The French Laundry Cookbook

Thomas Keller, Author
Thomas Keller, Author Artisan Publishers $50 (320p) ISBN 978-1-57965-126-8
Reviewed on: 11/01/1999
Release date: 11/01/1999
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""Cooking is not about convenience, and it's not about shortcuts. Take your time. Move slowly and deliberately, and with great attention,"" writes Keller, the owner of the French Laundry in Napa Valley who was named 1997's best chef in America by the James Beard Foundation. At a decidedly unhurried pace, Keller delivers 150 recipes that reflect the perfectionism that catapulted him to national acclaim. With few exceptions (e.g., Gazpacho, Eric's Staff Lasagne), recipes are haute, labor-intensive preparations: Lobster Consomm en Gel e, Warm Fruitwood-Smoked Salmon with Potato Gnocchi and Balsamic Glaze, or Braised Stuffed Pig's Head. Tongue-in-cheek recipe names like ""Macaroni and Cheese"" (aka Butter-Poached Maine Lobster with Creamy Lobster Broth and Mascarpone-Enriched Orzo) and ""Banana Split"" (actually, Poached Banana Ice Cream with White Chocolate-Banana Crepes and Chocolate Sauce) belie the complexity of the dishes. Throughout, Keller conveys his vision as a culinary artist in spare, meticulous prose, emphasizing form over expedience: ""the great challenge [of cooking] is... to derive deep satisfaction from the mundane."" (Nov.)
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