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Larousse Gastronomique Hardcover – October 2, 2001

4.6 out of 5 stars 76 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

First published in 1938 and last revised in 1988, Larousse Gastronomique one of the culinary world's most familiar reference sources has been updated again with a sleek, stylish look for a new generation of cooks. The encyclopedia continues to retain its focus on the classic continental culinary tradition, but this new edition acknowledges the growing importance of other cuisines by including, for the first time, entries on American cooking and by offering more information on terms, ingredients, and dishes from other parts of the world. Larousse does overlap with The Oxford Companion to Food (LJ 10/15/99), a recent addition to the culinary reference shelves, in that both works cover ingredients, dishes, famous persons, and cooking techniques. However, even when the same topics are covered, such as chocolate or lemons, there is enough difference that libraries will want to have both. Larousse will probably be the first choice of cooks who need information on culinary terms and cooking techniques, and, unlike Oxford, it contains more than 3500 recipes and an array of gorgeous color photographs. An indispensable part of any culinary reference collection, this is highly recommended for all libraries. John Charles, Scottsdale P.L., AZ
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

For decades, the definitive reference book for chefs and anyone else devoted to the world of good food and cooking has been Larousse Gastronomique. The last English-language edition of this venerable French publication appeared in 1988, so the arrival of the 2001 edition comes onto the scene at just the right time to refresh reference collections. A translation of the French edition of 2000, this new work shifts the book's traditional focus more definitively to world cuisine, even though coverage still emphasizes the triumphs of European gastronomy in general and French cooking in particular. Although by no means comprehensive, articles on national schools of cooking are especially helpful to distinguish each country's or region's salient cooking ingredients and methods. Recipes abound, but they are designed as exemplars, and only skilled cooks will derive real direction from their abridged instructions. Many color illustrations add to the volume's attractiveness and its utility. This is a required purchase for any reference collection in food and cooking. Mark Knoblauch
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 1360 pages
  • Publisher: Clarkson Potter; Rev Sub edition (October 2, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0609609718
  • ISBN-13: 978-0609609712
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 2.5 x 10.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (76 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #221,330 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Certainly the grande dame of cookbooks can't be everything to everyone but what it does do, better than anything else, is teach you the proper way to master the myriad of cooking techniques. If the book is heavy, it's because it's the foundation of every other cookbook you could own. Certianly "Joy of Cooking" is also remarkable in this respect, but if you want to rise about just being good, Larousse will teach you. Yes it is Franco-centric but deservedly, the French have a culinary legacy second to none in the world and the techniques you learn in Larousse will serve you well no matter if cooking Chinese, Italian, or even New American.
The four foundations the book synthesizes are: Technique, Tools, Ingredients, and Creativity. Ever wanted to know the essence of celery? Just how an egg does all the things that it does? Larousse will tell you. Similary, with tools, Larousse is an illumination. If Williams Sonoma ever seemed superfluous, Larousse will shock you into realizing there are advantages to owning copper pots, balanced wisks, and a bombe mould or two. Correct tools are essential to exemplary results.
Larousse is not a dead book of "ancient regime" heavy sauces (though they are included), but rather a living book, inspirational in its depth. If it can be accused of being stodgy, and it has, it's because it wants to emphasize the basics of cooking and, once that is mastered, leaves you free to go out on your own. Once the four foundations have been mastered it's up to you to excel. That's not to say there aren't complex and difficult recipes, there are; but they tend to be more traditional though make no mistake, the top chefs of France have contributed recipes to Larousse.
There are shortfalls.
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Format: Hardcover
I just bought the 1961 first edition for $45 at a used shop. I hadn't noticed that the modern version reviewed here was actually on remainder for 5 bucks less -- the cashier pointed this out to me, and I went back to compare. There was a note in the old edition saying "This (better) ed OP". I trust my local bookshop, so I put them side by side, and was shocked to find that a *large* number of recipes have been excised from the original edition. In some cases it's merely the omission of a few variations under a heading [see "achar" -- from 3 recipes to 1 in the new], but in many cases it's a wholesale excision [see "ketchup" -- no recipe in current version AFAICT].

I believe very much in cookbooks that do one thing and do it right -- ethnic cookbooks dedicated solely to their particular cuisines. A grand unified cookbook is a noble undertaking, but in this edition it appears that depth has been sacrificed to include a broader range of items in less-than-ideal detail.

I have been saddened in recent years to see the great cookbooks watered down or losing focus -- the new Joy of Cooking feels much the same to me when compared to my mother's version.

Bottom line: Larousse had a great vision -- an encyclopaedia of *French* Cuisine. The addition of other cuisines by the editors should not have been undertaken without the same attention to detail. The end result is still a massive and relevant book, but lacks the focus and truly stunning depth of the original.

If they decide to compile a 10,000-page multivolume compendium, then we'll be talking. Until then, I'm sticking with the older editions.
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Format: Hardcover
This weighty, 1200 page volume is a reliable gold standard among culinary works. It should not surprise that it is originally a work published in French (Larousse is a major French publisher that specializes in encyclopedic volumes on many subjects). The inevitability of the volume is based on the premier place of French cuisine on the world stage and on the very European tradition of publishing great omnibus works on just about every subject imaginable. It was Diderot in 17th century France who invented the encyclopedia and great references in most subjects are available in French or German or even Italian long before they are available in English.
The blurb on the front of my edition states that the Larousse Gastronomique is the `World's Greatest Culinary Encyclopedia'. I cannot judge this statement for volumes available in French, German, Italian, Spanish, Japanese, Chinese, Thai, Hindi, or Arabic. But, in English, this is undoubtedly true. This statement is true not only for the size of the volume, but for the great range of subjects the editors have chosen to include. The entries cover all the obvious things such as vegetables, meats, fish, shellfish, herbs, spices, fruits, and spice mixtures.
On these subjects, the writers do not limit themselves to a simple description of appearance, taste, seasonality, geographic distribution, and a statement of culinary uses. It includes representative recipes for almost all basic foodstuffs, the number depending on the relative importance of the food. The entry for aubergines (eggplant) includes a general recipe for the preparation of the vegetable plus eight recipes within the article itself plus references to eight other recipes under other articles.
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