Jacques Pépin's Complete Techniques

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Overview

The fully illustrated bible of cooking techniques from the world's best-known French cook is now in paperback and in one volume for the first time ever.

From a master chef and the current co-star (with Julia Child) of the hit television series Cooking at Home, comes everything the home cook needs to perfect his or her kitchen skills-assisted by instructive, step-by-step photography. Learn to de-bone a chicken, poach an egg, whisk a perfect bearnaise, knead a tangy sourdough, or ...

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New York, New York, U.S.A. 2001 Paperback New 1579121659. FLAWLESS COPY, AVOID WEEKS OF DELAY ELSEWHERE. --clean and crisp, tight and bright pages, with no writing or markings ... to the text. -- Read more Show Less

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Overview

The fully illustrated bible of cooking techniques from the world's best-known French cook is now in paperback and in one volume for the first time ever.

From a master chef and the current co-star (with Julia Child) of the hit television series Cooking at Home, comes everything the home cook needs to perfect his or her kitchen skills-assisted by instructive, step-by-step photography. Learn to de-bone a chicken, poach an egg, whisk a perfect bearnaise, knead a tangy sourdough, or bake an exquisite meringue with the perfection and efficiency of a professional chef. Pepin's toothsome and time-tested recipes offer budding chefs the opportunity to put lessons into practice with extraordinary results. This comprehensive, authoritative presentation of cooking technique and practice is sure to become an indispensable part of every home cook's library.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781579121655
  • Publisher: Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 5/1/2001
  • Pages: 848
  • Product dimensions: 8.00 (w) x 9.18 (h) x 1.75 (d)

Meet the Author

Jacques Pepin

Jacques Pepin is one of America's best-known cookbook authors and cooking teachers, and has appeared regularly on PBS-TV for more than a decade, hosting or co-hosting with Julia Child or his daughter, Claudine, more than 300 cooking shows. A former New York Times columnist, he is a contributing editor to Food & Wine magazine and has published nineteen cookbooks. He serves as Dean of Special Programs at The French Culinary Institute in New York City and teaches at Boston University. Born in Bourg-en-Bresse, France, he was the personal chef to three French heads of state before moving to the United States in 1959. He now lives in Connecticut.
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Table of Contents

Introduction vii
Equipment 1
The Basics 5
Shellfish and Fish 157
Vegetables 268
Poultry and Meat 351
Carving 530
Breads 551
Pastry and Dessert 581
Conversion Tables 815
Index 819
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Introduction

La Technique Culinaire
Jacques Pépin's Complete Techniques in One Volume
Introduction
By Jacques Pépin

Even though I wrote La Technique and La Methode a quarter of a century ago, I am happy to say that except for some minor changes, the culinary techniques demonstrated in the books are as current and useful today as they were twenty-five years ago. You still beat egg whites, bone a chicken, and make a caramel cage in the same way as you did twenty-five years ago. Now, as was true in 1974, the greatest drawback to a good performance in the kitchen is an inadequate knowledge of basic technique.

This is not a book of recipes, although some are featured to exemplify a point here and there. Through step-by-step pictures and descriptive text, this book intends to acquaint you with the basics of cooking, with the procedures that go to the core, the center, and the heart of the profession. These techniques teach what makes things work the way they work, and this is the true goal of the book: to describe certain processes that involve manual skills that are almost impossible to explain solely in words. These processes or techniques will not teach you recipe making but will teach you how to cook. Don't be discouraged if you can't master some of those techniques instantly, like the fluting of a mushroom. Some other techniques, like peeling garlic, will be quite simple, while others require practice and patience. Remember that any techniques you master will leave you better equipped to perform with ease and proficiency, so that in time you will find that when you go back to your favorite cookbooks, you will experience them in a new light.

When professionals work with ease and rapidity, their performance relies heavily on long years of practice and discipline. Yet, there are no secrets or tricks; only feats of skill (tour de main) that can be acquired with prolonged effort. Through endless repetition, the techniques become part of you; so much a part of you, in fact, that you can't afford to forget them. People often mention to me that what surprises them most is to see me cooking and talking at the same time. This is because my hands are trained enough so that I do not have to think about the processes by which recipes are made as I am making them—it's automatic. Instead of fighting the mechanics of cooking, I can concentrate on thinking about the combination of ingredients, about taste, and about texture. You may be very creative and imaginative in the kitchen, but you cannot take advantage of those qualities if you don't know the basics. A solid background is essential and must precede inventiveness. An artistic mind can create a stunning decoration for a cold salmon, but the dish will be triumphant only if the salmon is first properly cleaned and poached, and the aspic rich and crystal-clear—and this requires a great knowledge of the proper techniques.

For many years I have dabbled in painting, and although I have occasionally come up with what I think is a great idea for a painting, by the time I am actually painting it, my hands are rarely good enough to express what I have in my head. This is because my knowledge of painting techniques is weak; I haven't repeated them day after day after day for hours, and my hands very often are not good enough to express my ideas. In cooking, however, after so many years of practice, when I have an idea in my head, I can already eliminate a great many potential problems or obstacles along the way as I think about the recipe, and then my hands can do the rest. I can usually come pretty close to the desired goal on the first try.

In this book, I do not pretend to have explicated the whole spectrum of cooking skills; in fact, I haven't touched any Asian cooking, concentrating more on general cooking techniques that I have used all my life. I may have taken for granted very ordinary chores, such as peeling a potato or melting butter. But even with the help of pictures, some of the techniques, like making a butter flower, will still require a fair amount of patience and perseverance to achieve. Others, like peeling and seeding a tomato or making a rabbit out of an olive, can be mastered instantly. You will discover that there is something quite satisfying about conquering dishes that may have frustrated you in the kitchen before. As a reward, knowledge of the basics will allow you to assert ideas positively in the kitchen, to remedy otherwise catastrophic calculations, and to tackle any kind of recipe because you will comprehend the mechanics of it.

Start with simple techniques and work gradually toward more involved and complicated skills, which may have to be performed several times before being completely assimilated. Remember, you are not learning new recipes, you are acquiring a new way of cooking; you are going into apprenticeship.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 14 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 21, 2000

    Welcome Back

    This is one of the best values in a cookbook. It should be in the library of every student of culinary arts. The book is well planned and comprehensive. Chef Pepin is one ofthe kings of cuisine and a master teacher. I welcome the return of the book to active printing.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 29, 2009

    Mandatory Book for any serious cook

    I really like the organization, simplicity and breadth of this book. Plus the photographs help to make the techniques very visual. Very glad I bought it!!! Plus Jacques is such a charming and knowledgeable chef!

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  • Posted April 29, 2009

    Excellent Reference

    Great gift for all cooks. The step by step illustrations and instructions make the techniques easy to learn. I highly recommend this to anyone who wants to be a better cook and is my bridal shower gift of choice.

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