Basic French Cookery Course - 1990



This book is fundamentally the same as 1979's Basic French Cooking with some minor adaptations reflecting the new format. It is all about turning the incomprehensible into the simple: the reader learns how to turn a béchamel sauce into a mornay; a mayonnaise into a rémoulade or a tapénade.

There is a lexicon of French/English cooking terms which provide a handy reference for those who want to know their anouiellettes from their boeuf salé.

Why it's interesting

It's now in a more standard book format. The text is slightly different in places, but the fundamental focus on the cookstrips and getting the basics of cookery right remain. The cover photograph of one of the cookstrips and some garlic - a nod to its antecedent - is by Behram Kapadia.

Sample text

'Boiling and poaching - both words mean cooking in water on top of th stove, but the temperatures are different. The French are more precise in their words: when water is heated enough to shiver - frémir - it is just right for poaching - pocher; when it gets hotter there will be a bubble now and again at the same place. That is called mijoter and as far as the cook is concerned the water is boiling. (Beware, the cook seldom wants anything boiling.) If the water gets very hot it will go into a great rolling boil - bouillir - which is fine for reducing the volume of liquids bu not for very much else.'

Related fact

This was marketed by Random Century as a companion volume to Deighton's ABC of French Food published by them the year before. However, the front cover they eventually went with differs from the design depicted on the earlier volume.


Basic French Cookery Course
UK first edition, 1990

Good reviews

The advance review of the book in the Daily Express - 'the best cookstrip guide to French cooking that I have ever seen' - is used on the front cover as an endorsement quote