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Customer reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
A Taste of My Life
Format: Paperback|Change
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on 5 March 2012
What a wonderful autobiography! This is just magical; whether you are a 'foodie' or not, Monsieur Blanc's memories of growing up in the Besancon area of France simply sing with a freshness and zest of expression and a real appreciation of what it means to be well-fed within a large, exuberant and loving family. And to add a touch of 'seasoning' to an already well-peppered dish, it is very, very funny!

Raymond gives a recipe for rabbit in mustard and says that this meat divides France and Britain - in France the lapin is a meal, in the UK it is a pet. I have only eaten rabbit once ( at 'Rules' in Covent Garden and boy! was it good! ) since my childhood in Yorkshire, and I have never cooked it; yet my Mother, a working-class mill-hand from Leeds, used to make a rabbit stew with carrot gravy to die for, served with the creamiest mashed potatoes and Yorkshire Puddings ( as only a Yorkshire-person who knows the very simple but vital secret ingredient can make...). So there I was, transported by Raymond Blanc's Lapin a la Moutard back to the days of my childhood in the '50's, longing to acquire a bunny and cook it like my mother did. Alas, she died many decades ago, so I will never be able to ask her whether she pan-fried and sealed it before putting the jointed rabbit into the tin casserole pot with baby onions and carrots - the mystery remains.

For everyone who can appreciate the turn of the seasons and the food they each bring to perfection, this is a brilliant book. Bon appetit, and Raymond - merci beaucoup et sante!
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on 22 February 2010
I've always been fascinated by Raymond Blanc; why did he come to the UK, why has he stayed, how did he get started - it's a fascinating story. But, don't expect a connected narrative; it is more a collection of stories, ideas and recipes and is very cleverly put together so that each informs the other in the sequence of his life. I'm guessing that M. Blanc does not get much time for writing and wants to make it count!

I found particularly interesting some of the general comments on cooking; Chapter Twenty-four is called Thought and is about salt and seasoning in general. And not the least is the observation which I have known, mutely, all my latter cooking life, that when you add seasoning during the progress of the cooking, it will differ in strength and effect. I know that's obvious, but boy, does it need saying. With some dishes if you forget an ingredient it behoves you to think long and hard about the effects of adding it in later; garlic and salt are two things that spring to mind where the effects are totally different, if added at the start or at the end. Worth buying for the generic advice alone.

The insight into his childhood and French country life is fascinating to a francophile like myself (and for more of the same in visual form, watch the beautiful and poetic Etre et Avoir; it's subtitled, but very much worth watching).
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 3 November 2017
Very nicely written. I find that Raymond Blanc always comes across as a very warm genuine person in his TV appearances, mirrored in the way his contemporaries and his staff talk to him in a relaxed friendly manner as if they genuinely like him. The tone of voice, the body language and his self deprecating bumbling style all come across in his style of writing taking you through the story of his life and career so far. Each chapter leads to some memorable event or other, (e.g. cooking for the Queen Mother), and is then punctuated with a recipe pertaining to what he cooked at that event. Lovely book by a lovely cook.
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on 3 February 2013
I found the story of Raymond Blanc's life a gripping read. The recipes here can be quite complicated but he dishes out good tips that any aspiring chef would find useful. However, it is not the recipes or tips that make the book so great but rather it is the story about his life that I found most inspiring. Through his life story and the ups and downs that he relates, I can really appreciate and admire his perseverance, determination and his doggedness in sticking to his principles. I was very moved by how he sought to be best waiter back in France and would take pride in serving his customers well even when carrying out mundane tasks, and how he would polish the glasses till they shone. He took such great pride in his work; it is both inspiring and humbling to read. This kind of work ethic is sorely lacking in today's young and if I could, I would make every young person read this book when they first venture out to the working world.
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on 2 November 2013
What an inspiring book. Raymond Blanc is a very honest man - very refreshing to find in this day and age. What I particularly like is that Monsieur Blanc does not try to whitewash his business failures and challenges. Everything is told - warts and all!
It would be difficult not to admire such dedication. As you would expect from a master chef, his recipes and explanations of the techniques behind them are very informative. Unlike some other recipe books I have found the recipes in this book work just as they are written (although our oven temperature is not precise, but we have learned to adapt in all our baking cooking).
If you are interested in cooking I am sure you will find this a good read.
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on 4 February 2014
A friend lent me her copy of this book and I had to have a copy of my own. This is the best book about food, family and love that I have read in as long as I can remember.
Raymond Blanc is truly gifted and the way he writes about his childhood and growing up in France is wonderful. Whilst this is NOT a cookery book, the techniques, background and recipes have helped me understand how to improve my cooking. His dedication to improving and perfecting things is fascinating.
However the most fundamental part of his story is, for me, about his love of family, friends and his passion and integrity for food and the terroir.
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on 16 February 2014
A wonderful book which explores the personality, through descriptions of his untiring work and drive for perfection, of one of our best-loved culinary icons. Raymond Blanc's philosophising about food is accompanied by key recipes perfected through deep thought and much experimentation. One arrives at the conclusion that while success and perfection can never be guaranteed, working very hard reduces the odds against failure. The whole account of his life - so far - is expressed with great humour and humility which makes the book a pleasure to read even for those who are not wedded to their kitchens.
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on 24 February 2011
I have many many books - especially cook books - & have to rate this as one of the nicest & most inspirational I have read recently.
Apart from the quality of writing that other reviewers have described along with the general gist of the book, I would like to add that I have tried many of the given recipes interspersed within the text & found nearly all of them to be delicious & well explained.
The most useful being the marvelous method for cooking any veg quickly, healthily & tastily (with a knob of butter, hardly any water & a high heat) - not really a recipe I know, but it's great when you can take away a really useful tip from a book that you can use on a regular basis without further reference.
Highly recommended.
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on 24 May 2017
A well written enjoyable read with amusing anecdotes. An added bonus was the recipes which I was not expecting. If you enjoy watching Monsieur Blanc on the television, I would recommend this book.
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on 29 December 2014
Thoroughly enjoyable foodie read about Monsieur Blanc's humble beginnings to his current multi-branch success of eateries, with a generous seasoning of Maman Blanc's home-style recipes that ignited his initial passion and tastebuds as well as some other successful recipes of Raymond's.
Loved reading all the anecdotes and couldn't wait to try out some of the recipes too!

Bon Appetit!
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