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Larousse Gastronomique 1938 (the first edition)


lamington
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So I've been very kindly given a copy of the original 1938 French edition of Larousse Gastronomique, except that it seems to have been updated in 1947/48 which I can't find documented anywhere. I'd be interested to know more about the original and slightly updated version(s) if anyone has a true 1938 copy.

While browsing through mine, we were perplexed to discover a colour plate with an image of a table of cheese and wine where the wine bottles bore labels "1947" and "1945". Furthermore, on the back of the Vins plate is a table of vintages up to 1947 (opposite page 1069).

16 of the plates plates have black text and a serif font, while 20 have blue sans serif text. The page with the above years showing is a blue sans serif plate for Fromages (after page 498).

None of the imprint pages in the book show any later dates than 1938. The very last page with any text says:

...

...

1937 à 1938 -- Dépot légal 1938-2e -- No 233

No de série Editeur 133

...

1014-10-49

The book is dark green with an embossed image of chickens on spits in front of golden flames. The title is in gold with the G of GASTRONOMIQUE being larger than the following letters. I've seen an image on the web of a similar cover but with the G the same size as the other letters -- that example seems to have been a later cover for the same edition of the book.

The dust jacket spine is in three parts: centre panel is white and yellow text on red; top panel is a woman in apron standing at a stove; bottom panel is a chef with toque adding wine to a saucepan.

Any enlightening info about minor revisions/versions of the first edition?

-- lamington a.k.a. Duncan Markham

The Gastronomer's Bookshelf - collaborative book reviews about all things food and wine

Syrup & Tang - candid commentary and flavourful fancies

"It's healthy. It's cake. It's chocolate cake."

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  • 3 weeks later...

I have no idea, seems very strange. I just got a copy of the 1988 edition in top condition, what an amazing book! I didn't even know about it until just recently - oddly enough. I read in several places that the 88 edition is "better" than the new edition you can buy now, though I can't compare (for now). Just a really great book that I'm sure I'll be looking at and referring to quite often. Check it out!

And I'd too be curious about the pages from the future in the OP's post up there.

"And don't forget music - music in the kitchen is an essential ingredient!"

- Thomas Keller

Diablo Kitchen, my food blog

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I have no idea, seems very strange. I just got a copy of the 1988 edition in top condition, what an amazing book! I didn't even know about it until just recently - oddly enough. I read in several places that the 88 edition is "better" than the new edition you can buy now, though I can't compare (for now). Just a really great book that I'm sure I'll be looking at and referring to quite often. Check it out!

And I'd too be curious about the pages from the future in the OP's post up there.

Oliver, assuming your copy is in English, you've got the 2nd American edition. There have been 3 'American' (=English language) editions: 1961, 1988 and 2001. They're quite different; I don't know about 'better'. The book grew from 1000 to 1200 to 1350 pages over the 3 editions and certainly became more up to date. For one thing there's now more than a passing mention of 'foreign' (non-French) foods. But if you use it as a French culinary history reference book - which is what I think it's best at - the 1961 edition is the closest to a translation of the 1938 French original.

There was also a concise edition published in 2003, and the Random House website suggests we may see a new edition in Oct 2009:

http://www.randomhouse.com/catalog/display...0307464910.html

Lamington, if your edition is 1088 pages, I think you've got the 1st edition text but with some additional plates. The original 1938 1st edition had 1088 pages (sometimes described by sellers as 1087, just depends if you count the last page) plus 16 half-tone colour plates. But at some point, later printings - still described as 1st edition - came out with 36 plates. The original plates sound like the black text / serif font ones you mention. If the later-date wines you mention are only on the blue font plates, those would be the later additions, and that would explain this mystery.

This may help: http://www.vialibri.net/cgi-bin/book_searc...earchAll=Search

Hong Kong Dave

O que nao mata engorda.

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Thank you HKDave for providing useful additional info to some things I've discovered in the meantime -- I have been in contact with Larousse in the last fortnight and it turns out there were a number of reprints of the first edition, though never explicitly indicated on the imprint page. Mine is presumably a 1948 reprint, in light of the plate and the mention of 1947 vintages (there was also a reprint in 1947, however).

I'm in the process of writing an article about the various editions and reprints and will update here when it's done.

OliverB: opinions always vary about new editions of such major works. Confirming DaveHK's note about a new English edition from Random House, yes, the 2007 French edition is finally due out in English before the end of the year!

-- lamington a.k.a. Duncan Markham

The Gastronomer's Bookshelf - collaborative book reviews about all things food and wine

Syrup & Tang - candid commentary and flavourful fancies

"It's healthy. It's cake. It's chocolate cake."

