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OP: Modern Culinary Art

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by Henri-Paul Pellaprat

Comptoir Francais du Livre, 1950. Hardcover. Very Good.

Henri-Paul Pellaprat (1869–1954) cooked in some of Paris’s most distinguished kitchens and was one of the founders of L’Ecole du Cordon Bleu in Paris. Though he published a number of books during his lifetime, he was best known for his substantial, encyclopedic work, L’Art Culinaire Moderne (1936). 

This 1950 English language edition adds the subtitle French and Foreign Cookery with its expansion into cuisines outside of traditional French. In fact, a whole page devoted to couscous preparation notes the significant influence of Arab immigrants on French dining culture since it was first published.

Of course, wine, cheese, and goose liver each gets its own section. And all the other usual suspects—soups and sauces, eggs and hors-d’oeuvres, fish and meat, vegetables, pastry and confectionery—are here too. A chapter on special diets includes menus for dyspepsia, diabetes, and high blood pressure, among others.

While, the introduction states, “Modern Culinary Art does not contain all that we should like to see there—three volumes would not have sufficed,” the average cook is unlikely to exhaust the over 700 pages within a lifetime.

Our copy bears the ownership signature of Henri Aivaler (1913–1999), a French-born chef who worked for a time at the Detroit Yacht Club on Belle Isle. Other than a few scattered grease stains, it is in excellent condition. A strong Very Good with light wear about the edges. No jacket, as issued. Illustrated inserts throughout. 

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