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Cooking with Pomiane (Modern Library Food) Paperback – February 20, 2001

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Editorial Reviews Review

Gourmet, scientist, and cookbook writer of endearing prose, Edourad de Pomiane's revolutionary approach to French food and diet of his day involved sane, perceptive simplification--a distinctly modern tactic. Cooking with Pomiane, first published in the 1930s and reissued in the Modern Library Food series, encapsulates Pomiane's debunking methods: away with complicated techniques and elaborate sauces; in their place, find concise formulas that discover the essence of their ingredients and celebrate them in simple preparations. Though Pomiane provided precise, even scientific cooking rationales ("Everyone agrees that [fish] must be served [before] the meat course," he writes, "...but such as meal is far too rich in nitrogenous substances"), he is also a beguiling instructor. "Take a bunch of parsley," he advises, "the size of a bunch of violets." Any reader interested in cooking and its modern history will treasure the book.

Beginning with useful information for the host or hostess (for a dinner party, "one should prepare only one good dish," Pomiane advises sensibly), the book then presents over 300 recipes, arranged by course or type, and "a few drinks." Pomiane's revolutionary approach is embodied in his formula for Noodles with Mushrooms, which requires only noodles, mushrooms, butter, and grated Parmesan. Use good ingredients and you have a feast. Though he includes many, albeit streamlined, recipes from the classic canon, such as Artichauts à la Barigoule (artichokes braised with a ham, bread crumb, and onion stuffing), he also supplies recipes that were unconventional in his day, including Choucroute Salad and Piroshki. Readers will also want to prepare such treats as Mousse au Chocolat (chocolate, sugar, eggs, cream) and Pumpkin Gratin (pumpkin, almonds, sugar, an egg, and macaroons). With an introduction by Elizabeth David, the book provides a rare opportunity to meet and learn from an original cooking master. --Arthur Boehm

From Booklist

Cooking with Pomiane recounts how Edouard de Pomiane brought together the art of the kitchen with food science and improved eating standards for both the French and the British. Mark Knoblauch
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Series: Modern Library Food
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Modern Library (February 20, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375757139
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375757136
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,095,746 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By James Ellsworth on April 23, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Writing and broadcasting in the first half of the 20th Century, the food scientist Edouard de Pomiane encouraged French housewives to 'cook their heritage' while facing the increasing complexity of life for a modern French woman. Moving beyond the classic all-day cooking of the housewife, Pomiane pointed to the need to simplify meal preparation in the home. It is not surprising that Ruth Reichl, former restaurant critic for the New York times and Editor of Gourment Magazine, selected this book for a Modern Library edition. The introduction is by Elizabeth David, the outstanding British food writer who also wrote a major book on French cuisine. Pomiane's 'hasty cooking' formula also inspired French-born chef/author Pierre Franey to create his landmark New York Times column 'Sixty Minute Gourmet.' This is a significant cook/food book and it is also highly readable. Pomiane's writing persona is evident on every page of his text: he is an avuncular uncle who wants you to eat sensibly and to eat well. He intends for you to be successful in realizing the recipes for the dishes he presents. He knows that every penny (centime) counts at home but that attractive and tasty meals are still imperative.

This is not Julia Child's Art of French Cooking. In 276 pages (plus a good index, organized by courses),Pomiane starts at the beginning. He reminds us of the duties of both host and guest and the importance of preparing and sharing digestible food. He sets out simple explanations of the major cooking processes: boiling, frying, grilling, roasting and braising. He offers some sensible remarks on the application of various levels of heat in cooking.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By K. Jensen on July 23, 2003
Format: Paperback
This is the one cooking book I reach for time and time again. Everything in here turns out fabulously well, and the text is so humorous and engaging, I find myself just reading it for pleasure. One word of warning; it will require some adaptations if you are on a fat free diet, as many of the recipes are loaded with butter and cream. Of course, that's what makes them so delicious!
Try this book, it's the best.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Shadow Woman on September 27, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is my favourite cookbook-- or should I say my favourite food cookbook (The Anarchist's Cookbook is my fave overall). There are lots of recipes in here for all dishes and occasions- be it a fancy dinner or a not-so-fancy dessert- and the good news is, most of them are of the minimalist tradition, so no complicated procedures or fancy-schmansy ingredients. Just plain old good food, and believe me, if you follow Pomiane's and tips, you'll be cooking like a pro in no time!
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Karin Roos on September 11, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have the original Pomiane cookbook - in french. Unfortunately this translation does not do it justice. For example confusing the" pâte" ( as in pâte a Choux ) meaning dough and pate - With the accent on "E" meaning - well pate ( as in liver pate).
Also missing are his funny "asides"
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Terri J. Rice TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 11, 2010
Format: Paperback
This is much, much more than a cook book, it is a delightful tale of cooking amidst the cookbook.

Edouard de Pomiane has produced one of those cook books that can be read for shear enjoyment apart from ever stepping foot in the kitchen, though his recipes are fabulous too.

He talks to you about being not just a good host or hostess but a good guest too, because that also requires skill and grace: "As soon as one is seated at table between fellow guests, one is torn by conflicting feelings- a desire to enjoy the meal to the full whilst respecting the claims of good manners, and a reluctance to ruin one's digestion." And, "Don't make a bloomer on arrival. If the house is luxurious, let your coat fall carelessly into the hands of a waiting servant, pull off your gloves and make your enteé. If the household is a modest on your hostess will greet you in the hall, which is much more cozy. In this case, have the courage to..."

de Pomiane takes the mystery out of cooking so that the actual cooking will not be a mystery and you can proceed with confidence even while not following a recipe exactly.

His recipes are very European: Choux Pastry Gnocchi, Tourte au Mouton, Platée de Pommes, Tarte Pâtissiere.

I just love his comments throughout, "When the first garden strawberries of the year make their timid appearance they are still small and terribly expensive. How is one to eat them? With cream and a trace of cognac or Maraschino? No, one must savor to the full the flavor of these first fruits of early summer. I like to sprinkle them with pure white sugar and add nothing else to distract from their own fresh fragrance."

It is clear to me why Ruth Reichl chose this book in her Modern Library Food series.
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