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La Varenne Pratique Hardcover – September 17, 1989
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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.
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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This list covers flour from 1/4 cup to 2 cups
sugar from 1/4 cup to 1 cup
butter 1/4 cup (4 Tbsp) to 1 cup
Breadcrumbs (fresh) 1 cup
(dried) 1 cup
Cheese (grated cheddar) 1 cup
(soft ricotta) 1 cup
Rice (cooked) 1 cup
(uncooked) 1 cup
Almonds whole 1 cup
sliced 1 cup
chopped 1 cup
walnuts 1 cup
hazelnuts 1 cup
riasins 1 cup
It has a table fo liquid conversions from 2 Tbsp to 4 qts into metric & Imperial and oven temperature conversions from farenheit to celcius from 225*F to 500*F
It is broken down into 5 parts:
Herbs spices & flavorings Stocks & soups
Sauces Milk, cheese & eggs
Fats & oils
Poultry & game birds Meat & chartuterie
Grains & legumes Pasta
Flour, breads & batters Pastry & cookies
cakes & icings Sugar & chocolate
Cold desserts & ice creams Fruits & nuts
Preserving & freezing Microwave cooking
Cooking equipment Glossary of culinary terms
For example in the Stocks &soups part there is an introduction for each of these sections giving useful info. on what is is, ingredients, when it is done and what to watch out for and it covers:
Skimming stocks & broths Removing fat from stocks & broths
seasoning stocks & broths Straining stocks & broths
presenting soups Accompaniments to soups
White & brown stocks
Recipe for white veal stock-- with substitutions for chicken stock, game stock, brown veal stock, brown stock & beef stock.
Fish stock with a recipe to make about 1 qt.
Court bouillon & a recipe for Basic court bouillon
Broth-based soups--recipe for Minestrone di verdura & variation for Minestrone alla fiorentina.
How to make chicken or beef consomme, jellied consomme
Making royale garnish
Bread-thickened soups with a recipe for French onion soup & Aigo saou
Fish & shellfish soups Bisques with a recipe for shrimp bisque
Gumbos Pureed soups
Enrichments to soups Cream soups
The book is slightly over 500 pgs and covers every aspect of the culinary arts. I highly recommend this book as a kitchen reference guide when attempting new recipes. Since I bought this book I have gotten out of my food rut and have ventured into unknown territory (for me) making orange chicken (very good), chicken Marengo (with cognac), my wife still talks about that one and I have a 5# eye round roast marinating for 5 days in the refrigerator for sauerbraten this weekend. If you are at all intimidated by some recipes or cooking techniques, buy this book...you will get over it.
This book really has it all. The photography is both beautiful and informative. Instead of showing just finished products that offer more spectacle than instruction, these photos give you a practical look at what the steps along the way should look like. The text, while sometimes brief, is clear and concise. Some books offer instructions along the lines of "beat until soft peaks form" for even the most complex procedures. One will find almost the same brevity here, but the author manages something of an instructional miracle here. The statements are short, but they offer the Goldilocks touch of giving you enough detail to get it right but not so much info that you can't keep it all in your head.
There's plenty of general info on all manner of ingredients, technique, and basic preparations as well. Did I mention that I am devastated that the publisher has withdrawn it? Let's hope for a new edition. The current asking price for used editions may be a little out of reach for most of us, but if you're looking for a special gift for that cookbook junkie on your list, you will make someone very happy with this one. (To my friends and family, that's not a hint. I swear.)