Cookbooks / France

La Bonne Cuisine de Madame E Saint-Ange

La Bonne Cuisine – Introduction

La Bonne Cuisine de Madame E. Saint-Ange is a beloved classic of the French cooking literature. We are lucky that Chez Panisse chef and lover of all things French, Paul Aratow, decided to take on the mammoth and exacting task of translating her extraordinary work into English.

However, he did more than translate the book, he also wrote an excellent introduction that sets the scene for the book!

Madame Sainte-Ange published her book in 1927 and it quickly became an institution throughout France much like Pellegrino Artusi’s Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well, Rombauer’s The Joy of Cooking or Stephanie Alexander’s The Cooks Companion.

One of our complaints about translations and adaptations of cookbooks is that they often ‘dumb down’ the author’s intentions. Or, worse still, they ravage the recipes seeking to provide modern home cooks with the so-called nirvana of ‘three ingredients and three minutes of preparation”. This inevitably turns the book into irrelevant pap.

Paul Aratow has avoided this and has fairly faithfully transmitted the tone and intention of the author across the language barrier. He has bravely and correctly resisted the pressure to transform La Bonne Cuisine into a set of sterile recipes for the modern microwave.

So, enjoy the imperious Madame Sainte-Ange and adapt her recipes with care and cleverness and you will have a much, much more satisfying experience than you will from one of those instant recipe books that are so popular now.

There is little doubt that this classic by a great writer and a great translator deserves a place in the Foodtourist Top Fifty Cookbooks list.

You can read a biography of Madame Saint-Ange that was published by the Guardian newspaper in an article unhelpfully titled:

Recurrant Jelly Four Ways

You can buy La Bonne Cuisine by clicking on the link below. We receive a small percentage of the sale which goes towards maintaining this site.