Whatever happened to Charles Ranhofer's: The Epicurean

Joined Feb 6, 2002
Why is Charles Ranhofer's: The Epicurean not talked about? I was browsing an Ebay auction and came across his book, which was written 10 years before Escoffier, and I am wondering why I have never heard of it. :confused: I don't think price is an issue (1971 reprint $120 - $150, 1920 reprint $400+ and 1st Edition 1894 $500+) since it would only be a history lesson. Unless you think that the price is the reason he isn't mentioned? :confused: I would hazzard a guess that since he hasn't really been mentioned, there was no demand for the book so it went out of print......therefore the price increase.

Charles Ranhofer: Delmonico's chef de cuisine

Little-known cookbook reveals early haute cuisine


Edit: Drat! Should this bee in the Book Shelf Forum??? Please move my post if it is in the wrong forum. :blush: Thought Culinary Students would benefit from a disscussion on Charles Ranhofer from Delmonicos.

Joined Jan 31, 2002
I have certainly heard of Ranhofer and Delmonicos... I'm not sure where I read about it. I suspect it was Patrick Kuh's Haute Cuisine, but it may also have been Trubeck's Haute Cuisine. (Incidently, if you want to buy a book titled Haute Cuisine, go for the Kuh). I can tell you, being a culinary student, that price is a BIG issue. Is it not in print otherwise? If it's not in print, then that probably has a lot to do with it being realtively obscure... What about the Old Time Life's that are supposed to be so good, or some of Sokolov's works that are hard to find. Not to mention Richard Olney, De Grout, Point, Ali-Bab... oh, and God help you if you're interested in checking out von Ruhmor. So, we culinary studnet bibliophiles are stuck reading books about books... which in a lot of ways isn't so bad. As second hand information everything is much more codified, although still badly fractured. Goodness knows I'm a literate guy, and I've slugged it out with many of the English languages more boorish "classics" (**** you Samuel Richards) and lived to tell the tale, but without any context, I have to say that MFK Fisher, Brilliant-Savarin and the like dulled me to near-tears. Especially Fisher, I was not very glad of reading until I read Kuh on Fisher, and then it all made a lot more sense. The very first cook book I ever bought myself was the Escofier cookbook, which was something like handing a space alien the magna carta and a pack of Lucky Strikes and asking him to deduce the history of the western world. Never actually having laid eyes on the text, I can't say for sure, but that might well have something to do with it, too.

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