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Customer reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

on 14 March 2005
This is an absolutely superb book, but I wouldn't have expected anything less from Jane Grigson. The background to the recipes makes it a joy to read, and the recipes are easy to follow and invariably delicious. Some of the recipes use ingredients which require an understanding butcher, but most are readily available - and when you've tried some of them (such as the magnificent saucisse de campagne and boudin noir), you'll never want to see the insipid supermarket versions again. The perfect introduction to French charcuterie!
27 people found this helpful
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on 10 July 2010
Charcuterie and French Pork Cookery

If one likes good food in the traditional style this book gives excellent details on how to cook it. Clear and concise instructions and some background information are given. If you want to try Andouillettes, Brains, Pates, or Sausages this is the book for you. Excellent
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on 4 October 2010
I am a Jane Grigson fan and I bought the book to complement my book on Charcuterie by Michael Ruhlman and Brian Rolycyn. It would be especially useful if living or holidaying in France, as Ms Grigson explains what all those interesting looking things are, that are on sale in every town. But it was first published in 1967 and it shows. It is not as well organised as the other book; the index could be better; weights and measures are in imperial, rather than metric; it still lists saltpetre as a curing ingredient, whereas today it has largely been replaced by sodium nitrite or 'pink salt'; some instructions are slightly confusing; and it has not been well edited. Nevertheless, the book contains a lot of interesting and valuable information and I would recommend it for anybody interested in charcuterie in the home, and the recipes that are included.
7 people found this helpful
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on 9 July 2013
Excellent for students of this subject. Would not know where to get most of the ingredients though! Choice is not available in England.
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on 14 February 2017
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on 3 January 2012
A fair book a decent read but not quite what I was looking for. If anyone knows an update version with British measurements and recipes for this kind of skill I would love to know about it. Having said that there are some relevant recipes in this book you just need to search them out and if you like books in the same vein as Elizabeth David this one will not dissapoint you.
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on 14 September 2015
This is a fabulously detailed and comprehensive tome on French charcuterie (albeit a bit risky - some of her pre fridge storage advice would have the health inspectors quaking in their boots). Others have done a great job of listing the contents so I won't duplicate here.


Please don't buy the kindle version. They've clearly used a bit of scanning software to convert from paper to e-version and the book is totally riddled with typos. Maybe not a problem for some people, but a hefty chunk of the French translations are utter disasters. Just be warned.

I've returned my kindle version and I'm off to get a nice second hand one for less.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 9 January 2011
Grigson writes in same vein as Elizabeth David; anecdotal, intimate, discursive. She starts off by taking us into the charcutier's shop to select a picnic; what a delightful idea, and one that gets us immediately in the right frame of mind to approach the subject, but a little heady for the beginner. We are plunged straight away into discussing the right kinds of bread and wine, the selection of picnic stoves, the cuts of pork, and the translation of weights and measures.

From this we move to "Charcuterie Equipment", taking us from buying in the shop to creating at home. While some of the equipment can be improvised easily, other items are likely to be expensive and the days of picking them up on junk stalls at rural markets for a few pence are long gone.

Now equipped, and braced by a section on spices, herbs and sauces, we are plunged into the world of nose-to-tail eating. Many of the recipes, such as those for pates and sausages, are suitable for the ordinary enterprising cook, although at first reading they appear daunting. Others are for the more adventurous, happy to source the ingredients. If you are the Fearnley-Whittingstall type who is killing their own pig, no problem; but in rural areas buying half a pig isn't too tricky. If you don't keep pigs, much of the offal, ironically, will be more easily sourced in the conservative North than in the affluent South of the UK.

Curing your own bacon and ham is usually considered a specialist job, and personally I am a bit daunted by the prospect of attempting something so redolent of the risks of food poisoning. It would also be difficult, even for the smallholder, to get some of the ingredients (5 pints of blood?) unless the chap slaughtering your pig is very co-operative; butchers will often hang onto some of the offal unless you specifically ask for it. On the other hand, the reassurance of those who have commented on this review makes me keener to give it a go.

When this book was written (1967), charcuterie wasn't really available to the ordinary shopper, and day trips to France on the Eurostar mere pipe dreams. On the other hand, local pork butchers and small slaughterhouses were still routine. Even so, I wonder how many cooks actually attempted many of the recipes in those days. While it is charmingly written and very thought-provoking, it is no longer the only practical book for the ordinary cook. Up-to-date, well illustrated alternatives are available; however friends have had problems with the recipes in some. It would seem that this book still earns its place on the shelf, ahead of some of its flashier modern counterparts.
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on 24 November 2007
As smallholders we are always trying to maximise the use of our pigs when they meet with their fate. The River Cottage books helped at the start, but there is plenty more to be done - and with fantastic results. Grigson's book is informative (although you do have to read around each of the recipes, because they do not follow the conventional self-contained instructions. The reading around is not a hardship, and you will invariably find other hints/tips/wyas of processing the animal that distract you from your orignal thoughts).

There are recipes here for using all the pig - and, once you get over our pre-conceived ideas about what is edible, you will find a wide range of flavours opening up to you.
8 people found this helpful
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on 8 June 2005
This book is superb: a real classic. It is an essential book for anyone interested in pork cookery.
6 people found this helpful
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