TVC embraces cuisine as a necessary element of culture but has hitherto been rather an ignoramus in the field. Not any more. This Christmas treasure, a gift from good (culinary) friends, was originally devised by Prosper Montagnè, with the first edition in 1938, as a comprehensive guide to matters gastronomic, a serious counterweight to Alexandre Dumas’ Grand Dictionnaire de cuisine.
A skim of the contributors to this (2009 English edition, based on the French, 2007) and earlier versions reveals a pantheon of cordon bleu chefs, restauranteurs, academics, scientists, critics, writers, oenologists, sommeliers, confectioners, etc, etc. From recipes to history to food storage and presentation, if it’s not in Larousse, forget it. Nothing is too minor a detail – for example, I learned that if you serve croque-monsieur with an egg on top, it becomes a croque-madame!