(Librarie Larousse, Paris, (1938)

(French Publication in 2000)

(European Coverart published 9/15/2001)

Larousse Gastronomique
By Robuchon, Joel editor

When have you ever sat down and just wanted to read and encyclopedia. Larousse Gastronomique is the type of book to just sit down and spend your Saturday evening learning more about the food that you love to eat. I found myself reading it cover to cover. My only wish was that it was in a .pdf format so that I could load it to my clié so I could carry it with me whenever I am bored and waiting.

Since its first publication in 1938, Larousse Gastronomique has been the definitive reference for food service professionals and avid home chefs. Larousse Gastronomique has always been Julia Child's "most important and reliable source of information not only for French cuisine but for cooking in general."

Larousse Gastronomique is an encyclopedia of food and cooking that explains just about everything there is to know about history, terminology, culinary techniques, types of food, menu items with accompanying abridged recipes. Chapters range from A to Z, starting with Abaisse and ending with Zuppa Inglese. The format is massive, 1350 pages in this volume. The new edition is trying to shift its focus to more of a world cuisine, but there is still the strong emphasize on European gastronomy. Lets face it the encyclopedia is "oh so French." According to the preface, Larousse Gastronomique "bears witness to the revolution in the availability of food and the art and science of cooking that has taken place over the last thirty years...it eschews the outdated and rigid notions that inhibit creativity, while accepting that authenticity and an uncompromising approach to quality are the foundations of a reference work."

New sections include; American regional dishes, Chinese and Japanese cuisine, modern culinary appliances, latest nutritional information, new wine entries, contemporary ingredients, current food technology, and new illustrations.

Many of the new and updated ingredients have origins in countries around the globe. For example: Bagna Cauda (a hot dip from Northern Italy), Garam Masala (an Indian spice mixture), Morcilla (sausage from Spain), Mafé (a Senegalese dish), Buzet (Red AOC wines from a small vine-growing area situated east of Agen in southwestern France), Mombin (a fruit found in Central America, Africa and Asia), Barramundi (fish popular in Australia), Baumkuchen (an Austrian festival cake), Taillaule (pastry from Neuchatel, Switzerland), Tyropita (Greek cheese pie), Torsk (fish found off the coasts of Scotland, Europe and Canada), Tiliapia (African fish, farmed in the U.S.), B'Stilla (pigeon pie popular in Morocco and Fez), Tamarillo (fruit of a tree of the Solanaceae family, originally from Peru). Some of the new ingredient entries are more familiar to us here in the United States: Bagel, Blueberry, Brownie, Ginger Ale, Maytag, Guacamole, and Eggs Benedict, and Tempura.

For years to come, I am sure this book will remain in the primary cookbook spot in my kitchen. It is truly fascinating and fun to just discover all the secrets hidden within its pages. I can see why this title is considered a staple for the professional chef. It is just a book to inspire your creative talents to be born.

Reviewed by Priscilla Meredith 2003