[Sca-cooks] Sca-cooks] Yippee!!!!
Phil Troy / G. Tacitus Adamantius
adamantius.magister at verizon.net
Sun Oct 1 04:04:26 PDT 2006
On Oct 1, 2006, at 2:27 AM, Stefan li Rous wrote:
> Congratulations. I've not been involved with any professional
> cooking, what kind of things do these textbooks cover? I assume there
> isn't much on medieval or historic cooking. Do they cover mostly
> cooking techniques? How to manage a kitchen? nutrition? food safety?
> I assume they aren't primarily cookbooks.
They tend to cover the basic techniques (and some advanced ones) used
in classical French cookery, not so much because this is generally
acknowledged as the greatest cuisine on Earth (although some people
will tell you that, and they may even have a point), but because it's
completely adaptable to just about any professional food-service
situation -- even restaurants that don't serve French food tend to
use some recognizable variant of Escoffier's brigade system, with the
work of the kitchen being divided up and managed largely the same way
since the turn of the 20th century, and possibly as far back as the
The techniques themselves tend to be applicable outside the field of
French cookery: most cuisines have an application for, say, julienned
carrots, and unless a cookbook is written in Mandarin or something,
it'll probably use that term. If you can saute you can stir-fry, etc.
Food-service textbooks tend to include recipes designed to teach the
techniques, with such variations as are applicable for various
regional cuisines. So, for example, they'll give a basic bechamel
sauce recipe, then show you how to add parmiggiano or Gruyere cheese
to make Mornay sauce, or Cheddar for the cheddar sauce Americans
sometimes put on broccoli or cauliflower or to make macaroni and
cheese. Sometimes there's a special section at the back with recipes
for things restaurants serve that fall outside of the basic French
brigade system, specialty foods like French onion soup or son-of-a-
bitch (okay, Texas chili; restaurants don't serve S.O.B. AFAIK), or
maybe a chapter on Japanese food with a brief explanation on why and
how the rest of the book doesn't really address this subject.
Recipes will often tend to be in large but manageable numbers, say 25
While they tend not to dwell on the historical aspects of cookery,
they can still be very helpful in designing modern adaptations of
period recipes, especially in large quantities. Their recipe for
chicken fricassee, for example, is probably pretty easy to turn into
a respectable bukkenade, and coq au vin becomes a period civey
without too much trouble, and you know how much chicken, eggs, and
onion to buy.
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