Larousse Gastronomique

Discussion in 'Cookbook Reviews' started by kylew, Dec 28, 2001.

  1. kylew

    kylew

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    My very awesome girlfriend gave me Larousse Gastronomique for Christmas. I have never seen anything quite like it. It weighs about 20 pounds and seems to have every piece of information about everything culinary known to man. Has anyone else seen this tome?
     
  2. athenaeus

    athenaeus

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    Kylie!

    I saw you mentioned it in another thread.

    In my opinion, there is no book like this.

    Rarely have I looked for something that has to do with food, beverages or even the etiquette and I haven't found my answers in there.

    You know, somethings will remain classical for ever and very difficult to be replaced even by Internet!!!
    Have you read in the introduction the story of this masterpiece?

    I read this story several times , as I was waiting for something to be baked in my oven.

    BTW I have a mania with any kind of dictionnary, this is by far my favourite. Ok, after Liddel-Scott.

    :)

    PS That's why I find the attempts of Alain's something of the world to immitate this work, let's say sympatique but useless.
     
  3. kokopuffs

    kokopuffs

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    I won't dare venture that it's the ultimate culinary reference text but it offered obscure information which couldn't be found easily elsewhere.;) :)
     
  4. kylew

    kylew

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    I just got it last night. I haven't had a chance to spend any time with it. I am going to go home from work tonight, fire up a pot of coffee and lose my self in it. I can't wait!
     
  5. athenaeus

    athenaeus

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    For a DICTIONNARY is the best by far.

    :)
     
  6. cape chef

    cape chef

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    This book should be in the homes and kitchens of anyone who is serious about culinary arts.

    This is one of the "kitchen bibles"
    cc
     
  7. isa

    isa

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    I've had my copy for a few years. I wouldn't part with it. Just about everything is in this great book. Not only in terms of definitions and recipes but also historic references. It's usually by my side in case I need it.


    I am really happy for you Kyle, I am sure you will love it! Only problem you may have with this great book is to put it aside. :)
     
  8. bouland

    bouland

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    With the Larousse Gastronomic it is important also state which edition you have. Most of the English language versions available are variations of the Prosper Montagne edition that was originally published in 1938, and revised periodically to give it a modern look.

    In 2000, a new "millenium" edition was released. This edition is a totally new book prepared under the eyes of a committee headed by Joel Robuchon. To my knowledge, this edition has not been translated into English, yet. It is available in French as a single hard-back book or in paper in multiple volumes. At well over 1200 pages and with a shipping weight of 10.5 kilos, this book has a lot to offer. Based on the description on Amazon of the English language version, it doesn't sound like the that version is the same as the French one.
     
  9. kylew

    kylew

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    This book has 1350 pages in a single hardbound volume and weighs 7.5 pounds. It is a 2001 translastion of the 2000 French work prepared under M. Robuchon's watchful eye and publshed by Clakson Potter Publishing which is a Random House imprint. It looks to be the real deal.


    [​IMG]
     
  10. athenaeus

    athenaeus

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    Yes you have the latest edition. I have read that it is translated in English.
    This must be an expensive book.

    What do you think until now?
     
  11. bouland

    bouland

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    KyleW: Yep, based on your description, the new version has now been translated into English. Amazon is still showing Prosper Montagne as the editor, but that may be a mistake on their part. The two pictures of the inside of the book seem to match the layout of the French version.

    I'm curious, have the recipes been adapted or translated?

    [Now if only they'd translate Ali-Bab's Gastronomie pratique. Etudes culinaires suivies du Traitement de l'obésité des gourmands into English...]
     
  12. kylew

    kylew

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    I'm not sure if you mean fro "adapted" or "translated" to be mutually exclusive. I know that they have been translated 'cuz there are hundreds of them. Whether they have been altered I cannot say. This is a very cool book!
     
  13. bouland

    bouland

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    Some cook books originally written in French are simply translated into English. The metric units of measure are maintained, ingredients not generally available here are left in the recipes, and the translator doesn't Americanize the recipe. Unfortunately, most original French sources get Americanized heavily with mistakes introduced when measurements are converted to the English system, ingredients substituted, and the recipe made unrecognizable by the original author. [This even happens in France where the cookbook editiors will change aspects of a recipe that doesn't make sense to them and ruin the recipe. One chef I know had a recipe for a soup made with asparagus juice changed by the editor. The printed recipe said to cook the asparagus before juicing them. The original recipe called for juicing raw asparagus. Anybody who cooked the asparagus and then put them in the juicer would be very disappointed. Another chef I know there was asked by a magazine for a particular salmon recipe. The photographer from the magazine came and took pictures of the process to assemble the dish and the final results. The editor interviewed the chef over the phone. The recipe that was printed didn't even come close to matching the pictures. I guess s**t happens everywhere.]
     
  14. kylew

    kylew

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    The culinary equivalent of losing something in translation :) The ingredients are listed in metric and english weights and volume measure. Oven temps are given in centigrade, Farenheit and "Gas"# i.e. 180 C, 350 F, Gas 4. It looks like they have covered most bases. I haven't seen any ingredient that looks too exotic. So far so good :)
     
  15. isa

    isa

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    Why didn't I think of that! Next time I'm in the book store, I'll check out the English Larousse see what they replace baker's yeast with in the Belgian Waffle recipe.


    I use to have all the info somewhere but lost it in the move.
     
  16. kylew

    kylew

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    In the recipe for Liege Waffles, 15g (1/2 oz., 1 cake) fresh (compressed) yeast or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried yeast :) I knew I was going to love this book:) Want the rest?
     
  17. isa

    isa

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    Wow thanks Kyle. I don't need the rest, it's all I needed.


    Read the few pages on the history of French cuisine, if it hasn't change it's fascinating.

    The different sections on manners is too funny. Did you know it was impolite to compliment the host on how good the food taste?


    I bet you can't guess the answer. ;)
     
  18. nancya

    nancya

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    This is so unfair. I haven't finished reading the books I got this fall...and now you have me yearning for another.

    sigh.
     
  19. athenaeus

    athenaeus

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    I have spent a lot of time with this book and with it's various editions.I have my grandma's French edition of 1938 and a friend gave me some Christmas the English edition of 1977.
    So I think I have a good image

    Larousse was written by people that knew perfectly well that they were writing the Bible and they were right!!
    So very soon this was a French book for an International Career and this is the important.
    It hasn't to do with translation. In the mind of people they wrote it , there is only on way to do things : THEIR way.
    So, under this perspective it's an international book.They do not care to adapt the recipes or the etiquette.

    In Gordon Bleu of Paris I asked the same question to a chef.Why in the English edition they haven't changed the etiquette.
    I mean the French protocol is much different than the English from the most important to the minor details.Why they have kept the French protocol in the English edition?
    Do you know what he replied?

    He lifted his left eyebrow and told me : " Because, ma cherie, there is only one way in the Kitchen. Ours "

    I am glad you enjoy this book . I agree with Isa. The most fascinating part is the History of La Cuisine Francaise.
    Because whether we like it or not there is only one way in the kitchen : THEIRS

    :)

    PS Nancy you know my relationship with books but I think that the reason I do not share your excitement with the latest cook books is Larousse Gastronomique. As the Brits say " You see one, you've seen them all ".
     
  20. kylew

    kylew

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    I hate to admit it, but I agree. There is only one way to learn the basics in the kitchen. If you know the basics, you can be creative on your own. I think that's why I'm drawn to "text" books rather than "cook"books.