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Review: Penguin Cordon Bleu Cookery

Penguin Cordon Bleu Cookery by Rosemary Hume and Muriel Downes

by AK Krajewska

Simply the most useful cookbook on Western European cookery I’ve ever used. Not merely a recipe book, it teaches the principles of cooking following the French style. The recipes if read alone seem sparse compared to modern standards because they build on principles taught earlier on. At the same time, it’s a book for the home cook and is not precious about ingredients or over-fussy about perfectionist techniques that offer marginal gains. As an example, it offers the technique of flour mixed with butter as a simpler alternative for when you don’t have time to create a roux for sauce. Sure it’s not as stable or as delicious, but it’s much better than lumpy sauce.

Read and use this book if you want to build your base of cooking techniques. If you are an OK or good home cook, its instruction will elevate your baseline. If you are a recipe follower scared to improvise or whose improvisations come out wrong, it will teach you principles that will free you to improvise confidently within safe boundaries.

This books is probably of little use to vegetarians and of no use to vegans, as it relies heavily on meats and butter, following the French tradition.

Penguin Cordon Bleu Cookery by Rosemary Hume and Muriel Downes