Larousse Gastronomique (2001)

Bapopik at AOL.COM Bapopik at AOL.COM
Wed Dec 5 01:33:50 UTC 2001

Clarkson Potter, NY
hardcover, 1350 pages
$75 (Amazon has 30% off)

   Here it is.  It's out.  The completely revised and updated version of the "world's greatest culinary encyclopedia."  It says so right on the cover.

Pg. 611:
_HOT DOG_  (...) The name "hot dog" was coined around 1900 by the (Pg. 612--ed.) American cartoonist T. A. Dorgan, when he drew talking sausages resembling dachshunds.

   Just pitiful.
   What exactly is this book trying to accomplish?  Go to, type in the food or cuisine you want, and you'll find more information, in greater depth, with greater accuracy, than in LAROUSSE.  And for free!
   "Martini" isn't in the index.  The "cocktail" entry is short and useless.  So much for drinks.
   "Crepes Suzette" is still wrong.
   There are almost no etymologies or dates given.  For example, "taco" is six lines of drivel, with no dates or etymologies whatsoever.
   There are many full-color, full-page photos in the book, but they all look like padding.  They have no historical significance to the food at all.
   I'm looking for the bibliography...there's gotta be one in here somewhere....
   Many recipes are given, but where do they come from?  Why not give historical recipes, from the old cookbooks, and cite them?
   The entries lead you to no books or articles on the subject.  I guess that's for the bibliography.  I'm still looking for a bibliography....
   Here's an example of what I mean, from pg. 304:

CIOPPINO  A dish from San Francisco consisting of a stew of white fish, large prawns (shrimp), clams and mussels, with a garlic, tomato and white-wine base.

   Yes, that's the entire entry.  What does "cioppino" mean?  Is it Italian?  Does it come from Genoa?  When was it first served?  Where can I find a recipe?  If you type "cioppino" into Google and pick a response at random, you'd be hard-pressed to find anything worse.
   I don't know what Andrew Smith has in mind for the OXFORD ENCYCLOPEDIA OF AMERICAN FOOD & DRINK (2003).  I'll probably have lunch with him about it next week.
   My advice is, do NOT follow LAROUSSE GASTRONOMIQUE.
   Each entry should have dates, cites, historical recipes, and an historical photo if possible.  It's gotta be a reference work that people should cite as authoritative.  It's gotta have original work that you won't find anywhere else.
   And leave the "greatest culinary encyclopedia" puffery off the cover.  People will decide for themselves.
   If you don't like Amazon's 30% discount, check the Strand used bookstore in a few months.  You'll probably find a whole shelf.

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