26 August 2012

I have the 2009 edition. I picked it up for a song on a market stall 3 years ago and have barely opened it since.
I've always thought I don't use my recipe books enough.

Of all the books on the shelf, I'm pretty sure I look at my Larousse Gastronomique least of all. Why go to the trouble of hauling 3 kilograms of book off the shelf, when Google is right there in my pocket? At least I'm in good company: It's been voted "most useless cookbook"; and the best the Guardian could say about it was that it "makes a great kitchen doorstop". (I can't believe I still remembered this review 10 years later, and then still bought the thing!)

So why am I doing this? I'm fed up of carting it across London for no reason each time I move house. I want to force myself to learn some of the old school, fiddly techniques that I've been avoiding. Sheer bloody mindedness.

Initially, I wanted to start at the beginning and work my way through alphabetically. However, I soon realised that with over 4000 entries to cover, I was unlikely to make it to Zuppa Inglese before the eventual heat death of the universe. So I am going to tackle it at random; one entry at a time, however unlikely or unpalatable.

Of course there will be exceptions. If something isn't seasonal, I'll file it away for later; or if something comes into season and I just have to write about it, then I will. It's my blog. Go away.

Entries I'm looking forward to:
  • Butter
  • Whisky
  • Choux pastry
  • Cheese
  • Cholesterol poisoning

Entries I am not looking forward to:
  • Brain: Offal is fine, this is just a step too far. See also: bollocks.
  • Donkey: "The meat is blackish, the fat verging on yellow". Yum. Also, poor Eeyore.
  • Sea urchin: I had a bad experience once, and do not want to go there again. But I will if I have to. For Science.


  1. Where on earth will you get Donkey meat? Can you substitute horse?

  2. I really don't know. Horse is pretty tasty though!

    Have a look at - looks like I might have to try France.

  3. Sea urchins are yummy!!! and brain can really do the trick when mixed with other ingredients (my grandma ravioli were outstanding!!)
    Hope you'll be pleasantly surprised x

  4. Hello stranger! Grandma ravioli? As in, ravioli made from Grandma?

    Sorry, couldn't resist. But yeah, I'll keep an open mind, if those ever come up! (I'm so glad natto doesn't feature in Larousse, though)

  5. I've enjoyed sea urchin - we found some guys diving for them in Croatia, and they had a special little pair of scissors to cut them open with. We showed an interest and they snipped one open for us. The orange spongey stuff inside, scooped out with fingers, was tasty, and if anything benefited from the residual sea-water. Yum.

    With you on donkey (though I've had some reasonable saucisson) and brain. What if donkey brain turned out to be amazing, though?

  6. Perhaps being so-fresh-it's-practically-still-underwater helps. I'll see if I can snaffle one from straight from the tanks at the London aquarium next time I'm there.