74 of 82 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: The Fat Duck Cookbook (Hardcover)Having hesitated with the first deluxe edition (The Big Fat Duck Cookbook) due to the heavy pricetag, I was all too eager to buy this copy at a lower price. To be honest, it feels like I've stolen it when you compare the quality and price to other 'normal' cookbooks on the market. The book is divided into three parts; History, Recipes and Science.
It is this thoroughness and attention to detail which I think is often overlooked in the reviews of the other edition which proclaim it as a 'coffee table' book, which at least appreciates the artistry! Sure enough, it would be very eye catching and enjoyable as a read for guests and at this price I suppose this could be enough, but for those interested in more, it certainly has it.
The history section is an autobiography by Heston on his career with contributions such as the Foreword. It is littered throughout with custom illustrations which I personally find well contrasted and unlike some other books you do not feel like the pages are wasted when there is no text.
The largest section is the recipes which are mostly illustrated with a photo, further intensely colourful illustrations and a full commentary on any details not in the recipe such as its origin, technical intricacies and further anecdotal spiel, all of which I personally find complimentary to the whole book. Many have complained that the dishes require a team of people and extravagant equipment to cook, which is true for all of them if you wish to do it in a day. However, I think a small number of the recipes would be possible in the home as in some cases components can be set aside for considerable time leaving the core until just before serving. That being said, I have yet to cook from it but I have my eye on a few of the simpler ones to start. Unfortunately, some would ultimately be impossible to recreate fully without thousands of pounds worth of specialist chemical equipment.
The last section on science is more like an appendix of the 'equipments, ingredients and techniques' used at Heston's restaurant. Following this is a comprehensive watered down contribution from various academics associated with the field on subject areas such as taste perception, ingredient properties and flavour release.
Even if someone somehow mistakenly bought this cookbook at this price thinking it would have classic recipes for the kitchen, I cannot see how they would be disappointed with what they had bought instead. Time to find a liquid nitrogen home delivery service...!
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 3 Oct 2009 12:10:07 BDT
Mrs. B. Jane M. Hudson says:
Other than the huge price tag what does the expensive version contain that the £17-50 version doesn't? I'm thinking of getting the £17-50 version for my daughter in law, a chef. It is her suggestion but as she doesn't live in the UK she won't have seen it. Your description makes it sound a bit like an academic text book rather than a cookery book!
In reply to an earlier post on 3 Oct 2009 17:38:09 BDT
A. K. Pitts says:
If your daughter-in-law has hinted at this book specifically then I think she will most likely know what to expect with regards Heston's intensity towards the 'science of cooking'. It is by no means an academic textbook, but as I said the final section does contain further detail into the lab equipment he uses and contains contributions from scientists. However, the recipe section makes up the bulk of the book, and as far as I know it is not available anywhere else yet on it's own. I think the book makes for a very 'complete' portrait of his restaurant and cooking style as all three sections are complimentary. I have not seen the more expensive version, but the page count is exactly the same which leads me to believe there is no content difference. To be honest, I prefer the look of the cover on the cheaper version!
In reply to an earlier post on 11 Nov 2009 11:37:21 GMT
i saw this at a cookbook store in paris and the woman in charge, assured me it contains everything that the larger version contains,
i only had time to do a quick perusal, yet this seems to be the case. i have the larger one and this seems to be accurate information,
and is a heck of a lot more wieldy, as you'd imagine. it is and amazing cookbook as well as a portrait of this remarkable chef, and what led to his becoming who he is today.
i've often maintained that there are certain cookbooks that will make one a better chef simply in the reading, and the recipes are a gift of sorts. this book is one of those.
your daughter will love it, and you , of course !!
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