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thanks, I'm glad I go the 88 edition, especially if there's a new one on the way! Good to know.

I read somewhere that the most recent one, while having more about food from other countries, also dropped some info and pictures from the original. I figured that I'll mostly use it as a general cooking encyclopedia with a strong bend towards the French, the origin of "fine dining" in a way. (arguably of course). It's a wonderful book and having the somewhat dated photos is fun, shows you how food photography evolved from just reporting to the glossy food porn of today :-)

I'm pretty sure I'll get the new edition when it shows up, but I'll look at it first once it hits the stores.

Oliver

"And don't forget music - music in the kitchen is an essential ingredient!"

- Thomas Keller

Diablo Kitchen, my food blog

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It might be interesting to trace the whole history of this book in French and in English.

Mine is actually called the New (Nouveau in French edition) Larousse Gastronomique and is an English edition published by Hamlyn. The French copyright is 1960 (English version 1977). According to the preface it was the first total rewrite of the Prosper Montagne original.

The preface was written by Robert J. Courtine and one of the chief additions is the concept of refrigeration, which was when the first edition was written. It was edited by Janet Dunbar.

Was the 1988 Edition and update of this? Did they then drop the "New" part of the title?

I got this copy from a library selling old books: silly people.

Edited by nickrey (log)

Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"The Internet is full of false information." Plato
My eG Foodblog

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Mine is called Larousse Gastronomique - The new American edition of the world's greatest culinary encyclopedia. Edited by Jenifer Harvely Lang - with 4.000 recipes and 1000 color illustrations.

From the front flap: (...) Thsi new eidition of L. G. has been totally rewritten and expanded by Robert J. Courtine, the gastronomy editor of France's Le Monde. (...)

L. G. has been Americanized by Jenifer Harvey Lang, noted food journalist, cook, and author of Tastings: The best from Ketchup to Caviar. All recipes have been adapted for use in the American kitchens: American measurements are given beside metric and imperial, and foreign cooking terms such as double cream and trotters are amplified by their American counterparts (...)

copyright 84 for the French edition, 88 for the English text. Crown publishers, ISBN 0-517-57032-7, first printing.

I read somewhere that the most recent edition left out some original material to add more about ethnic foods etc, so I went for the (supposedly) more complete or original if you will 88 eiditon. I paid $30 for it, book is in top shape.

It's a great book, 1193 numbered pages.

"And don't forget music - music in the kitchen is an essential ingredient!"

- Thomas Keller

Diablo Kitchen, my food blog

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It might be interesting to trace the whole history of this book in French and in English.

Mine is actually called the New (Nouveau in French edition) Larousse Gastronomique and is an English edition published by Hamlyn. The French copyright is 1960 (English version 1977). According to the preface it was the first total rewrite of the Prosper Montagne original.

The preface was written by Robert J. Courtine and one of the chief additions is the concept of refrigeration, which was when the first edition was written. It was edited by Janet Dunbar.

Was the 1988 Edition and update of this? Did they then drop the "New" part of the title?

The Hamlyns were the UK editions. The first Hamlyn edition was 1961, and as far as I can tell, it's the same text as the American 1961 Crown edition. The "Introduction to the English Language Edition" in my 1961 Crown describes the translation as an "Anglo-American venture" and describes how they included both US and UK measures and terminology.

Yes, the 1988 Hamlyn was a new edition, and I suspect it parallels the US 1988 edition. There was also a 2001 Hamlyn; ditto. And Hamlyn is releasing a new edition in October this year, which matches Random House in the US.

For those looking for a 1st (1961) edition, they've easy to find. They were both 'book club' books and were reprinted many times; my Crown 1st edition was printed in 1968 and it was already in its 28th printing! There are several copies on eBay at any given time, some with rather optimistic prices, but a quick check today shows you can get a 1st edition in either the US or UK for a 'Buy it now' price of US$30. I wouldn't pay more than that unless you want a pretty dust jacket (the 1st ed. Crown dust jackets are usually in bad shape).

Hong Kong Dave

O que nao mata engorda.

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It might be interesting to trace the whole history of this book in French and in English.

Yes, that's what I working on right now.

a quick check today shows you can get a 1st edition in either the US or UK for a 'Buy it now' price of US$30. I wouldn't pay more than that unless you want a pretty dust jacket (the 1st ed. Crown dust jackets are usually in bad shape).

