Colman Andrews reviews the new Paul Bocuse cookbook, The Complete Bocuse, for the Wall Street Journal. It sounds awfully intimidating:
There is no foreword or introduction, and with rare exception the recipes don’t even have explanatory headnotes. We’re probably spoiled as American cookbook readers, used to having everything spelled out, expecting definitions and mail-order sources and step-by-step diagrams for unfamiliar techniques. But what is the “home cook,” even a reasonably accomplished one, to make of the instruction, in Mr. Bocuse’s recipe for Oriental-style small red mullets, to “remove the gills from the mullet but do not gut them”? In the recipe for hare in red wine, we are told to “ensure that the blood accumulated around the lungs and throat [of the hare] is collected . . . [and] that the bile pouch has been removed.” As for that white chicken stock called for in two of the recipes (including the one for Joannès Nandron’s truffled Bresse hen in a pouch, which also calls for “1 pork bladder, plus salt and vinegar for soaking”), the nearest thing to a recipe offered here is: “White stock is made with white meat and bones (or poultry) that are boiled with aromatic ingredients and then filtered.” And how long does that baked cod stay in the oven? Paul Bocuse doesn’t want to hold your hand.
So it’s not exactly How to Cook Everything. But it’s certainly something to which we can all aspire.