Larousse Gastronomique – The ultimate cooking encyclopedia

Larousse GastronomiqueAlthough I don’t talk about food as much on my blog as I do on other social media (especially Instagram, I know, I’m one of those people), I do have a fondness for food and a growing curiosity – some may even say skill – for cooking. Recently, I bought a cookbook I have been wanting to buy for a few years now – Larousse Gastronomique.

There are plenty of good cookbooks out there, but Larousse Gastronomique is considered one of the ultimate cookbooks. Many of the most renowned chefs around the world have used this book in some form in their kitchens, and indeed many contribute to this edition as well. At over 1200 pages, and over 3800 recipes, this encyclopedia provides information not only on the recipes, but also on the ingredients themselves, their origins and variations, the history of different cuisines, how to use different cooking utensils (with some new ones added in to this 2009 edition), as well as biographies of famous and influential chefs. It’s no wonder that in the 76 years since its first publication it has continued to be so relevant and so well used, and even in this era of information overload on cooking through the internet, cookbooks and cooking shows on television, this tome still works as a back to basics comprehensive guide to the kitchen.

I thought I’d just show a few pictures from inside the book so you can see how it works – it’s quite different to other cookbooks, but not in a bad way.

Here you can see a lot of things on this two page spread, from how to make Hollandaise sauce on the left, to different types of Honey in the table on the right. On the rest of the page are other pieces of information including a number of recipes.

Here you can see a lot of things on this two page spread, from how to make Hollandaise sauce on the left, to different types of Honey in the table on the right. On the rest of the page are other pieces of information including a number of recipes.

Most of the pages look like this, however - just a lot of writing. Don't let the lack of pictures fool you though, because this book isn't about looking pretty. On these 2 pages, amongst the chef bios and cuisine and method explanations, are 9 full recipes. As I said, this book is back to basics, but I personally like it.

Most of the pages look like this, however – just a lot of writing. Don’t let the lack of pictures fool you though, because this book isn’t about looking pretty. On these 2 pages, amongst the chef bios and cuisine and method explanations, are 9 full recipes. As I said, this book is back to basics, but I personally like it.

There are some very visual pages such as this one, which shows all the different types of aromatic herbs and leaves (it goes on for a few pages). Put simply, this book uses images when it needs to, and only when it needs to.

There are some very visual pages such as this one, which shows all the different types of aromatic herbs and leaves (it goes on for a few pages). Put simply, this book uses images when it needs to, and only when it needs to.

Lastly, the back of the book contains these two amazing recommendations - chances are if you like cooking, you like at least one of these two chefs (or you will if you look into them).

Lastly, the back of the book contains these two amazing recommendations – chances are if you like cooking, you like at least one of these two chefs (or you will if you look into them).

I’m not expecting to become some sort of amazing chef overnight, but I am quite sure this book will help me to better my cooking habits and to learn new and exciting ways to experiment with food. If you love cooking, I think you’ll also love this book.

What makes a good cookbook for you? What are some of your favourite cookbooks and chefs, and what is it you like about them so much?

15 thoughts on “Larousse Gastronomique – The ultimate cooking encyclopedia

  1. You are inspiring me! I enjoy cooking – seems much like chemistry to me, with a fabulous result (mostly, hopefully!). But it DOES take work, and sometimes I’m too impatient. You inspire me with your review of this cookbook. Thanks!

    • Ahhh awesome! I think cooking is a lot about inspiration actually, because if you don’t feel inspired then often that’s when you go “oh stuff it I’ll order pizza.” But a little bit of inspiration and suddenly you’re thinking “I know, I’ll make this thing I’ve never made before and it’ll be amazing” and often it is as a result. Like last night, I made a cauliflower, potato and chickpea curry – it was really quite good! So, point is, I’m glad I could use this book to help inspire! 🙂

        • I am thinking I want to at least collect together some of my favourite and most successful recipes in some kind of book or food diary or something. I have been thinking maybe of doing the occasional food post on my blog too, but I’ll see. It’s tricky, between two blogs I’m already tackling a lot of topics haha. 😛

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