Ferdinand Point

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Ferdinand Point

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1thf4
Nov 16, 2006, 1:41pm

I just bought Ma Gastranomie and have almost finished reading it. I fully understand why Point was so important in the history of French cooking, but I do not understand the place this cookbook is accorded by folks like Frank Keller. Is it simply a nod to Point rather than the cookbook itself?

I do not think that its a problem with differing cookbook styles over time-- there are a number that age or older I use and love. It is one I am glad I have, but not as exciting as I was expecting. Any other views?

2mcglothlen
Dec 4, 2006, 4:25am

I should wait to write this until I can actually get to the book (long story). It's here. I just can't get to it at the moment.

But here I go anyway. Part of the problem in assessing Point is that there is and always has been a lively (and somewhat disingenuous) argument about what constitutes great French Cuisine.

It is argued by many (again - of my books on French cuisine are unavailable to me now - they're on a bookshelf literally behind two other sets of shelving) that Point was least compromising to the demands of the commercial kitchen of the modern(ish) great chefs of France. He emphasized craft and subtlety over efficiency and style (not to say he wasn't a stylist). He defied traditions where he felt that the traditions did not serve the cuisine.

It should not go unnoticed that he was not interested in becoming a personality chef.

It's hard to judge that book in the right light if you've already been exposed to those he directly and indirectly influenced (although he was certainly not the only influence on 20th century French cooking). He was a pioneer. He has to be judged by what preceded him. Read Escoffier prior to 1920, perhaps.

That help at all?

Had you already moved along? :) Sorry - just joined the other day.