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Alain Ducasse's Culinary Dictionary
on 11 December 2006
Review of Alain Ducasse's Culinary Dictionary
Hard to know how far culinary gods can go for further recognition when their empires are booming. I was truly disappointed by this tome, which should have been ambitiously wonderful had it been given more consideration and time to perfect.
Perhaps it would like to be an encyclopedia but rather seems to this reader to be intense cookbook trying to cover all fancy gastronomic bases. One can, of course, get ideas but recipes appear not properly tested so you need to have a serious command of the kitchen to find your way with stocks, sauces, details of the dish etc. In this way, the average serious cook may feel intimidated. After seven hundred recipes, I rather doubt too many copies will have that worn-in feeling a great cookbook develops when used and loved.
The translation into English is full of mistakes. Once remaindered for a good price - the book will be worth it for gorgeous photographs. The original or updated Larousse Gastronomique from 1996 is full of cross references, fun, traditional, inspiring and anything you want it to be in comparison except perhaps his presentation of so-called `haute, haute' cuisine. Hard to know how much Ducasse wanted to look like the king along with the five chefs who assisted in this endeavor. How much more does he need to show off.
As a serious foodie, serious amateur chef for thirty-five years and writer, I prefer to rave not demote. In this case, sadly, the book might do better as an impressive doorstop with a top brand name.