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La Varenne Pratique Hardcover – September 17, 1989

4.8 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

This massive undertaking is a comprehensive guide to the ingredients and techniques of "classic modern cuisine." There are thousands of photographs--of unusual ingredients, of difficult-to-master techniques, of artful presentations of the recipes included almost as a bonus--and pages of invaluable facts and information. Far more ambitious than the California Culinary Academy's Cooking A to Z ( LJ 2/15/89), this is closer to an expanded version of Jacques Pepin's classics La Methode ( LJ 2/15/80) and La Technique ( LJ 3/15/77) . Fascinating reading for the serious cook, and an essential reference for any collection.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

See how to cook with La Varenne Pratique

How to fillet a fish

How to decorate a cake

And how to select, prepare, cook, and serve virtually everything else. It's all in La Varenne Pratique, the most comprehensive and accessible illustrated guide to cooking ever published.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Clarkson Potter; 1st American Ed edition (September 17, 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0517573830
  • ISBN-13: 978-0517573839
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 1.8 x 11.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #41,325 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Important Information

Ingredients
Example Ingredients

Directions
Example Directions

More About the Author

Anne Willan has had an extraordinary career in the culinary arts and is recognized as one of the world's preeminent authorities on French cooking. She founded École de Cuisine La Varenne in Paris in 1975.

Inducted into the James Beard Foundation Awards Hall of Fame for her "body of work" in May, 2013, Anne has more than 50 years of experience as a teacher, author and culinary historian. She has written more than 30 books, including the influential La Varenne Pratique and the 17-volume, photo-illustrated Look and Cook series, showcased in a 26-part PBS program which she hosted. Her books have been translated into more than two dozen foreign language editions.

In July, 2014, Anne was awarded the rank of Chevalier of the French Legion of Honor for her accomplishments in promoting the gastronomy of France. Much in demand as a teacher, Anne has given cooking demonstrations and lectures throughout North America as well as Europe, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and Chile, and appeared often on The Martha Stewart Show. Anne's book, The Cookbook Library: The Cooks, Writers, and Recipes That Made the Modern Cookbook (University of California Press, 2012), has received many accolades, including the prestigious Gourmand Hall of Fame Award and the Jane Grigson Award from the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP). Anne's recent induction into the James Beard Foundation Awards Hall of Fame for "body of work" puts her alongside less than 20 other fellow inductees including Julia Child and Elizabeth David. Anne's memoir, One Soufflé at a Time: A Memoir with Recipes (St. Martin's Press, 2013), won the 2014 IACP Award for Literary Food Writing.

Born in Newcastle, England, Anne received her master's degree from Cambridge University, then studied and taught cooking in London and Paris before moving to the United States, becoming a citizen in 1973. Early in her career Anne was an associate editor at Gourmet magazine and was the food editor at the Washington Star newspaper. From 1994-2010, Anne wrote food columns for the Los Angeles Times and Tribune Media Services International. She was elected to the Who's Who of Food and Beverage in America in 1986 and was honored in 1995 both as Grande Dame of Les Dames d'Escoffier International and with the Silver Spoon Award from Food Arts magazine. In 1999, the IACP recognized Anne with its prestigious Lifetime Achievement award, and she was elected to the World Food Media Hall of Fame in Australia. Bon Appétit named Anne Cooking Teacher of the Year and the Philadelphia Book and Cook Festival honored her with their Toque Award in 2000.

