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Oct 2, 2006 09:50 PM

French Laundry & Bouchon Cookbooks

Just went to Costco in Santa Rosa and saw both French Laundry and Bouchon cookbooks on sale. Bouchon was only $29.99. Sorry didn't see how much French Laundry was. If anything the pictures will be inspring.

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    1. French Laundry Cookbook is the same price as Bouchon @ Costco.... Just picked up a copy of Tartine there for $21.95 over the weekend.

      1. I got a copy of the French Laundry Cookbook as a Christmas present a few years ago. I tried one recipe. It sat in the bookcase for 2 years and then I tried to turn it in for store credit at a local used bookstore. They wouldn't take it cause nobody bought it and they had many other copies.

        I wouldn't waste my money.

        2 Replies
        1. re: oakjoan

          Oakjoan, The French Laundry Cookbook illustrates the difficulty of trying to translate restaurant menus and preparations to the humble home cook. Problem is, you didn't have a 12 person prep team. (El Bulli in Spain has 55 cooks for a 50 seat restaurant. Try making one of their preparations at home!) Given that, the French Laundry Cookbook should appeal to Chowhounds that study restaurants and want to learn more about their approach to developing new cuisine. (Tapioca and oysters for example.) The book makes interesting reading and is a good reference manual. It's appeal as an actual cookbook is limited as you discovered.

          1. re: Walters

            Walters: I agree that the FL Cookbook might be interesting reading, but not a great cookbook for non-pros in regular kitchens. However, I'm pretty sure that it was released with great fanfare because the publishers thought Keller and the FL were famous enough that it'd sell no matter what. It may have been a best seller when it was released, but several years later, apparently folks had caught on.

        2. Yes, I don't think these books are very useful, but I don't think they are meant to be. Artisan seems to be putting out these oversized, coffe table-style cookbooks that are really meant to be collectibles or souvenirs. The books are beautiful, but akin to 50's movies shot in Techinicolor and Cinerama. Along with Keller's books, they have also put out the books by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Diguid (sp?) which may be more practical cookbooks than Kellers. Look at Artisan's most recent release, "Happy in the Kitchen." The book is a delight, but I don't think I would cook anything out of it.

          4 Replies
          1. re: raj1

            The Bouchon cookbook is useful. The recipes are mostly straightforward, classic bistro food as interpreted by Keller. His technique can be rigorous, but the recipes are totally doable in a home kitchen.

            1. re: laguera

              I've got to say that the Bouchon cookbook is eminently useful. I just finished eating some brined pork roast and what might be the greatest lentil dish on the planet, both made at home, in a dismally samll nyc kitchen, from the Bouchon cookbook. It ain't Rachel Ray, of course. You take the time to do thing slowly, you get the best ingredients available, you do the stupid-sounding stuff like making bouquet garnis, saches, and teeny tiny dices of carrot. And it all pays off, wow, does it pay off.
              The French Laundry Cookbook, on the other hand, that's just porn. But who says porn is bad?

            2. re: raj1

              French Laundry's recipes are very challenging, true, but Bouchon is fantastic as well as being aesthetically pleasing. The steak frites recipe is outstanding, as are the other classic bistro dish recipes. Sometimes a bit labour-intensive, but straightforward and clear. And the results are fabulous - always raves from the crowd. Love it!

              1. re: raj1

                Agree, I love these types of books just for the photos to make me drool & dream! I have several like this that I have mainly to look through, not expecting to master any of the recipes, I just love to read the, and recall our incredible meal at his place, gosh going back 15 years ago! I have Joachim Splichal's Patina & Charlie Trotter's books as well, and the photographs are awesome.

                That being said, there is one recipe in the FL book I have mastered and I make them every year for my church's Wine & Cheese party, by special request from the Monsignor - the Parmesan Fricos with goat cheese mousse. It's outstanding, and really not the difficult.

                I say enjoy them for what they're worth - beautiful cookbooks to peruse.

              2. I have both. Yes, the Bouchon book has more 'ordinary' recipes and probably more useful. I did use the FL's technique to poach a lobster tail in buerre monte last Valentine's day, which turned out well. The description for trussing a chicken in the FL book could benefit from diagrams or photos.