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K8CanCook

The best English version of Larousse Gastronomique

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Posted (edited)

Good day eG peoples!

 

I am going to purchase a copy of Larousse Gastronomique (English, because I cannot speak French as well as most French toddlers), and I am wondering which version you think is better and why? Let your opinions fly freely...hold nothing back!


Edited by K8CanCook edit spelling and add color (log)

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3 minutes ago, K8CanCook said:

hold nothing back!

 I think it’s terribly dated and there are things I would rather spend my money on. But as always, to each their own.

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16 minutes ago, Anna N said:

 I think it’s terribly dated and there are things I would rather spend my money on. But as always, to each their own.

 

Anna N,

 

That is very direct, and I appreciate the honesty. Is there another classic compendium which deserves consideration?

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10 minutes ago, K8CanCook said:

 

Anna N,

 

That is very direct, and I appreciate the honesty. Is there another classic compendium which deserves consideration?

Yup.  It’s called the Internet. I would spend my money on those compendia that relate to the areas of cooking that interest me.  I am just one opinionated responder to your request.  I am sure you will garner much more interesting responses from others.  

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I love my 2001 LaRousse ("Red.").  In fact, it's bedside now.  Inspires me when down, or I need a certain term I've lost, or to just generally learn or refresh on something.  I find it a really valuable book.  I see the current issue, 2009, is coming in at $45, my edition, the 2001 edition, is coming in right around $15 on Amazon. 

 

Just one reason I've found it valuable (like Escoffier, which I'm still trying to work through).  Grant Achatz:

 

“It is critical to have a sound understanding of traditional culinary principles before attempting to push boundaries in cuisine. Larousse Gastronomique helps me execute the progressive cooking we do at Alinea.”
—Grant Achatz

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I have a classic edition dated 1984 that's tattered and the cover and dust jacket are long gone.  But I refer to it often as I love not only the feel of a hard cover book and looking at the photos, but I don't find the same reference in online sources.  For example, a specific classic ingredient or technique.  It was a gift from some folks I worked with many years ago in a business unrelated to food and cooking but they new it was my passion.

9780600602354-us.jpg

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1913502104_LG1stedition.jpg.1b3312f1199f321e07952b8962ae4d0d.jpg

When I transitioned to food publication in the 70's, this was one of several books I purchased to facilitate the new challenge. I had hoped it would be an excellent reference source and it did not disappoint. Forty years later, I am still consulting it. My cooking skills may have improved, but the mind still seeks the discipline of knowledge.

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I have the 1984 edition, purchased in the same year, and have used innumerable times since its purchase. Yes, much of the info is now online, and yes, there are a few items not covered in it (avocados,) it's French-centric, and there's a lot of shorthand in it (in the croissant section, one is instructed to give 'three turns' without explaining what a full turn actually is) meaning one has to already have some training, I still value the book as one of the best. I would rate it in the top ten most useful of my collection.

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Posted (edited)

We had a discussion about the various Larousse editions... was it almost a decade ago already?... here:

Larousse Gastronomique 1938 (the first edition)

 

As for the original question about the 'best' English edition, as I said back then: "There have been 3 'American' (=English language) editions: 1961, 1988 and 2001 [plus, since that post, a 4th English edition in 2009]. 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."


Edited by Smithy Changed topic reference to topic link (log)

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