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eG Books-in-Depth: "Spoon"


Anna N
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How come all you guys are getting better numbers than I got? No fair!

By the way, I have a nice little "charticle" coming out in the "Fare" section of the November Saveur comparing the Ducasse Spoon book with the Adria El Bulli '98-'02 book. Keep an eye out for it.

I do promise to get back into this thread and do some cooking. The site upgrade and the edits on my book manuscript of late have been keeping me pretty busy, but my schedule should be opening up again soon.

[/quote

That's great news, F.G.!

Can't wait to read it.

I've tried to find the Haribo Tagada strawberries everywhere but after writing Haribo U.S. they informed me that they don't import them into the US. I'll probably order some online and hopefully be able to get some.

In the meantime, I may run with the idea and use something more for American tastes, like sour gummie bears or something for the ice cream.

In fact, I've been thinking of doing a baked alaska this fall for my menu, and making it kind of a childlike item, with colored sugars and the like as a garnish. The ice cream would complete the idea.

Question...

Has anyone noticed the butter in the bubble gum and tagada strawberry ice cream recipes?

I've never used butter in ice cream unless it was a butter pecan but it strikes me as strange.

I think the Clinton heart bypass has made me too aware of health issues!

Oh, also.

Have to say that the Spoon book really has made me think about savory cooking again.

I find it very stimulating and inspiring.

Re: Ducaase Grand Livre 'Dessert'.

A chef friend of mine (pastry) likes it but thinks the recipes could be incomplete in places.

He feels that maybe the big guy has held a thing or two back, just from what he feels the recipes are reading.

Wouldn't be the first time...

.

Edited by tan319 (log)

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Re: Ducaase Grand Livre 'Dessert'.

A chef friend of mine (pastry) likes it but thinks the recipes could be incomplete in places.

He feels that maybe the big guy has held a thing or two back, just from what he feels the recipes are reading.

Wouldn't be the first time...

.

Ted, are you talking specifically about Ducasse having held back in the past a thing or two or is just a general remark?

PedroEspinosa (aka pedro)

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Ted, are you talking specifically about Ducasse having held back in the past a thing or two or is just a general remark?

General remark.

Sorry, thought about making that a bit clearer, and thanks for posting that.

He wasn't being disparaging.

I was asking him what he thought about the Grand Livres Dessert book, which I knew he had, and he said he liked it, thought the photography was great, etc., but thought, as a pro, that some of the recipes were incomplete.

That could be an editing error, who knows?

I know Steve Klc has spoken highly of the book (GLD), maybe he'll weigh in?

2317/5000

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  • 4 weeks later...

Hi, Ted's wife here. Just wanted to let you all know that he finally told me he purchased this book 4 MONTHS AFTER THE FACT!!!! That bastard. *insert snarling emoticon*

Edited by tan319 (log)

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It has been a couple of months since I bought the book and I also have not yet told my wife.

CONFESS, MY FRIEND!!!

Before it's too late...

:biggrin:

You see, my wifes mom is visiting, she's a foodie, and my wife wanted to show off all of my gutwrenchingly expensive cookbooks (El Bulli 98/02, Bau, Balaguer, etc.) and I had to show her the Ducasse book.

BTW, what is the matter with all of us :laugh::laugh::laugh: ?

My chef even 'walked around the block' on the matter of getting the SPOON book to his wife!

2317/5000

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My book arrived this week. Ordered from amazon.fr on Sept 16. In a fit of false economy I didn't opt for expedited delivery. :hmmm:

Now that I've had a few days to peruse the book I've got a few initial impressions:

Yes, this is a truly massive tome. The large format is great for displaying the photos in a dramatic fashion, but not so practical for a working cook book. I do wish they'd included a CD-ROM à la el bulli.

I agree with serge that the photos are a bit abstract. They remind me of the still life photography of Irving Penn in the mid-seventies. Despite the fact that Penn's photos were of singularly unattractive subject matter - cigarette butts, flattened take-out containers, anything that he found in the gutters of the street outside his studio - his photography elevated them to a monumental level. Take a squished-up pack of Camel Straights, photograph them on a pure white background with a large-format camera, print them in platinum-palladium on a gigantic scale, and you've got something strangely beautiful. Fortunately M. Duval is working with considerably more attractive subject matter. :raz: I'd like to see these photos on a truly massive scale. Yes, even larger than this book.

I'm struck by the complexity of the recipes. Somehow I was expecting the components to be relatively simple. Instead I find some of the recipes to be mind-boggling in their complexity (in terms of flavor). Consider the following list of ingredients: shallots, garlic, lemongrass, cardamom, olive oil, coriander, Szechuan pepper, sumac, pomegranate molasses, chili pepper paste, sherry vinegar. I've used all of these in combination of twos and threes. Actually, they would be included in my all-time list of favorite ingredients. Ducasse & co. use all of these, plus pork trimmings and fond blanc, in the recipe for "Sumac / Pomegranate Molasses" on p. 154. I can't even picture how the combination of all of these would taste.

