48 of 49 people found the following review helpful
The essential book for any versatile kitchen is heavy to handle but is worth its weight in caviar, truffles and whatnot. Although you can't quite slip it in a pocket to help decipher cryptic menus when on the road (even the Concise edition is a bit too big for that), it comes into form in the kitchen as an accessible authoritative text on French cooking (and a few others to a certain extent). The encyclopædic nature of the book, with comprehensive descriptions of produce and dishes alike serve as an inexhaustible source of ideas as well as the settler of many a bet for those in such a way inclined.
The photography is excellent, sober and descriptive without dominating and the articles factual and to the point. Although it also includes a large number of recipes it should primarily be considered an encyclopædia rather than cookbook.
- If you have only got room for one book in your kitchen, this should be the one.
65 of 67 people found the following review helpful
on 4 October 2001
I have been using this all time great cookery book, written for serious cooks, for more than 30 years. I hope the updated version has all the information I have found in my old one and more.
This book is organised alphabetically and contains excellent french recipes for every food you can think of. One of my favourite sections is the hors d'oeuvres - this book taught me to add variety and to mix and match, for example marinaded mushrooms, artichokes in vinaigrette,frog's legs a la greque. I recommend the section on presentation. Another favourite section is the one on lobster. There are 31 separate recipes for this lovely shell fish, with clear photos showing you how to cut it up for Lobster a la Americaine.
I would recommend this book for every kitchen if you are entertaining or even if you want to provide your family with a really well thought through french style meal.
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on 5 June 2007
.....and this new edition reflects the culinary revolution of the closing decades of the 20th Century.'
Well, the question is how do you review a tome of no less than 1350 pages?
The cover quotes, from Jamie Oliver:
'An all-time classic cookbook....a real must for any serious chef.'
and Gary Rhodes:
'This new edition has taken the book even further.'
help to ease the conscience for the really serious cooks among us......and help justify the investment, too!
'This edition bears witness to the revolution in the availability of food and the art and science of cooking that has taken place over the last 30 years.
Not only does this book acknowledge our debt to the past, but it recognises the modern approach and welcomes changes that are on the horizon.
It eschews the outdated and rigid notions that inhibit creativity, while accepting that authenticity and an uncompromising approach to quality are the foundations of a reference work.
At the same time, it illustrates that gastronomy is a multilayered subject and one that repays closer study with new sources of inspiration and pleasure.'
In alphabetical order, this dictionary format book starts with 'abaisse', 'abalone' , 'abattoir'........and ends with.....,'zucchini', 'zuppa ingles', on page 1310, with everything you can possibly think of in between, before the spectacular index kicks in.
Each definition is well written and given significant depth where required or has a link to an alternative, e.g 'zucchini' sends you to 'courgette'......so really useful for those more taxing crossword clues, too!
Interspersed with sumptuous photography, e.g.:-
(1) 'Ninon Langoustines' on page 671 which has a full colour plate.
(2) 'Cuts of Meat`, e.g. lamb on pages 664/665 which compares British and American cuts, followed by a step-by-step guide to preparing a rack of lamb, and various recipes.
(3) Regional photographs e.g. for `Provence' and maps e.g. `The Wine-producing Regions of Italy', defining 'The North', 'Tuscany and the Central Region' and 'The South and the Islands', plus the seas.
(4) Techniques, such as 'Making Chocolate Shavings' on page 290, or 'Cutting Up an Un-Cooked Lobster', on page 694.
(5) 'Types of Tomato', tomato products and tomatoes in cookery, pages 1216-1220.
(6) 'Freshwater Fish' and 'Sea Fish' on pages 486-493, including buying, preparing, filleting and skinning round fish and Dover sole.
