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Great Dishes of the World (1963)

by Robert Carrier

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1162237,013 (3.93)None
This cookbook presents over 550 recipes from around the world. These range from classic French cuisine to simple Oriental stir-fries, from classic clam chowder to the delicate Langoustine soup with saffron bouillon, a new dish from one of South Africa's innovative restaurants.
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Italian (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (2)
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Questo libro dà indicazioni esaurienti sul come rinnovare il ricettario, svela i > sui modi di preparare i piatti più famosi del mondo e offre tutti gli elementi per mettere in grado ciascuno di preparare a casa sua piatti semplici, squisiti e diversi dal solito. ( )
  BiblioLorenzoLodi | Apr 6, 2022 |
Robert Carrier is first and foremost a superb cook. He preserves the glamour of great food while taking the mystique out of its preparation. All the recipes he originally presented in the Sunday Times Colour Magazine are here for you to try, and many more besides. Carrier has travelled, eaten and cooked in every civilised country in the world. Every dish he presents here is practical, and you can make it without difficultv in vour own kitchen.
With its 32 pages of superb colour photographs, it is indispensable to all lovers of good cooking.
  Asko_Tolonen | Aug 26, 2017 |
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The late Robert Carrier loved butter. He loved butter the way small children love puppies. Early on in his masterpiece, Great Dishes of the World, he writes: “To my mind there is nothing that quite replaces butter in cooking.” Then he gives margarine a fabulous eyeroll. He’s keen on cream, too. And brandy. Lots of brandy. His friends point out that Carrier was a restless soul, who moved with the times. In later years, they say, he lightened his recipes.

Those lighter recipes are not in Great Dishes of the World, a fabulous book which was first published in 1963 and that probably sold more copies than any of the other titles featured in this series. Carrier’s Wikipedia entry, which those same friends say is notoriously unreliable, claims 11m copies sold at 70 shillings a pop. “I don’t know the exact number,” says the writer John Tagholm, who produced many of his TV series and knew him well. “But it certainly made him a millionaire.” The cook and writer Simon Hopkinson cooked for him often at Bibendum on London’s Fulham Road. As he says, the book is “wonderful and over the top”.

Flicking through my copy, a later edition from 1986, it’s easy to see the appeal. Other postwar cookbooks covered similar classical turf, but they lacked its exuberance and enthusiasm. The cooking bible Larousse Gastronomique is a thick volume of barked orders, interspersed with truly terrible pictures of brown food fixed in aspic. The great Elizabeth David sometimes gave the impression she was sharing the recipes she had gathered under sufferance. Carrier, meanwhile, was an unashamed entertainer. He introduced a postwar Britain to a table stacked with possibility, through the medium of dishes that now may sound old hat but then were a revelation: mushrooms à la Grecque, duckling with oranges, rum baba… it is all here. “Bob was a real democrat,” Tagholm says. “He wasn’t grand or snobbish. I remember Delia Smith saying she was in awe of him.”

His clear enthusiasm starts with the title. Great dishes of the world? What? All of it? Well, no; not really. There are some startling recipes in there, allegedly representing India and China, which today would cause an international incident. Instead, it should be taken as a marvellous compendium of postwar classics from Europe, with strong nods to Morocco, which he knew well, and his native US. “The strength of the book is in the French and Italian recipes and that reflects him,” says his close friend Liz Glaze, who launched his hugely successful partwork for Marshall Cavendish in the 1980s. “He had fought his way up through Italy with the US army during the war.”

Carrier was born in to a wealthy family in New York state. After the Italian campaign, he lived in Paris briefly before moving, in the late 1940s, to Saint-Tropez. There, he was taken under the wing of the matriarch of a bistro called Chez Fifine. “Bob was leading a rather dissolute life,” Tagholm says, “and Madame Fifine said he really ought to knuckle down.” Carrier would later say that he learned the basics of cooking under her tutelage. He moved to London in 1953 and set himself up as a PR man, inventing a new field of generic PR for product categories. He’d bring together rival manufacturers to fund campaigns for the likes of lino or cornflour (a product he continued to promote through his writing).

Amid a swirling, vibrant London he became famous for his dinner parties. At one of them the editor of Harper’s Bazaar was a guest. She was so impressed, she pretty much hired him on the spot as her food writer. A stint on Vogue followed, before he became one of the first hirings to the newly launched Sunday Times colour supplement. His recipes there would form the backbone of Great Dishes of the World. “I still make his pissaladière,” Glaze says. “And his daube recipe is great, too.”

It’s a common trope these days to refer, dismissively, to the glossiest of cookery books as mere food porn. But flicking through the cream-slicked pages of this book I cannot deny certain stirrings; a desire to be a part of this butter-basted world. One of the worst vices of food fashion is to look to the past and sneer jovially at our unsophisticated tastes. Look at us, stumbling about in the flour-thickened gravy ponds, like unsteady toddlers. Where’s the class? Where’s the style? Where’s the kimchi and miso?

We dismiss that past too easily. Hence, I determine to go resolutely old-school Carrier by starting with his recipe for soupe à l’oignon. I slice up 24 small white onions, then cook them down slowly in the requisite amount of butter. Carrier suggests a little sugar which I leave out. I don’t like my onion soup too sweet. At this distance, a little adaptation seems reasonable. Beef stock and a good simmer follow. Carrier instructs me to add 90ml of cognac. I demur again and go for a third of that. It’s too early in the day for me. I float a toasted cheese crouton across the top, plunge in my spoon, and am instantly reminded why classics become such. It is a deep, sultry bowl of caramelised onion loveliness.

My main is boeuf stroganoff. I haven’t even thought of it in years let alone cooked it. But now it must be done. The recipe for four calls for either 1kg of fillet or of rump, sliced. They are two very different things. I opt for the fillet and rather less than a kilo. It’s a quick dish and, courtesy of the collision of mushrooms, fried steak, ground pepper and soured cream, a disconcerting grey. But gosh. Why did it fall out of fashion? There is now only one place to go. I knock up pancakes to a recipe that includes both butter and cognac, then foam them in more butter sweetened with icing sugar, orange juice and – of course – cognac. Finally, I set fire to a splash of booze in the pan. If I were prime minister, I’d make it law that every dessert menu offers crêpes suzette.

Carrier, who died in 2006, had such a long career that inevitably he slipped out of fashion. But by then he had made a number of fortunes, run and closed two establishments, both of which won Michelin stars, and conquered television, even if it wasn’t his natural medium. But it is this book which stands as a towering monument to his work. It is page after page of good things. After all, it contains a recipe for crêpes suzette. What more could you want?
added by kleh | editThe Guardian, Jay Rayner (Apr 3, 2021)
 

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Carrier, RobertAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Borthen, LeifTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ciuti, MinaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
De Ruggieri, LuisaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ereira, SarahIndexsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Granval, SophieIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hammond, RobertDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Knab, PeterBack cover photographsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stewart, JohnFront cover photographsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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This cookbook presents over 550 recipes from around the world. These range from classic French cuisine to simple Oriental stir-fries, from classic clam chowder to the delicate Langoustine soup with saffron bouillon, a new dish from one of South Africa's innovative restaurants.

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