I definitely agree on all fronts. I think I got my 1961 Crown edition for about USD20. Dust jacket is in poor shape, but intact.

-- lamington a.k.a. Duncan Markham

The Gastronomer's Bookshelf - collaborative book reviews about all things food and wine

Syrup & Tang - candid commentary and flavourful fancies

"It's healthy. It's cake. It's chocolate cake."

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  • 3 weeks later...

lamington, I just spotted this thread, but I've long had many copies of this title in multiple editions. PM or email me if you want more information.

In particular, the 1961 Crown, long sold in US (the edition that made the title famous here, indeed very close to the 1938 including certain delightful eccentricities, discussed periodically here and elsewhere) had an important mezzanine edition in the 1970s, based on the 1961 but with new photography and many random edits that mostly condensed long or potentially archaic articles. Some people have that one, and it often gets confused with the 1961. (Same thing happened with the main thick post-war US "high-end" cookbook, the Gourmet Cook Book, which was forever issuing updates and supplements after publication in 1950 -- I have those too by the way.)

The LG could be called a cousin of the reference cookbooks from the movement circa 1900 to compile and "standardize" French recipes. (The Guide Culinaire, Saint-Ange, and Saulnier's pocket reference are famous results.) French people have remarked to me that, although the resulting canonical recipes set the stage for well-known rebellions later, it was a necessary defense against a 19th-c. trend of restaurants passing off distorted or shortcut recipes under famous French names.

E. Briffault ends his Paris à Table (1846) with this assessment: "The two-pronged fork is used in northern Europe. The English are armed with steel tridents with ivory handles -- three-pronged forks -- but in France, we have the four-pronged fork, the height of civilization."

-- LG under "fork;" one of the rare examples of such a quip that's in the 1988 and 2001 US English editions rather than the 1961.

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Incidentally for any of you seeking the classic 1961 Crown "First English" ed., so many copies were sold in the US in the 1960s and 1970s, and returned to the market in used form in recent decades, that I have seen (and sometimes bought) a copy in a majority of the US used bookstores I've looked into in the past 30 years that had cookbook sections. Online clearing houses have taken over some of that market now, of course (Amazon, abe, etc. in North America excellent for popular titles like that one). Throughout the 90s and early 00s the going US price in decent condition was $10-$15. In another thread some time ago I mentioned a discussion in a restaurant bar where chef estimated offhand to a customer that he would probably find one if he looked into the used bookstore across the street (he did).

--------

"You have heard the news: excommunicated. Come and dine to console me. Everyone is to refuse me fire and water; so we will eat nothing but cold glazed meats, and drink only chilled wines."

-- Talleyrand (Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord), in a letter to his friend the Duc de Biron (better known as the Duc de Lauzun), April 1791. In LG 1961 Crown edition [gone, as of 1988]; also Duff Cooper, Talleyrand (Harper and Brothers, 1932). Not from online.

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  • 4 months later...

It's quite some time since I started this thread and at last I'm coming back to tell people that the feature article I was putting together about the editions of the Larousse Gastronomique, both French and English, has now been published on The Gastronomer's Bookshelf.

I'd like the article to be a work-in-progress, adding interesting facts and quirks as time goes by. I hope you enjoy it.

-- lamington a.k.a. Duncan Markham

The Gastronomer's Bookshelf - collaborative book reviews about all things food and wine

Syrup & Tang - candid commentary and flavourful fancies

"It's healthy. It's cake. It's chocolate cake."

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  • 6 months later...

That page is indeed about as comprehensive a one as you're likely to find on the book (I found my first copy in the trash on Beacon Hill when I was a young musician; didn't know what it was really, just that it looked French.)

I've posted my quibbles with this monumental work to the same page, but to note the most egregious error that has persisted through several editions: the croissant was NOT invented at a siege, neither at Vienna (as is frequently reported) or at Budapest (as the Larousse strangely has it). This was already known in the 19th century, but even if the Larousse's editors missed those (admittedly obscure) texts, you would think they would be aware of Alan Davidson's quibbles in his own reference work.

Nope. Even the new edition includes this multiply erroneous version.

The other disappointment with the new edition is that they eliminated the plates showing different types of bread without replacing it with a modern version (which is woefully needed in general - finding definitive pictures of the standard French breads is surprisingly hard). Personally, I would have preferred to see them keep the old plates, noting them as historical and add a modern version.

But the book's importance - and entertainment value - really is beyond dispute.

Jim Chevallier

http://www.chezjim.com

Austrian, yes; queen, no:

August Zang and the French Croissant: How Viennoiserie came to France

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