Culinary History Collection


Current Editor: Cynthia D. Bertelsen

Issue 5 Winter 2004

Cooking with Pomiane

by Edouard de Pomiane, introduction by Elizabeth David.
Modern Library Food-Ruth Reichl, Series Editor.

review by Sandy Bosworth

Ruth Reichl is the editor in chief of Gourmet magazine, and series editor for Modern Library Food books. Her aim with the latter is to rescue great cookbooks from oblivion. "These books are for cooks, and armchair cooks, and for historians, for people who believe that what people eat-and why-is important."

Cooking With Pomiane was orginally published in the 30's in Paris. "He turned French cuisine on it's head, stripping away complicated sauces and arcane techniques to reveal the essence of pure unadorned good cooking."

Pomiane writes in his Duties of a Host that to "prepare a dinner for a friend is to put into the cooking pot all one's affection and good will, all one's gaiety and zest, so that after three hours cooking a waft of happiness escapes from beneath the lid."

Pomiane writes in his Duties of a Guest that "one should never refuse an invitation to lunch or dinner, for one never knows what one may have to eat the next day."

Some of Pomiane's chapters are: Savory Tarts, Pancakes & other Delicacies: Frogs, snails & Freshwater Fish: Sweet Dishes: A Few Drinks; and Food to Remember. There are wonderful recipies in each chapter. One of his most exciting days is described in Food to Remember. He describes "A Lunch in the Country." His menu consisted of scrambled eggs, shoulder of lamb roasted on the spit, mushrooms with thyme, fresh garden peas with lettuce, and completed with cheese and strawberries with cream. I wish I could have been there to enjoy all the food and conversation-and I think you do too!

Elizabeth David, in her introduction to this book, said that Pomiane "takes the mystique out of cookery processes and still contrives to leave us with the magic." He also insists on the "composition of a sane and balanced meal." He has great mastery of the captivating phrase-he tells us that "we need a bunch of parsley the size of a bunch of violets." I like that. You won't be able to put this book down because Pomiane is witty and wonderful in his writing and recipes.

One note: Modern Library Food books are available in most book stores. They're all a must read.

Sandy Bosworth
Blacksburg, VA

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