A small taste of the recipes included within:
* French-style Double Crust Apple Pie
* Macaroni with Seafood
* Fish Fumet
* Lemon Délice
* Lobster Cardinal
* Béchamel Sauce
* Navarin of Lamb
* Passion Fruit Sorbet
* Simple Beef Consommé
* Spiced Gingerbread Fruit Charlotte
* Avocado Salad with Crab
* Artichoke Ragout
* Asparagus au Gratin
* Cape Gooseberry Jam
* Mushroom Purée
* Foie Gras Ravioli
* Boiled Salt Pork with Pease Pudding
* Hungarian Soup with Liver Dumplings
* Flaky Pastry
* Mocha Cake
* Compote of Prunes
* Redcurrant Jelly
* Chicken Waterzooi
* Cold Tomato Mousse
* Turbot with Morels
* Tarte Tatin
In a nutshell, a beautifully produced slip-cased book containing everything from simple, expected definitions such as 'sundae', 'ling' or 'olive', to the more unexpected - e.g. 'Liquorice Water', 'Superstitions of the Table', or 'Table Etiquette and Manners' ....complete with a dark red fabric ribbon to keep your page.
No doubt about it - this is luxury!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Portrayed by some, including somewhat understandably the publishers, as 'the world's greatest cookery encyclopedia' this is a book which can justifiably try to claim that title. Whether it would win that title is debatable but it's certainly a strong candidate. It's excellent when it chooses to cover a subject but not comprehensive and not for the novice cook.
Cookery is just too large a subject to cover in a single volume so it's unreasonably to expect any single volume work to be encyclopedic so there are understandable gaps in Larousse's coverage of it's subject. This won't teach you how to cook from scratch, despite containing descriptions of many cooking techniques and recipes, but this is a reference work. This is the book you turn to after you've learned the basics of how to cook.
If you have reached that point of being confident in the kitchen and want to get more from what you've learned so far this is a book for you. If you're a gastronome and want a reference to tell you more about the background of what you're eating then this is for you. If you're just learning to cook and are looking for one book to cover everything then you're probably better off with Delia.
For those who do want this as a reference then remember it is excellent but not comprehensive. When it chooses to cover a subject it is very good but what it chooses to cover is a bit random, for example the entry on croissants describes their history, the basic process to make them and gives half a dozen different recipes and variations but the entry for danish pastry rattles off a quick one paragraph description and mentions nothing more. Also the indexing is a bit disorganised so there is an entry for black pudding but nothing for white pudding, on the other hand though it has entries for boudin blanc but not boudin noir! The gaps in its coverage reflect its slightly francophile emphasis but the indexing is just one of those things that mean without a little food knowledge, in that case knowing that boudin noir and black pudding are pretty much the same thing, this won't be that useful.
This has a home in my kitchen as it sits among thirty or forty other cook books. If I was to just have three or four on the shelf then it wouldn't be one of those books but it is worth the money once you are buying you second or third set of cookbooks.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 1 November 2007
So, you're in the kitchen planning (or heaven help you if you're mid way through cooking for) a dinner party and you look at the Celeb Chef's guidance and ask to the heavens "what is he on about". This is where Larousse comes in. This is not a cookery book by itself, it is a manual to food and drink of a kind that has no competitor. You need to know what an obscure ingredient is, and what you can replace it with if you can't trace it? Look in Larousse. You've got one of those complicated Rick Stein books and he's telling you prepare your vegetables à la Ménagère, and after you've scratched your head for a bit, you reach for Larousse and there you are. This book is amazing, but will not go into the finer details of all food stuffs as this is not what it's for, and there are loads of books on the market place on subjects such as soya and the like.
OK, so there have been some mixed reports on this book with some good and some bad. Take it for what it is; it's an encyclopedia after all, and should be THE standard book for any gastronome. Complaining about lack of in-depth knowledge on one food type, or lack of complex recipes is the same as grumbling about the Encyclopedia Britannica for not having enough of a story line or having an accurate description of the inner workings of a Ford Mondeo! Use it, embrace it, and live by it. Amen.
