In what I hope will be part of a longer series, I came across two cookbooks from France that are held in the same high-regard in France as our American classics are here.
If you remember, this was a question I posted last week when musing about how we hold several cookbooks in high esteem, and I wondered if they did this in other countries.
Here's what I've discovered so far:
There is a book called the Larousse Gastronomique, which I had heard of before and completely forgotten. It was first published in 1938 and clocks in 1087 pages. And to think, editors in the US were concerned about the size of Julia Child's first book. Ha. It is an encyclopedia of culinary terms mixed in with recipes. The original book was purely French food, but a newer edition includes cuisine from other countries as well.
The other book is The Encyclopedia of Practical Gastronomy and is now out of print, but Julia Child herself gushed about the book and its broad scope and witty writing. I'm going to see if I can find a copy somewhere for cheap. I can't read French, I can barely ask my way to the bathroom, but it's worth a go.
I guess I shouldn't be surprised that the French have an affection and reverence for the cookbooks like we do. Scratch that, I guess I shouldn't be surprised that we have an affection and reverence for cookbooks like the French do. Despite public grumbling to the contrary, we share so much in common with the French, and owe quite a bit to them as well, that we are in essence family. There's enough material in this subject alone for a wholly new post, so I'm going to save my thoughts on this for later.
As for more foreign cookbooks, I'm going to bug my mom about German cookbooks. I know she has a few stashed away, and maybe I'll get to take some pictures and learn more about them. There is one classic German cookbook for Americans that I know of, by Mimi Sheraton, that I'm frankly not fond of, but I couldn't tell you why. I need to stew on it for a while.