Posted 26 January 2009 - 10:32 AM
I have the urge for more. A recent CI article complaining about the 11 pages on omelet making in Julia Child's book ("Mastering the Art of French Cooking" I think) gave me a pretty strong urge to buy that book; I could really dig a book which is willing to spend 11 pages on omelets.
So, I am looking for a modern-ish book on french cooking that focuses on technique. For reference, one of my favorite books in this style is "Sauces" by Patterson; that is, ideally, the kind of book I'm looking for. I think Child's book *might* be the one, but my primary concern is it's age; modern tastes tend to prefer things with a little less fat (well, ok sometimes). Does it hold up? Is there another book which I should consider? Would one of the english translations of Escoffier be a good idea? I'd like a book without *too* much focus on stuff I can't buy, although I am resigned to have at least 25% (maybe more)..
Your suggestions are appreciated!
Posted 26 January 2009 - 12:28 PM
I am not sure I narrowed down my choices any by reading it though :) I am now considering one in French though....
Posted 26 January 2009 - 02:04 PM
North is a New Zealand born, Australian based, Raymond Blanc trained chef. He got his name with Justin Tomlin at Banc (Sydney) before opening Becasse (Sydney). French Lessons is his second book (his first, Becasse is brilliant) and as the title implies, he takes you through French cooking, lesson by lesson.
Posted 26 January 2009 - 02:59 PM
Julia's The Way to Cook, IMO, is an updated and shortened version of Mastering the Art. You could look at that book.
Another book I liked to read, but never cooked from, is Anne Willan's La Varenne Pratique. I suggest you check out that book as well.
Posted 26 January 2009 - 05:29 PM
Woman (noticing a large bowl of cut fruit): “How much is the fruit salad?”
Counterman: “Three-ninety-eight a pound.”
Woman (incredulous, and loud): “THREE-NINETY EIGHT A POUND ????”
Counterman: “Who’s going to sit and cut fruit all day, lady… YOU?”
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Posted 27 January 2009 - 02:20 PM
For more contemporary cooking (though I'm not sure it's less heavy) check out Keller's Bouchon, Bourdain's Les Halles, maybe Chanterelle by Waltuck or even Ramsey's *** book. Not your 100% and totally traditional French cooking, but certainly inspired by it.
And then there are the old standards by Escoffier and Fernand Point, both available in English. You might want to look at those first if possible, they're less written for the home cook than for a professional Chef. Often no measurements are given etc.
Depends a bit too, if you want to go "fancy" French or "peasant" French with bistro like cooking.
Putting French cooking into Amazon will give you a wide selection, the above are books I own and love.
By the way, the 11 pages on Omelette include several drawings, it's not all text. It's good text though, Child and her co-authors really spent a lot of time writing these descriptions. Yes, it's a bit dated, and yes, there are new tools and gadgets they did not have, but personally I like the old fashioned approach at times. Let us know what you decide upon!
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Posted 27 January 2009 - 03:07 PM
It's great reading. I'd suggest you approach the recipes with caution, though. Some seem to be untested, and thrown in just as hypothetical examples. If you're a slave to recipes, this book will get you in big trouble. It might just be his way of saying "stop being a slave to recipes!" A warning would have been polite.
Posted 27 January 2009 - 06:41 PM
I totally agree. Mastering the Art Volume I especially is a great reference book, even if I'm not following the recipes precisely (though you often will).
I wold recommend Julia Child's book(s), even if you should decide the recipes are too heavy on fat. It still stands as one of the best books describing all the different ways in French cooking in a detailed and easy to understand way. It's fun to just poke around in the book, and it's also a book that almost should be required to have :)
For recipes for some of the simpler, classic dishes in the French repetoire, I often use Patricia Wells' Bistro Cooking. No hard-to-find ingredients there, and the recipes are all very straightforward. Her most recent book, Vegetable Harvest , reflects a lighter, more contemporary interpretation of French cooking. My experience cooking from it is limited but successful.
Posted 27 January 2009 - 08:48 PM
Posted 11 February 2009 - 11:03 AM
Posted 12 February 2009 - 02:48 PM
Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia
The Balthazar Cookbook by Keith McNally - This is from the Restaurant in NYC. I love the forward and Introduction of the book. It gives you a great appreciation for how this successful restaurant came about as well as how it is run. The recipes are fabulous.
Bouchon by Thomas Keller - Fabulous forward about Bistro cooking. Keller covers everything from Rilettes, Quiche, Lamb stew, to crepes, Chocolate Bouchons. The Recipes are fabulous . If you do find this book, try the Duck Confit with brussel sprouts and mustard sauce! Loved this dish!
Le Bec-Fin Recipes by Georges Perrier
Le Cordon Bleu at Home - "Learn Classic French Cuisine from the world's most famous Cooking School". A Complete course in more than 300 Recipes.
Jacques Pepin Cookbooks.
That's all I can think of...... for now! LOL!
Posted 12 February 2009 - 03:33 PM
Olney's Simple French Food is also excellent.
Posted 12 February 2009 - 03:58 PM
Posted 01 March 2009 - 10:42 AM
Although I'd long heard of this book, I finally purchased it only last weekend when I found it on sale. Now I am kicking myself for having waited so long. In the category of food memoir, this is the best I've read in a very long time. Chapters are organized around portraits of the important women in Kamman's life and their cooking. Beautifully written, perceptive, fond but not at all sacharine, and with WWII hovering in the background, sometimes the stories take a slightly menacing twist.
A fabulous book to cook from (even though I am not overly fond of her books as a rule) is "When French Women Cook" by Madeleine Kamman. There's lots of decadent eating to be had from that book! (It's one book I would not want to be without!)
As for the recipes, I have yet to cook from this book, but I'm pleasantly surprised by what I see. I'd mistakenly assumed that the recipes from that era would all seem dated. True for some but otherwise most look straighforward and appealing even today, and there seems to be a lot of good technical advice. I'm glad, Markk, that you've had a good experience with them, there are several that I am looking forward to trying. One of the first will be her recipe for Pineau, the fortified wine apperitif that I love but can rarely find (or afford) in the States.
I'd still recommend one of Julia Child's books as a first book if anyone is looking to learn the basics. But though I'm only halfway through reading this one and have yet to cook from it, it's already on my list of desert island cookbooks.
Posted 02 March 2009 - 09:10 PM
Although Justin North's book French Lessons is great, I don't think it's as comprehensive as what you might be looking for.
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