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Friday, April 15, 2011

Foodie Friday - My Favorite Cookbook

My favorite cookbook of all time is The Gold Cookbook by Louis P DeGouy.  My current copy is the 1948 edition. 
I tried to steal my mothers copy, but she made me give it back, I think that hers was a newer printing, but still probably from the 60’s.  It is unfortunate that this wonderful book was published in the year of DeGouy’s death in 1947; otherwise I am sure that we would have enjoyed more cookbooks by him.  He did write other cookbooks though and was one of the people that started Gourmet magazine.  He was also Chef at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel for 30 years and apprenticed with Escoffier.

Here is a description that I found on it –

“It is almost axiomatic that a new cook book by Louis P. De Gouy means a new culinary classic. In this present volume, Master Chef De Gouy offers his masterpiece the long-awaited general cook book for American homes. A monumental work that has taken many years to assemble, it includes more than 2200 recipes for American and European dishes, planned to delight the palate of both the person of simple tastes and the bon vivant.
Mr. De Gouy has the gift of making cooking an adventure. Even the plainest dishes somehow become exciting; and for those of bolder spirit, there are many roads opening to new and unexpected gustatory pleasures. He writes with infectious enthusiasm for his subject, salting the book with anecdotes and amusing tales on the origin and history of various foods and dishes, with bits of philosophy and poetry about the timeless art of cooking and eating. One of the book's outstanding features is the series of Food Purchasing Charts that have long been so popular with readers of Gourmet Magazine.”

First when you open this book you must remember that in 1947 recipes where written in a different form then the one that we are most familiar with today.  And there are no glossy pictures, something that I not only expect, but pretty much demand from any new cookbook that I buy now.  So why do I L-O-V-E this cookbook? 

It could be because this was the book of my mothers that I most often turned too?  Or is it because it has a recipe for about anything and everything that you can think of?  The index alone is almost 200 pages.  It starts each chapter with a food quote and a history of the types of dishes.  There are guides on the different cuts of meat, how to buy knives almost anything that you could possibly need to know about cooking is covered.  The recipes themselves are almost encyclopedic in scope. 

For example if you are looking for a recipe for say a sauce you have almost 130 to choose from.  Do you want a sauce to go with boiled meat or fish?  How about Soubise Sauce, from the book Memories of Madame de Maintenon (the second wife of King Louis XIV of France).

I used to make Pumpkin Pie II and people always loved it and I had many requests to make it again.  I also like the recipe for Dutch Nannies (think of a popover made in a frying pan topped with bananas.)

Of course it does show it’s age in the fact that some recipes call for - dare I say -canned vegetables.  And today we would probably only use most of the recipes for special occasions since they are full of things that we know are not that good for us, like cream and butter.  But it gives the cook a very good solid foundation in the art of cooking, and is very interesting to read.

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