépin

    Publisher Pocket (September 15, 1984)  

    ISBN 10: 0671504959

    ISBN 13: 978-0671504953

    Recently, we discussed Pépin’s companion to this volume, La Technique. This is the “continuation” of that first volume. There really isn’t much distinction between the two volumes – it’s not like the first only talks about “techniques” and this one talks about “methods” (as if there’s a huge difference between the two terms).  He basically wanted to cover topics that he hadn’t really covered in the first volume, so he starts with something ignored in the first volume – sharpening a knife.

    He then covers such diverse kitchen skills as butterflying shrimp, straining and skimming sauces, boning a saddle of lamb, making various chocolate constructions such as boxes, leaves and bark, and he also covers such esoteric subjects as peeling and glazing chestnuts, carving  “cucumber turtles” and “mushroom fish”, and preparing marrow.

    Once again, there are copious black and white photos that illustrate each step in the various processes and there are plenty of recipes to keep any recipe hound busy for months.

    You can now buy both volumes bound as one, but the originals can still be found in separate volumes for a reasonable cost.

    Pépin is a treasure who we should celebrate here in the US for being someone who, along with Julia Child and Paul Bocuse, made it fashionable to embrace French cuisine. And this enabled America to look past its shores and also to its immigrant population as culinary inspirations which have enriched our own cuisine.

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    Cookbook of the day – Sauternes

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    Sauternes

    by Bernard Ginestet

    Publisher:Jacques Legrand S.A. Paris ©1990

    ISBN-  0-582-07544-0

    ISBN- 2-905969-39-3

    This is a book that you might have to dig for. It’s a mostly European-distributed book from the series Bernard Ginestet’s Guide to the Vineyards of France. It was translated by John Meredith and has a foreword by Nicholas Faith, who points out that, Unfortunately, the French edition went to press before Bernard could discuss the biggest single revolution in the history of the great sweet wines of the bands of the Ciron: the way in which the technique of cryo-extraction has swept the vineyard, even such vineyards as Chateau d’Yquem, in the past few years.

    Other than that topic, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better discussion of the wine history of the region as well as a rundown of the chateaux of Sauternes, down to a discussion of the soil composition . Most get at least a cursory examination, some very extensive discussions, and at the very least, a listing of the various statistics and whether or not they allow visits.

    There’s a great map of the region, color-coded according to soil type. The photo on the cover shows a typical bunch of grapes which clearly shows the contrast between “healthy” grapes and the raisinesque botytris-attacked “raisins”. There is a comprehensive discussion about botrytis and Ginestet would seem to hope that the popular term “noble rot” disappear from the lexicon. In fact, he points out that this isn’t what we normally would call “rot”, as it doesn’t attack dead tissue but living, healthy grapes. The grapes end up getting picked in two different categories of decrepitude, shrivelled and dessicated. This necessitates constant pickings, and the price of the product is a reflection of this reality.

    You get a detailed report on the meteorology of the region as you would expect from a book covering a French region, as dependent on terroir as they are.

    The language is what you expect from translated French, lugubrious and academic. It achieves this without becoming treacly or haughty. There are copious photographs, which give you a sense of the culture of the region. There are even 5 “savory dishes” recipes from regional chefs in French; recipes that utilize Sauternes in the dish.

    I don’t recommend this book for people only getting into wine. This is for the intermediate wine enthusiast or better. It’s not that it’s above the head of a beginner, it just goes into more detail about a small but significant region of French wine, a region that the beginner might not even encounter, as most restaurants don’t even offer a Sauternes on their wine list. Additionally, it’s not a common book and might be difficult to find at a decent price (I was lucky enough to find mine for $3.00 – would I have piad $20 for it? Probably not, although for a wine expert it would be worth the price).

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