Larousse Traditional French Cooking

Curnonsky, Author Doubleday Canada $50 (0p) ISBN 978-0-385-25221-8
This new edition of the pseudonymous Curnonsky's (aka Maurice Edmond Saillard) 1953 classic, augmented by full-page photographs of finished dishes, verges on self-parody, so little does it relate to today's dining. ``Make it simple . . . and let things taste of what they are,'' cries this ``Prince of Gastronomes.'' But the late Curnonsky's vision of simplicity involves ortolans, woodcocks, foie gras and ``a thimbleful of truffle juice.'' Offering both metric and English measurements, the 1200 revised recipes seem intended for an American audience, but directions are so sketchy and odd--salmon, for example, is poached for 30 minutes to the ``cardboard'' stage--that they might as well have been written in Provencal dialect. Though practical dinnertime fare is in short supply, there is much for the mind to feed on: we learn that ``soft down, a plump rump and a flexible beak'' are the traits of a good pigeon, and that ``potage . . . is to a dinner `what a peristyle is to a building.' '' Once readers get through that door, they might just try the recipe for ``Oeufs Monstrueux,'' which calls for ``three or four dozen eggs'' to be combined in a pig's bladder. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/01/1989
Release date: 09/01/1989
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