Something as simple as the jus de volaille ( p. 435) departs from my usual procedure. The browning in peanut oil followed by further caramelization with butter followed by triple-reduction with small quantities of water all strikes me as exotic. I tried it tonight and the results are fragrant but a tad cloudy. I'm guessing that I've overlooked some subtlety in the instructions. Does the word "boil" translate correctly between French and English? I'm guessing not....

FG, I see why you've found this book to be a little daunting. Plus we all know you've been busy. :biggrin: I propose that we all participate in a "cook-along", picking the recipes that seem do-able on our own schedule.

Oh yes, my book is no. 2568 out of 5000. I was secretly hoping that the progression established by serge (2362) and stagiaire (1456) would hold up. I've edited my sig so Ted won't have to nag me. :smile:

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At long last, I have a little time to do some cooking. Not a lot of time, but enough to do one of these recipes. So, what's it going to be? I'm open to suggestions. Maybe several of us could do the same one and compare notes.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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At long last, I have a little time to do some cooking. Not a lot of time, but enough to do one of these recipes. So, what's it going to be? I'm open to suggestions. Maybe several of us could do the same one and compare notes.

Glad to hear that you can devote more time to this project. I especially like the idea of comparing notes on a specific recipe. The challenge, as you've already noted, is the amazing number of dependencies generated by following "one" recipe.

Another question I have is even more fundemental: How do we replicate the experience of eating (even a single dish) at a Spoon restaurant? One ommission I find surprising in the book is any indication of what the menu looks like. In the preface there is the briefest mention of the Spoon concept ("1,2,3...") but nowhere is there a description of how these recipes are intended to be assembled and experienced. Well OK, I've ony had the book for a few days, so maybe I've missed something.

Could someone who's actually eaten at Spoon (wherever) describe a strategy for ordering from the menu? Maybe then we could all play along....

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  • 4 weeks later...

The Spoon Cookbook as well as the English version of El Bulli '98-'02 and Text & Pretext in Textures are available online from JB Prince in NY.

(Spoon is on page 2)

http://www.jbprince.com/index.asp?PageActi...TS&Category=209

"At the gate, I said goodnight to the fortune teller... the carnival sign threw colored shadows on her face... but I could tell she was blushing." - B.McMahan

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I made the pistachio ice cream/ morello sorbet mixture today for the almond macarons.

I'm probably going to run it as a special this weekend, properly credited, of course.

I threw the cheesecake ("our favorite...") on the menu a few weeks back, calling it 'Gateau au Fromage ala Ducasse, with sour cream ice cream and stewed berries.

I skip the crust and "crust" it ala minute with Royaltine (Paillete feuilletine)

Since cheesecake is not one of my faves to do figured I'd have fun with it.

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  • 2 months later...

Hope you folks don't mind me using this thread to ask about another Ducasse book I've been smitten by, one that features a few of the Spoon desserts, in fact.

I'm talking about the 'Desserts et Patisserie' edition of the Grand Livre de Cuisine Ducasse/Roberts book.

It's great to get an idea of what those desserts look like plated.

Anyways, does anyone know of a plan to publish this book in an English translation?

Any info much appreciated, thanks!

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The main Grand Livre volume has just come out in English -- they just got a pile of them in at Kitchen Arts & Letters about a week ago, and it's $250. I think it will start to appear elsewhere soon. There is an English version of the pastry volume planned as well -- I think it may alredy be done and working its way through the publishing process, which can take months or even years. It even says "Egalement disponible en version anglaise" on the Ducasse site. So, we wait.

I regret that I haven't had the opportunity to push this topic forward as much as I wanted to. We'll get there, though.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Another question I have is even more fundemental: How do we replicate the experience of eating (even a single dish) at a Spoon restaurant? One ommission I find surprising in the book is any indication of what the menu looks like. In the preface there is the briefest mention of the Spoon concept ("1,2,3...") but nowhere is there a description of how these recipes are intended to be assembled and experienced. Well OK, I've ony had the book for a few days, so maybe I've missed something.

Could someone who's actually eaten at Spoon (wherever) describe a strategy for ordering from the menu? Maybe then we could all play along....

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Heads up on something I noticed today about the recipes in Spoon, at least dessert wise.

The chocolate pizza is also in the Grand Livre/Desserts book and I noticed in the French side of the recipes in the Spoon Cook Book it calls for 'sucre molasse', while on the English side it calls for molasses, which made me think of syrup.

So I checked out the Grand Livre recipe, which is all in French, and there's a notation about sucre molasse, saying you could use pilancillo,muscavado, basically any variation on brown sugar.

So I would double check recipes in English against the French so nothing gets screwed up.

The French version may be a bit more accurate.

Also, to any of you who may have had the chocolate pizza at MIX, did it have a bit of a crunch to it?

From the brown sugar?

I'm going to make it this weekend.

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The main Grand Livre volume has just come out in English -- they just got a pile of them in at Kitchen Arts & Letters about a week ago, and it's $250. I think it will start to appear elsewhere soon. There is an English version of the pastry volume planned as well -- I think it may alredy be done and working its way through the publishing process, which can take months or even years. It even says "Egalement disponible en version anglaise" on the Ducasse site. So, we wait.

