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Best/most comprehensive book of French classics?


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Showing 1-17 of 17 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 4 Feb 2014 15:04:42 GMT
I'm looking to get a better understanding of French cooking. Not just the odd recipe, not modern twists, not half arsed celebrity chef cookbooks - I'm looking for a "holy grail" of French classics type book. Something comprehensive and very authentic BUT realistic for the home cook ie. not too many recipes with ingredients you just can't find in supermarkets or local butchers.

I've looked at Michel Roux Jrs French Kitchen but reviewers have said that it's overly complex with most dishes having very rare ingredients.

I've looked at Michel Rouxs Collection but that is apparently not entirely French and doesn't cover all the different region like his sons book does.

The rest seem to be either very old and not vey accessible or just not very comprehensive.

Any recommendations?

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Feb 2014 15:13:01 GMT
Last edited by the author on 4 Feb 2014 15:21:35 GMT
pixie says:
Have you seen these Kieran...

Mireille Johnston's French Cookery Course: Pt.1

Mireille Johnston's French Cookery Course: Pt.2

Classic French Cooking: Recipes for Mastering the French Kitchen

Trish's French Kitchen

French Brasserie Cookbook: the Heart of French Home Cooking

The French Market Cookbook: Vegetarian Recipes from My Parisian Kitchen

French Provincial Cooking

The French Kitchen: A Cookbook

Raymond Blanc's Foolproof French Cookery

just a few in my collection...hope it helps!

Posted on 4 Feb 2014 15:16:16 GMT
Hmm looks great, but not many reviews! Can you vouch for it being authentic and being good for the home cook without dumbing down?

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Feb 2014 15:27:54 GMT
Last edited by the author on 4 Feb 2014 15:29:22 GMT
pixie says:
Trouble is Kieran you would do better to buy a couple of different books...can't go wrong with the used ones some are only 1p!....If you find just a handful of recipes that you cook time and time again from one book you have a bargain!....

It depends on what you are looking for? Traditional home cooking, the dinner party dish with foam or the bistro/brasserie?
I adore....Bistro Cooking

The French Kitchen Cookbook: Recipes and Lessons from Paris and Provence

Edit...in fact anything by Patricia Wells! She has a cookery school in Paris

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Feb 2014 16:41:23 GMT
Bearman says:
Hi Kieran

A great place to start is Larousse Gastronomique. This is a huge encyclopaedia of mainly French classics, but also features other food from all over the world. It gives lots of really useful background information too.

Posted on 4 Feb 2014 19:59:09 GMT
What Bear said.

Another oldie-but-goodie is Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Vol.1 There are 2 volumes in the UK edition, oddly enough.

Posted on 4 Feb 2014 20:42:05 GMT
Last edited by the author on 4 Feb 2014 20:44:52 GMT
Larousse is the holy grail. You could try Elizabeth David, or Escoffier, Julia Child's. French cooking is such a mix, basically you get the peasant style traditional dishes or you get the restaurant cooking, they were two totally different styles. Then you get the kind of food served up in Bistro,s etc, which leans towards the peasant style, but a bit more upmarket. Larousse is a good place to start, there is nothing you can,t find out from that tome, but unless you come across a second hand one on amazon or pick up a bargain in TK MaXX, I got mine there for £25.00, it will be pricey.xxx happy hunting. Elizabeth David is also a good place to start for the home cook, the real classic tend to be a bit OTT for the average cook, sorry, I don,t know your skill level.xx

Posted on 5 Feb 2014 08:20:20 GMT
Last edited by the author on 5 Feb 2014 08:21:15 GMT
Check secondhand bookshops for a Larousse, too. I found mine in Torremolinos for about a thousand pesetas, back in the day. Had totally missed it and DH held it out to me and said, "Is this interesting at all?" Nearly took his arm off grabbing it!! There is a paperback edition of Julia Child's book, too, which you might find in the secondhand sellers as a lot of people get given it and find it too ambitious.

Posted on 5 Feb 2014 10:11:58 GMT
Bearman says:
Larousse is currently available in the Warehouse Deals for £26.

Posted on 5 Feb 2014 11:08:23 GMT
Last edited by the author on 5 Feb 2014 11:11:58 GMT
pixie says:
You might find this interesting too

The Complete Robuchon
He is highly regarded in the restaurant world..has a tasting menu at his London restaurant L'Atelier check out the menu and a place on the left bank.

Posted on 5 Feb 2014 11:49:47 GMT
Bearman says:
The following are all French classics, and Cuisine Minceur is particularly good (though I lent it to someone years ago and never got it back :-(

Cuisine Gourmande
La Bonne Cuisine De Madame E. Saint-Ange: The Essential Companion for Authentic French Cooking
Michel Guerard's Cuisine Minceur

Posted on 5 Feb 2014 14:09:36 GMT
Hi Kieran, not much help are we, got all overexcited and threw our favourites at you. Let us know which one you settled on. The world is your lobster.xx

In reply to an earlier post on 5 Feb 2014 16:24:24 GMT
For a brief senior moment I did a double take as I thought you were referring to the French tax-avoided cheese Reblochon.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reblochon_cheese
It seemed to feature heavily on the menus in the Savoie region when I was there a few weeks ago. Very nice... A whole one from the market ponged out my suitcase on the way home.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Savoie

In reply to an earlier post on 5 Feb 2014 17:50:57 GMT
pixie says:
Makes a great tartiflette!

Posted on 6 Feb 2014 12:05:23 GMT
Last edited by the author on 6 Feb 2014 12:07:31 GMT
Why can I never find an Ali Bab I can afford? If ever a book needed reissuing that's the one.

Yes, I saw them. No, I can't afford one.
There's also this: Testicles: Balls in Cooking and Culture which showed up when I searched Ali Bab!!

In reply to an earlier post on 6 Feb 2014 12:46:08 GMT
pixie says:
What's an Ali bab ori?

In reply to an earlier post on 6 Feb 2014 14:21:38 GMT
Encyclopedia of Practical Gastronomy

That's The Daddy among cordon bleu cooks. Even more than the Larousse.
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Discussion in:  cooking discussion forum
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Initial post:  4 Feb 2014
Latest post:  6 Feb 2014

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