20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on 23 December 2000
When writing the author Prosper Montagne attempted what some people thought impossible.He tried to capture the history,influences,culture and flair of french food on paper.He succeded in his aim and this book was the result. However times and tastes change and this book has now been upodated.The book contains well over a thousand recipies,some ancient and classic,others modern and trendy.It also contains methods,which are the building blocks of good food,biographies of the various figures who have influenced food and the perception of food throughout the ages.You can find infomation on people from Carme to Escoffier,from Balzac to Tailliavent.The people and the recipies are all here along with illistrations and full colour photos.With extensive info on different cultures and exotic foodstuffs.this book bursts at the seems. Perfect for the keen amatur and the experienced chef alike.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 13 April 2009
This is an absolute must have book for anyone serious about food or cooking. It is the classic reference that explains foods, techniques, regions and contains a recipe for pretty much everything you need. It contains all the basic skills you need to do anything you want to with food, and plenty of specific recipes of all types including some historical classics. Many of the entries combine stories and information about the dish/technique with a recipe or other instruction to tell you how to do it.
For example, the section on Beef contains drawings detailing how the French, British and Americans butcher a carcass differently, with all the different names for the cuts; then has several pages of various beef recipes.
I use mine all the time, particularly when I am trying something new or checking proportions for the basics (like pastry). The last time I used it was last week to check what *should* be in a Coq au vin before I did my own version; it's also interesting enough to dip into randomly when you have some spare time.
Although it looks expensive and there may be other similar books (like Stephanie Alexander's also excellent 'Cook's Companion' and the Delia or Prue Leith stalwarts), this is the original and best. It is well worth the money.
20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on 28 October 2005
Want to know how to serve up 100 year old eggs? Want an explanation of a strawberry? Ever wondered how to butcher that cow in your back garden? Fed up of Ragu and want to cook your own spaghetti bolognese? This book has it all. From the most basic explanations of food to the most complicated (and sometimes disgusting but amusing) recipes, all done to perfection, you will NEVER fail to impress the ones you are cooking for with this Bible of food. Forget any Jamie Oliver rustic recipes or Anthony Worrall Thompson ready steady cook type rubbish (I'm just being honest) - this book should be laminated, not for use in the kitchen, but because you'll be drooling all over it. If you don't like the French, for whatever reason, then you obviously haven't read this book. When it comes to food, they are culinary geniuses - no nation comes close. Method, presentation, style; it's all here. Big functions, small dinner parties, all in detail. Also, it has the ONLY chou(x) pastry recipe that is needed, ever. If anyone uses any other, it's WRONG.
Some people say there's no right and wrong in cooking - they are idiots. Rustic? Schmustic. Perfection? Gastronomique.
If you haven't already guessed, this book comes highly recommended. It's a manual for life.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 3 January 2008
This is a gorgeous book - an absolute joy - and I wish I'd bought it years ago. (The price had always put me off but as far as I am concerned now, it is an investment - and had I known then what I know now, I would have bought fewer 'other' books and used the money saved to buy this one.) It is an absolute mine of information, and if you're interested in food, as I am (and you must be, or you wouldn't be reading this..), I am sure you will find yourself 'dipping' into this book constantly - it makes fascinating reading, and this version is beautifully presented. The pages are crammed with many tempting recipes - certainly, some of these are complicated and more suited to a professional chef, and perhaps this would not be the best choice for a 'first cookbook' for a novice - but there are so many recipes and cooking methods that would be suitable and appealing to anyone with a basic knowledge of cooking. Even the humble potato has a whole host of recipes devoted to it. I find the book to be an invaluable reference aid and now - having enjoyed cooking from an early age, and after 30 years as a 'home cook' - I find my enthusiasm rekindled and my horizons broadened. Nothing left to say really, except perhaps 'bon appetit!'
18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on 1 October 2001
I would challenge you to think of a food or ingredient and not be able to find it in this book (including five different recipes for frogs legs!) Wonderful pictures and detailed descriptions, all beautifully presented in a luxuriously bound and boxed book.