I regret that I haven't had the opportunity to push this topic forward as much as I wanted to. We'll get there, though.

Amazon lists the English edition of Grand Livre as "Not yet released". The price is certainly attractive ($157.50 w/ free shipping), but the detail view lists the book as a paperback edition. Surely that's not right? The stated list price is $250, so it sounds like the same one that you saw at KA&L.

Chipsbooks lists a special prepublication price of $395.00 :shock: Hopefully that just needs to be updated. The new J. B. Prince catalog has the hardcover English edition for $225.

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Jessica's Biscuit has Grand Livre. They're selling it at 30% off.

"Some people see a sheet of seaweed and want to be wrapped in it. I want to see it around a piece of fish."-- William Grimes

"People are bastard-coated bastards, with bastard filling." - Dr. Cox on Scrubs

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The main Grand Livre volume has just come out in English -- they just got a pile of them in at Kitchen Arts & Letters about a week ago, and it's $250. I think it will start to appear elsewhere soon. There is an English version of the pastry volume planned as well -- I think it may alredy be done and working its way through the publishing process, which can take months or even years. It even says "Egalement disponible en version anglaise" on the Ducasse site. So, we wait.

I regret that I haven't had the opportunity to push this topic forward as much as I wanted to. We'll get there, though.

Amazon lists the English edition of Grand Livre as "Not yet released". The price is certainly attractive ($157.50 w/ free shipping), but the detail view lists the book as a paperback edition. Surely that's not right? The stated list price is $250, so it sounds like the same one that you saw at KA&L.

Chipsbooks lists a special prepublication price of $395.00 :shock: Hopefully that just needs to be updated. The new J. B. Prince catalog has the hardcover English edition for $225.

I just picked up the paperback edition here in Lyon at a local bookstore at the price of €50 - I am wondering if this can be the same book?? 50€ is a lot in our house so maybe considering the differences on the economy... I got it home last night and found after removing the seal that the volume is published in French and English, with the French and English text mirrored on two pages. Even the introduction is in French and English. Is this the same as the paperback people are talking about?

I took it to bed and scanned through it. I was sorely dissapointed with the photography, or should I say artistic design of the book? The way they went about choosing what to photograph. I would have preferred if they could please photograph a finished ensemble here or there? Or at least some of the ensembles they recommend. I need help with the presentation.

I kept thinking the visuals would evolve as we went from sauces to condiments and on. For every single recipe in the whole book you have microplaned raw vegetables and sprinklings of spice, arranged and back lit as if on a canvas. After awhile I was digging though the recipes for content and found the repetitive photography gratuitous. I resented having to deal with the sheer bulk of the volume coming from page after page of practically the same photograph in large format over and over again.

I will cook from it this weekend. What are people cooking? I have no idea how to present the finished ensembles, I wonder if we could talk about that.

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Are you talking about the Grand Livre book or the Spoon Cook Book?

The Spoon book kind of leaves it up to you in the presentation points, which I don't have a problem with.

Intially I might have been a bit disappointed, maybe, but, I don't know, from what I've seen of the plates at ADNY (Getting ready for "incoming"), and from what I've seen of the SPOON desserts in the 'Grand Livre de Desserts...' ,while being very clean and nice, it's not real edgy.

Which is fine.

I've only done dessert stuff so far from the book, which have been great.

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It's the Spoon Cookbook. I was thinking of the Grand Livre as the Spoon Cookbook, since it is a grand livre but now I understand that you are talking about two different books. Sorry about the confusion. This edition was published in November 2004 and has 456 pages.

I'll be concentrating on the savory things, since I am a sad failure at all things baking and pastry due to my problem with the mastering of the flour translation and wierd chocolate mysteries that never seem to get solved, although I try to compensate for that by doing other people's masterpieces justice in photographs. :wacko:

I had a nice long look again last night and am feeling much better about the book and the recipe contents. This is going to be an interesting journey, and one that will leave me a better cook, I think.

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I just picked up the paperback edition here in Lyon at a local bookstore at the price of €50 - I am wondering if this can be the same book??  50€ is a lot in our house so maybe considering the differences on the economy...  I was sorely dissapointed with the photography, or should I say artistic design of the book?

Jon Tseng had the paperback, which I think he picked up for about 70 pounds UK. It is somewhat smaller, and I think it might not include all of the same prep photos.

In London, Books for Cooks just got a shipment off the full-sized English version - only a year behind schedule. At £180, my incredibly loving wife (yea let us giveth her all high praise indeedy) just bought it for my birthday.

Edited by MobyP (log)

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  • 2 years later...

I'm in France and I've found a new hardcover copy of Spoon!! Only 5000 hardcovers were made. It's the only Ducasse book that I don't have. I'm trying to cut back on my cookbook habit and don't know if I should buy it or not. It's 150 euros, which isn't really that much considering I've seen the used softcovers on Amazon for about 100US. It's in English and French! It's a big book and I'm starting to get worried about all these books I'm going to have to lug home!! Should I buy it or pass?!

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