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Cooking with Pomiane (Modern Library Food) Paperback – February 20, 2001
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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
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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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. As a 'first cookbook' on the preparation of homestyle French food, only a few select recipes are offered in each of the categories we might choose from in making a dinner or a small repast: soups, eggs, cheese dishes, savory tarts and crepes, salads, common sauces and sweet dishes. He concludes with a chapter on a few memorable meals: 'a lunch in the country,' 'supper in the high mountains,' 'two good dishes for two 'little' wines,' 'lunch by the sea' and even 'food for camping.' This section is written as a reminscence and we feel that we are accompanying Pomiane as he ponders what to serve, then shops for ingredients and then tells how he prepared the meal under each set of circumstances.
A typical American reader will be transported to France, surely, but one needn't be a Francophile to find recipes in each section of the book that are easily prepared with American ingredients, sound tasty on the page and are described in a way that promises 'pretty on the plate.' Pomiane offers three poached egg dishes: one seasoned with paprika butter and presented on a canape of bread, one sauced with canned tomato puree spiked with a little fresh garlic and a good olive oil and one sauced with browned chopped mushrooms in cream and herbs. There is a simple Basque-style omelette (with sweet red peppers and garlic.) Favored ingredients among the French may be underappreciated here but, in addition to a splendid 'poule au pot' (poached chicken with beef and vegetables), Pomiane offers some very tasty preparations for rabbit and hare. My meat market here (in Texas) always has farm-raised rabbit available and I enjoyed learning about a meat more commonly enjoyed by my ancestors. Pomiane's method with carp would work equally well with bass or trout. There are a bequiling number of 'mousse a la creme' variations: orange, Cognac, Curacao, Hazelnut, Montmorency Cherries, Chocolate mousse and even a coffee mousse!
All of this is wrapped up in a volume that bears reading and rereading whether you are searching for inspiration for dinner or just looking for some pleasant companionship.
Try this book, it's the best.
Also missing are his funny "asides"