Tuesday, August 12

Sacre Cordon Bleu - MIchael Booth

Subtitled What the French know about cooking, this is an account of foodie Booth's year in Paris, where he combines his experiences at the renown cooking school Le Cordon Bleu, with details about his family life - his wife and two young children came to France with him - and his journey from picky child to a man who barely blanches at eating pigs' trotters.
Booth has some strong opinions that he's not afraid to voice, chief among them that recipes don't work, that chocolate and strawberries are a combination devised by Satan, and that celebrity chefs are irritating. The first insight doesn't stop him from sprinkling (very detailed and quite complicated) recipes throughout the text that I cannot review because I skipped over them all. Why? I'm ideologically opposed to veal and to force feeding, so I skipped over the foie gras terrine, Duvet de Veau (veal in an eiderdown) and veal shank contributions, feel confident I'll never be using half a calves' foot, however finely sliced (what do you do with the other half?), and could not be bothered with the detail in some of the other recipes ("1 aubergine, cut into slices about the thickness of a paperback copy of The Old Man and the Sea"? Please!).
It was an interesting enough insight into the world of haute cuisine, but don't think the praise for his previous book (Just As Well I'm Leaving, which I haven't read) applies to this one - not astute and erudite, certainly not funnier than Bryson, and not highly recommended by me. Check out the great Steingarten instead - Alex

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