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Le Livre Blanc
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on August 24, 2013
..the recipes are doable, to find the ingredients, challenging. Anybody who has easy access to tonka bean and Voatsiperifery pepper will find this book a veritable "snap." But for the rest of us, well, maybe not so easy. I might add those two ingredients, amongst others, are in one recipe, and not the most difficult at that. The pepper, for those who are interested, comes from South Eastern Madagascar, not western, not northern mind you, south eastern. And Amazon (kind-of)carries it, they are out of stock.

So, here is a cook-book that is almost impossible to use, at least by ordinary mortals, and yet that is just the reason to buy it. It is stunning visual presentation more of art then here-slap-this-in-a-pan and sear lightly. None of that.

You will not find a more stunning book published in the last year, and note, I did not say "cook-book." The book, and take my word for this, is without peer even before you take it out of its slipcase, even without opening it. It is, in a word, superb.

Ms. Pic is the only female chef in France with 3-stars. She draws her heritage from her great grandmother, grandfather and father before her, all expert chefs, all topflight Michelin holders. My guess is we will not be doing "Le Livre Blanc" parties a la "Jerusalem," but then again, it would be interesting, actually more than that.

And the tonka beans? The Atlantic Monthly says this "The Tonka Bean: An Ingredient So Good it Has to be Illegal." Really? They were banned in the United States by the FDA in 1954, who knew?

Highly recommend the book, you will not be disappointed.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on September 1, 2013
The french book Le livre blanc and the english book having the same title from Anne-Sophie Pic are EXACTLY the same book! Images, texts, page layout, recipes are EXACTLY identical. Even pages match with one another. So all comments, reviews, evaluations for both books on all sites of amazon are equally valuable.

This review is in fact NOT a "culinary" evaluation of the book (you can find my evaluation of the book on the site amazon.ca). This review is only showing the numerous but MINOR differences in the translation of the original book:

- the french book is the original book published in november 2012 by Hachette, Paris, France, the other has been translated and published by Jacqui Small LLP, London, England in september 2013 for the UK and US markets

- the translation reflects perfectly the spirit of the original book

- the translation seems to be more adapted for the UK market by:
- = the way the equipment is named: moulds, cling film
- = the way the ingredients are named: corn flower, caster sugar, single cream and certainly by
- = the units of measurement used

- the translation brings sometimes nice but little enhancements in the codification of the recipes

- very, very few errors/flaws/typos in the translation are found in the recipes:
- = turbinez au Pacojet becomes break it up (is it churn?) in the Pacojet (recipe 06)
- = plongez dans l'huile froide becomes plunge ... into iced water (is this a correction?) (recipe 06)
- = pesez 100 g, puis ajouter 1 feuille de gélatine becomes Weigh out 10g/0.24oz and add a leaf of gelatine (is this a correction?) (recipe 31)
- = coulez cet appareil dans des moules becomes pour (is it sieve and pour?) this mixture into the moulds (recipe 09)
- = les agrafes que les pêcheurs apposent sur le poisson becomes the fishermen's hooks (?!?) (recipe 05)
- = triez deux fois les chaires becomes pick through the meat three times (recipe 30)
- = ... until it is has the consistency ... (recipe 05)
- = 2 g de wakasamé séché becomes 2kg/4-1/2lb (recipe 42)
- = queues de persil, thym frais et laurier becomes parsley stalks, thyme, basil (recipe 30)
- = ... des moules ... de 3 cm de diamètre (the dimension of the mold is omitted in the translation) (recipe 27)

- there are no substitutions for the special ingredients used in the recipes which is absolutely correct. So, you'll find:
- = Aquitaine caviar; Cévennes onions; Gillardeau oysters; Mallemort asparagus, Cazette, Menton lemons, etc.

- the original book uses only metric measurements, the english version uses metric and UK imperial measurements (btw cups are never used):
- = 85°C becomes 85°C (185°F) for the internal temperature of an ingredient
- = 180°C (th.6) becomes 180°C (350°F; gas 4) for the oven
- = 190 g becomes 190g (6-3/4oz)
- = 500 g becomes 1lb 2oz milk (recipe 30)
- = 1 kg becomes 2-1/4lb
- = 30 cl becomes 300ml (10fl oz): all cl are converted in ml which is more convenient
- = 1 litre becomes 1-3/4 pint: this is the british pint not the US one which is smaller

- for small quantities (solid or liquid), the french book uses mostly grams and cl, the english version uses usually teaspoon or tablespoon:
- = 1 cl becomes 2 teaspoons
- = 1,5 cl becomes simply 1 tablespoon
- = However, you can find:
- = 15 g becomes 15g/1/2oz butter (?!?) (recipe 01)
- = 1 g becomes 1g/0.04oz yeast (a fraction of a teaspoon is probably more useful) (recipe 15)
- = 7 ml becomes 7ml/0.2fl oz lemon juice (a fraction of a tablespoon is probably more convenient) (recipe 15)

- small values in mm are converted in decimals of an inch instead of fractions of an inch:
- = 7 mm becomes 7mm/0.28in thick

- in the english book, all paragraphs within each module in the recipes are separated by a blank line which is easier to read

- what is missing ...
- = the french name of the recipes
- = a glossary of the ingredients that are not easily available, etc.

Finally, the translation is highly professionnal and deserves easily 5 stars. I think we are lucky to have this book in english which reflects perfectly the spirit of the original book.

