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Larousse Gastronomique: The World's Greatest Culinary Encyclopedia, Completely Revised and Updated Hardcover – October 13, 2009


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 1216 pages
  • Publisher: Clarkson Potter; Rev Upd edition (October 13, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307464911
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307464910
  • Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 9 x 2.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #27,895 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Larousse Gastronomique is a classic reference source. First published in 1938, it concentrated on traditional French cooking. This completely revised and updated edition recognizes the many changes that have occurred in the culinary world. It has a broader focus, with information about foods, culinary techniques, and chefs from across the globe. The alphabetical entries range in length from a few sentences to several pages. They cover types of food (Apples, Locusts); cooking techniques (Braising, Grilling); famous chefs (Auguste Escoffier, Alice Waters); culinary jobs (Maître d’hôtel, Sommelier); countries (China, Greece); and tools of the trade (Knife, Saucepan). Flashy new culinary techniques such as écume and molecular gastronomy are covered, too. The book contains more than 3,800 recipes attached to related articles—15 apple recipes, 8 ways to prepare eel, and 2 versions of cassoulet, to name a few. Also in this edition are color photographs of ingredients so that users can see varieties of spices, fruits, and vegetables as well as cooking techniques such as opening a scallop or stuffing fish or poultry. Some 400 candid black-and-white photographs of restaurants from all over the world depict the daily work in the kitchens. General and recipe indexes make it easy for users to find what they need. This is an essential resource for most library reference collections as well as a wonderful book to browse. --Barbara Bibel

Review

“Larousse Gastronomique is clearly the best cooking encyclopedia ever, but I also love to open it anywhere and just read. The descriptions are clear and the recipes are easy to follow. Anyone who thinks French cooking is daunting will be forever changed by this book.”
—Ina Garten

Larousse has a place of honor on every cookbook shelf in America.”
—Martha Stewart

“It is critical to have a sound understanding of traditional culinary principles before attempting to push boundaries in cuisine. Larousse Gastronomique helps me execute the progressive cooking we do at Alinea.”
—Grant Achatz

“The bible of cooking. The all-time argument ender. Early in my cooking career, I wielded my Larousse like a weapon and it never let me down.”
—Anthony Bourdain

“Larousse Gastronomique has always been the first and last word on classic European techniques and recipes. I love that it has expanded its reach to cover world cuisines and modern culinary innovations, making it more indispensable than ever.”
—Marcus Samuelsson

“The history of food has never had a better biographer. Required reading for anyone who eats.”
—Dan Barber

“Young chefs, famous chefs, home cooks, and everyone who loves food and cooking–we all depend on Larousse Gastronomique. It is the only culinary encyclopedia that is always up-to-date.”
—Daniel Boulud

“You can’t go into the chef’s office of any serious kitchen and not see a copy of Larousse. A must-have for professional and home cooks alike.”
—David Chang

“The Larousse is the first place I look when I need to clarify a cooking question. The greatest reference book, it is a fascinating read.”
—Jacques Pépin

Larousse is an invaluable tool for any cook. I’ve used this great resource all throughout my cooking career, and of course I look forward to the new edition. New information and knowledge are always welcome.”
—Thomas Keller

“Larousse Gastronomique is a veritable dictionary of cooking terms for the French kitchen. If a chef were allowed only one book, this would have to be it.”
—Mario Batali

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Excellent book for people who likes to have the basics of cooking.
Alejandro Almendarez
This copy is very similar to the latest versions form 2000 on, but if you have an older version it's worth the expense to update to this edition.
Scott Anderson
For those of us who worship at the altar of classic French technique and cuisine, the Larousse Gastronomique is our Bible.
John C. Wood

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

58 of 64 people found the following review helpful By Jackal on October 13, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This a a reference A to Z book on world food, but still overweighted on French cuisine. The earlier editions had even more of a French focus and I would imagine that future editions will be even more balanced. I find this edition superior to the 1961 edition Larousse Gastronomique Encyclopedia of F 1961 Ed, which was 95% focused on French food. The current editions contain fewer receipes than the 1961 edition, but you don't buy this book for recipes. You buy it for A to Z entries. I can recommend this book for French cuisine (more modern coverage) and other cuisines (no competition with previous editions but still not great). Off course, this book is a bit like the winner writing history. The book contains some historical sections and they are not very good because they do not go back to original sources. So if Careme considered a dish French it is likely that Larousse will say so too - even if a more detailed analysis would find strong Italian roots. Still, I don't imagine people would buy this book to get historical information.

