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THE RECIPES Fernand Point called the recipes in his famous cream notebook, published as Ma Gastronomie, “abbreviations for the working cuisinier.” Written in a concise, narrative shorthand, they presume a familiarity with the kitchen and an understanding of the basic cooking processes. Exact cooking times and quantities are often not mentioned. Here, for example, is his recipe for a ‘simple omelette.’ Whip the yolks and white of the eggs separately. Add the beaten egg yolks, salt and pepper to sizzling butter in a skillet. When the eggs begin to set, add a good spoonful of crème fraîche and the beaten egg whites. Keep the pan moving over a high heat to avoid having the omelette stick to the pan.


Which tells you all you need to know, and nothing you do not. And it is this approach we too have taken. Cooking is an interpretive art, and no recipe is ever written to be followed to the letter: there are too many variables in the kitchen. So we have presented the recipes as Monsieur Point would have, as a guide, and a guide only, to the creation of the dish. After all, no one would expect to recreate a dish such as Thomas Keller’s ‘Oysters and Pearls’ exactly as he presents it. But that does not mean we may not experience something similar. Not all of us may be able to dine at the French Laundry or The Fat Duck, but by using these recipes as a guide, the food of the gods may still be within our reach.