Which book do I prefer? Not easy to say! I would get the french book because it's the original (it's subjective but I would feel closer to the Anne-Sophie Pic's cuisine). Or I would get the english book for its low price. This is what I did ...
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on August 25, 2013
This book is a beautiful work of food porn. The recipes are not very useful because of the difficulty of finding the ingredients. I am a very capable cook, but I can't even match the pictures with the recipes! Despite being useless as a cookbook, the book and photography are stunning.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on December 16, 2013
I waited a long time for Chef Pic's book to be published, to try to cook the way she cooks, and most importantly, to taste an approximation of what she creates. It's a gift I have spent quite a few hours on.

This is not a cook book for beginners, nor is it quite a coffee table book of beautiful photos, either. The white book with the title and name pressed into the cover, rather than printed on is a wonderfully presentation, inside a separate firm white slipcase/binder. The book's pages are silvered on the outer edges, and 4 ribbons for place-keeping are nice. The design is truly stunning...then one opens the book.

It's discombobulated. There are six groupings of the 50 or so recipes, on three pages. Then the first 150 pages or so are pretty photos of her food. Not one photo has a identifying title or description. The photos are broken up by two page listings that give the name and a page of the 8-10 or so dishes for each of the six groupings, which are- Earth and Sea, Acid Yellow & Pale Pink, Contemporary Memories, The Lightness of Air, Traditional Eccentricity, and the Edge of Frontiers. OK, sure, whatever.

Only at the back of the book are the 50 recipes clustered together. No photos there. The large number at the top of each recipe has no relationship to quickly finding the dish's photo in the earlier 150 pages! Super confusing-seems like the layout designer had a look-at-how-clever-I-am conceited way to craft a book to win some prize for unnecessary eccentricity. Fine, you win the prize. Purchasers get a book organized as if the designer was on LSD.

That aside, I am happy to see the actual recipes. Some require less than an hour of sous vide cooking-savvy home cooks can play with this with thermometers and jury rigged hot water baths if buying a $300+ sous vide apparatus is not feasible. Some recipes are pretty darn precise on time and temperatures; at least one require 8 hours of sous vide at one temperature, another recipe would best be served with two sous vide devices! A Thermomix and a steam oven would be handy, too. The recipes are tersely written for an intermediate to advanced cook to fill in the blanks- a cook who knows how to sweat vegetables, make a crème Anglaise, reduce a sauce, "check the seasoning", etc. Chef Pic didn't get Michelin stars with Rachel Ray-easy 30 minute recipes. The dishes generally have 3 to 8 major components-these steps can be made by themselves and used to make something tasty, as I've done, if you don't want to go the whole 9 yards on a complex dish that is prepared by a team of cooks in her restaurant kitchen. Kombu, bonito flakes and green tea, crystallized grapefruit- all sorts of components to collect! I've cooked several items, and will cook more over the next few months-yes, probably getting a sous vide setup to really do it right.

If I could give this 4.5 stars, I would. To me, 5 stars for a cookbook is earned by thoughtful organization, with well written recipes and when present, helpful photos. Unnecessary and confusing quirks like the screwy design and not having the name of a dish with its photo, too brief instructions here and there, etc., knocks off a star. If you are a "foodie" who wants to see 50 of Chef Pic's recipes and photos, buy the book. Make and taste some of her recipes-it'll be worth it. If you are an ok home cook looking for not too complex French recipes, or seeking photos of intermediate steps, look to other cookbooks.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
First, I should say that I have been an admirer of the Pic family's creative cooking for many years. Indeed, the first time I visited their eponymous restaurant in Valence, Anne-Sophie was still a toddler. However, this is still a rather silly book.

The first odd thing one notices is that it appears to be designed not to fit in its slipcase. Also, there is very little text and what there is has little consequence. Most of the book is given up to full page photographs, many of which are irrelevant. Much space is wasted with enlarged images of such things as a brace of sea urchins, some grains of caviar or a few strips of orange peel. Even when the photographs depict the finished dishes, because there are no captions, one must use the numerical key at the bottom of the page to refer to the list at the beginning of each chapter to know what you're looking at. Rather annoying.

The recipes themselves, which occasionally appear to suffer from a mild case of machine translation, are confined to the final few pages. They are of varying degrees of difficulty but almost all are likely to provide a serious challenge to the home cook. Even given that one can find substitutes for most of the exotic ingredients, the amateur will not have the skill, time or resources to produce what is pictured in the book. However, it will undoubtedly prove a source of inspiration.
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on July 29, 2014
Stunning, clean plates with amazing photography to boot. The stories of how she became the incredible chef she is now, is also a nice touch.
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on January 25, 2015
Lovely recipes, lovely picture, very technique and artistic! Truly a great french cookbook!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 25, 2014
This is a beautiful and simply written book. When I got this book and started to read it I couldn't believe that more of my Chef friends didn't own this book. I cook in a professional fine dining kitchen and find this book a true inspiration (definitely not something I say about all fine dining books). The photography is perfect, recipes are straightforward for an advanced cook (though many ingredients are very hard to source). If you want a "foodporn" or coffee table book- they don't get much better than this. If you are an ambitious cook or chef with an interest in technique and exotic ingredient than it also doesn't get much better than this. If you are a home cook looking for some simple recipes you are way out of your wheel house on this one.
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