An alternative is Davidson's The Oxford Companion to Food 2nd Ed. That book is more quirky since it is the work of one person. Both are good, but I would consider the current book as a better general reference.

Update 2010: Having given two positive recommendations I must ask myself how much I consult these two books. The answer is 'not very much'. If I want to know something, I do a google-search or I look it up in a more specialised cookbook.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Diana on February 10, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Oh what fun it is to peruse through Larousse Gastronomique. I bought it for my French boyfriend as his was very outdated and falling apart. Being a chef, he has always referred to this culinary gem and I can see why. His old version is in French and I was never able to quite understand the details. Now, I see the light. This latest version has many color pictures and added recipes. My complaint is the quality of paper. A bit too thin. And also, enough of the celebrity chefs. Dear God.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Michael A. Duvernois TOP 1000 REVIEWER on November 11, 2009
Format: Hardcover
In essence, this volume is an attempt to define French cuisine, French gastronomy, French cooking, and French food. Yes, now you can find the molecular gastronomy influence (look up nitrogen, liquid in this encyclopedia), and you can find ingredients sneaking in from each corner of the Earth, Pacific Island taro, South American tanko beans, and New Zealand spinach. Mole Poblano shows up and there's a turkey mole recipe. French cooking is not just the old cordon bleu, but the vocabulary of that sort of cooking, seasonal and fresh, elaborate preparations of few ingredients is the basis for this. The exquisite souffle section confirms that. Or turn to the basic cooking process/item of panada: seven recipes for the basic repertoire.

Each edition of the book has gotten larger, covering still "French" cooking but it's that subject which is getting larger. Larousse discusses the rodent, informing us that in 1870 Paris (under seige) rats were sold for 10-15 sous, and it discusses wine production in the United States. There's something for everyone who is interested in food.

Since the book is expensive, it's worth noting that most anyone who wants to save some money could sensibly consider the recent editions from 2001 or 2005, and if one is interested in the classic form of French cooking then the 1961 (first English translation) is also worth considering. Just don't complain about the use of butter or lard in the recipes.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By John C. Wood on May 6, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
For those of us who worship at the altar of classic French technique and cuisine, the Larousse Gastronomique is our Bible. This is not a cookbook (although there are recipes included) but it's really a reference book with dictionary and/or encyclopedic entries on everything culinary. It isn't indispensable in the sense that every home cook needs this book to hone his or her cooking skills. But if you love food, love cooking, and want to know how preparing vegetables a la Grecque differs from a tarte l'Alscasienne, then this book is for you.

It's most fun to simply open to a random page and learn something new. Highly recommended to the committed (mostly French) foodie.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jillian Stewart on October 7, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was put onto this book when doing a "Pasta Making Course" and find the references invaluable - so often I have read something and had no idea what it meant or how to do it - this book answers every question and more!! What cuts of meat, different ways of cooking things, basic recipes and more. Absolutely fabulous!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Scott Anderson VINE VOICE on January 20, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This will add to your collection of cookbooks and it's really wonderful to go to the Culinary Institute of America to see some of the older versions and how they compare. It covers just about every aspect of French cooking aside from what to do about the added pounds you will put on from all the butter and heavy cream.

The recipes are very easy to follow and have been wonderfully translated to English to allow us single language chefs to understand Larousse's techniques. If you need to get back to basics or clarify an issue in cooking class, this work is the go to for the answer. The two main books I use are my CIA Pro Chef 9th version and Larousse's Culinary Encyclopedia.

I keep it handy and available for any and all questions or for my get back to french basics when needed. This copy is very similar to the latest versions form 2000 on, but if you have an older version it's worth the expense to update to this edition. True the internet is fast for points of reference, but if you need a book at hand this is the one to choose.
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