Top positive review
20 people found this helpful
Much more than a cookbook--it's an educational experience.
on 21 December 2011
I know that this legendery book has been around over 12 years but it is just one that I return to time & again....Here are some reasons for this:
The French Laundry Cookbook is much more than a cookbook--it's an educational experience. As the first cookbook from Thomas Keller, chef and proprietor of culinary temple The French Laundry in Napa Valley, it not only provides the recipes for 150 of his elegant creations, but takes you on a journey through essays, profiles and exceptional photography.
The book is separated into six categories: canapés, first course, fish, meat, cheese and dessert. This cookbook is not for the novice chef, as Keller's recipes can be very involved--they are time-consuming and require commitment. They are the exact recipes the restaurant uses daily and are not simplified for at-home cooking, although helpful tips are included to make some aspects easier.
Throughout the book, Keller takes brief pauses to elaborate on subjects he feels are significant, such as "The Importance of Hollandaise" and "The Importance of Trussing a Chicken." Stocks, sauces, powders and vegetable cutting techniques are also featured and explained in detail. Profiles are used to give the ingredients a personality, such as "The Pittsburgh Lamber," "The Mushroom Lady," and "The Accidental Fishmonger." Each story teaches you something about that ingredient and offers a new appreciation for it.
The recipes, as well as the dining experience at The French Laundry, begin with one of Keller's favorite dishes, "cornets," or salmon tartare with sweet red onion crème fraîche. Other featured recipes include soft poached quail eggs with applewood smoked bacon, Chesapeake Bay soft-shell crab "sandwich," citrus-marinated salmon, and saddle of rabbit in applewood-smoked bacon with caramelized fennel and fennel oil.
If you have a passion for culinary art, and the time to invest in it, The French Laundry Cookbook is a must-have. Keller's approach to classical French cuisine encourages chefs to slow down and fully engage themselves in cooking--something that has been replaced by the fast food and frozen dinners mentality of today's society