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The French Menu Cookbook Hardcover – 28 Oct 2010


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 456 pages
  • Publisher: Collins; Reprint edition (28 Oct. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007420617
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007420612
  • Product Dimensions: 16 x 3.7 x 24 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 154,525 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

The perfect prose is as beautiful as the menus.
-Rachel Cooke in The Observer Food Monthly

Immaculate instruction. Glorious prose. Recipes for serious kitchen folk. My most cherished cookery book.
-Simon Hopkinson

[Olney] was a true genius in the kitchen, and his writing was as sensual and precise as his handling of ingredients. Let trumpets sound to mark the timely resurrections of this, one of his best-loved books.
-Alan Davidson, author of The Oxford Companion to Food

‘Comes wreathed in compliments from people such as Simon Hopkinson, Alan Davidson and Prue Leith … reading it is almost enough in itself; for perfection, give it to someone clever enough to cook it all for you.’ – Telegraph Magazine

‘Meticulous in its advice, the seasonal menus and recipes are superb. Food writing as good as this is rare indeed.’ The Western Mail, No. 8 of the 30 best cookbooks of all time

Henry Harris of Racine told FT Magazine that Richard Olney “writes so beautifully, you can lose yourself in his glorious prose.”

The book was selected by The Week as one of the best cookbooks of 2010 – “this cookbook is the perfect introduction to (Richard Olney’s) ‘passionate and idiosyncratic’ approach to French cooking.”

The Sunday Tribune (Eire) has called it a “seductive read for any Francophile, even better for one who can cook.”

About the Author

Richard Olney was one of a kind - a scholarly cook who had a tremendous influence on modern cooking via his cottage on a hillside in Provence. Born and raised in Iowa, America he was drawn to France as a young man. Olney moved to a Parisian suburb in 1951 before settling in a run-down property in Provence where he wrote eight cookbooks and consulted on the Time-Life Good Cook series. Olney passed away at his Provencal home in 1999.


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Customer Reviews

2.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By John Halliday on 5 Jan. 2011
Format: Hardcover
The content of this is great - for the serious foodie. It's not an easy 'how to' in the style of current books on food and wine, but if you have an interest in French cooking, it's a wonderful read. But.... it has to be one of the most disappointing publications I've handled. It looks as though the original text has been scanned and not edited subsequently. Anyone who has used OCR software knows that it ain't perfect - you have to go through the text with a fine tooth comb to sort out the words that need correction. It looks here as though the publishers have failed to use a copy editor - and never was one more needed. There are mistakes, often multiple mistakes, on every page. 'I' inevitably appears as the numeral '1', 'oils' as 'ails', 'cover' as 'coyer' and sentences such as "...a heavy saucepan, preferably copper, with a tight-fitting lido..." would be amusing if they weren't frustrating.

What an opportunity has been missed by Collins. This book could have been a wonderful experience with a little more care and investment in its production. Shame.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Tomsk on 5 Jan. 2011
Format: Hardcover
As a devotee of Richard Olney's Simple French Food, I was appalled by the terrible job Collins did on this edition. It is worse than pathetic. Do not buy this book, it is an insult to the book buying populace and an own-goal for publishing. What a sad memorial for a truly great food and wine writer. Meanwhile Collins remain silent.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By D. W. CARVER on 18 Mar. 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have given this 1 star because I don't think it possible to give a book no stars. There is no need to add further comments about the atrocious editing - editing that allows 'port' to be listed among the ingredients when it should have been 'pork'. Why it remained on sale is a mystery. I did write to the publisher but three months later have received no reply. Maybe the ability to read still eludes them.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Bedesboy on 16 Jan. 2011
Format: Hardcover
I agree with the comments about the editing (or lack there-of) which leaves mistakes on almost every page, some almost comical - others more serious. It renders the book worse than useless. What an insult to Richard Olney's memory and hard work in bringing exquisite French food to a mass audience. Shame on Harper Collins. Do not buy this edition. His estate should insist on an immediate re-call of unsold copies, and a copy swap for a corrected edition for those who paid for this incompetently produced mess. But does the publisher responsible have the good grace to post an apology on here?
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By Marand TOP 100 REVIEWER on 8 Sept. 2012
Format: Hardcover
I bought this, swayed by the Observer Food Monthly's categorisation as the 'best cookbook ever'. I have hundreds of cook books but had none by Olney although his name is mentioned in the bibliography of a fair few of my collection.

I am in two minds about rating this book. The descriptions of how to prepare ingredients or recipes are detailed and, in my view, clear and helpful even with the absence of any photographs (I can't remember seeing any diagrams either). The recipes cover the classic dishes of traditional French cuisine such as cassoulet, petis pois à la francaise, blanquette of veal, celeriac in mustard sauce but there are things new to me. The menus themselves are a bit of a mixed bag and a lot now seems terribly old-fashioned and/or unappealing, though indubitably French. By way of example, of the four simple autumn menus, the main courses in two - boiled pigs' ears & tails in one, grilled lambs' hearts in the other - don't sing to me! The spring equivalents include deep-fried tripe (there are several other tripe dishes) and calves' brains in red wine.

I doubt I'll cook complete menus but there is enough to make this a worthwhile purchase. I also like the wine suggestions which appear alongside some of the menus.

I have seen the comments about the editorial quality. I have read a substantial part of the book, and many, but not all, of the recipes in detail and whilst there are more mistakes than there should be I didn't find it too bad.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Patricia Boyce on 20 Jan. 2011
Format: Hardcover
I bought this in error - didn't check enough on the contents and realised I have an earlier hardback edition.

Can only agree enthusiastically with all the other comments about the absence of proof reading - even only flicking through it to realise that I already owned it I found multiple glaring errors.

The flick through reminded me just how much cooking styles have changed. When I was originally given this, I found everything (except, curiously the orange jelly made from scratch) too difficult or too impossible to contemplate. Now, I look at the menus and think, yes, we ate that last week, although I rely less on carbohydrate than Mr Olney does for dessert.

So, very important, but look for an earlier edition.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By S. Harrison on 6 May 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this as it's generally regarded as a classic of cookery writing. Unfortunately this edition has either been proofed by an illiterate or not proofed at all, leaving it unreadable.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By G. Griffin on 17 Jan. 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The first book by one the 2oth century's great food and wine writers. There may be debate about which is the masterpiece - this or Simple French Food; however there won't be disagreement about the lazy and cost-saving job by Collins on the editorial side (see two reviews below). This classic should have been treated with more respect. And why do Collins still have the rights to French Menu Cookbook? They should have reverted to the author's estate when it last went out of print....
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