Anne is an honorary trustee of the IACP's Culinary Trust and serves on the Advisory Council of The Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts, as well as on the Advisory Board of Zester Daily, a website reporting on the culture of food and drink around the world. She was President of the IACP from 1990-1991 and Treasurer of the IACP Foundation (now the Culinary Trust) from 1999-2003. Anne and her husband Mark have five grandchildren and divide their time between Santa Monica, California and France. For more information about Anne, her books, and La Varenne, please visit www.lavarenne.com. Follow Anne on Twitter @AnneWillan.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on August 21, 1999
Format: Hardcover
If faced with having only one cookbook, this would be it. I have seen no better reference for finding not only the answers to the simple day-to-day questions, but also, the answers to those wierd questions questions that crop up from time to time.
I believe that this book is the perfect book for the beginning cook with step-by-step instructions for making omeletts, peeling shrimp, chopping onions, etc...
I also believe that this is the perfect book for even the most experienced cooks as it demonstrates complex techniques in very straight-forward, illustrated terms. Topics like making aspics, pastries, cleaning monkfish, piping chocolate decorations...
This is the book I go back to time and time again. Pretty enough to be on the coffee table as long as your living room is close to the kitchen!
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Format: Hardcover
I got this book as a freebie when I worked in publishing, and after ten years using it I'd be glad to go back in time and pay full price.
Clear, well-directed photography shows you exactly what to do and what your ingredients should look like. The focus is on methods and techniques, not recipes, though there are some recipes too. The skills described range from boiling an egg to making the most sophisticated souffle, so there is useful information for really plain cooking to fancy gastronomie and everything in between.
The only area this book falls short on is the nitty-gritty basics like how to measure flour or bake a potato or calculate how many tablespoons in a quart. For that, get yourself a copy of the Joy of Cooking (1962, 1963, 1964 or 1975 edition much better than modern "improvements"). With these two you'll have virtually all the info on how to cook (aside from specific ethnic cooking techniques), and can focus on collecting recipes to your liking.
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Format: Hardcover
La Varenne Pratique by Anne Willan bristles with more than 2500 full-color photographs. Willan is the founder of the famed Ecole de Cuisine La Varenne in Paris. Her standard are high, yet the text is as crystal-clear as her consommé. I opened the book at random just now to be dazzled by a two-page, twelve-photograph spread on just how to remove lobster meat from the shell. The instructions for complex operations like boning a leg of lamb, shaping a braided loaf of bread, baking fish in parchment paper, share quarters with basics like properly shelling peas, lining a pie mold, or testing the doneness of pan-fried meats.
I have bypassed wedding gift registries three times now and given brides La Varenne Pratique; two of these brides have already validated my boldness by doing the same.
Open randomly again, behold: color photos of fourteen types of root vegetables. So that's what salsify and scorzonera (vegetables common in Italy) look like! With photographs like these (eight varieties of beans, ten of rice, eleven of lettuce varieties) I am amazed that some magazines have to resort to publishing photographs of naked people in order to coax people into reading their trenchant articles.
Food writer Elliot Essman's other reviews and food articles are available at [...]
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Format: Hardcover
The book itself is an outstnding guide to understanding techniques that are time honored traditions as well as adaptability to newer methods and styles of cuisine. This book more than any that I have used before attending the C.I.A, as well as during my education here has been a device that I have used to reference frequently. It not only has practical methods but suggestions so as not to intimidate the non-professional cook. This is really the only way I know how to thank Anne Willan for creating such a lovely instrument of cuisine.
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Format: Hardcover
I'm a complete novice to cooking. On the advice of the local chef academy, I picked up this book along with my first real set of cutlery and cookware. It's fabulous! To paraphrase the introduction, success in the kitchen is predicated upon a mastery of ingredients and a mastery of technique. This huge tome covers both in fine detail, with exquisite photography and clear prose.
It covers a vast array of ingredients, from selection at the market all the way through preparation, presentation, and (my favorite) potential problems with each.
This is a truly encyclopedic volume and the finest instructional book I've seen on any topic. Bon appetit!
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By A Customer on December 9, 1998
Format: Hardcover
The book is not only a beautiful cookbook with all color pictures, it is a marvelous reference guide. Directions are clear and consise, many have pictures to accompany them. The author has covered kitchen skills that normally only professionals are taught. The format is indepth yet understandable. Although it does contain many fine recipes, it is more like a cooking guide showing classic french cooking tecniques. The reader is shown for example, how to cut, what to look for in ingredients and how to use ingredients to their fullest potential. Unlike many guides, this book sticks to the agenda of teaching readers about good cooking and good food.
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Format: Hardcover
I bought this book when a friend recomended it to me. I used this book for everything dealing with cooking and baking and have been for a long time now. My brother-in-law came to me last week and asked me if I could recomend a good over-all cookbook and I didn't have to think twice. La Varenne Pratique is the only way to go. It covers everything dealing with techniques, cooking methods and general information on practically all foods. I also had the chance to go to France and work with Anne in her cooking school at the Chateau du Fey. It was by far the best experience that I ever had in the cooking field. Bon Appetit!
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