Anybody know anything about these? Are they any good? Appear to have been put together by a couple of women chefs from Le Cordon Bleu newsletters I read somewhere.
You are so lucky to have received such a gift. This set is discontinued, and it can be hard to find. Even the eBay price of $60 is a good deal. I've had this cookbook set since the 1970's when it was first published, and it is a treasure. Start out by browsing Volume 20, which is the index and glossary. Just that volume alone is worth its weight in gold!
In volume 17, pg 127, there is a wonderful recipe for a "Salmon and Cavier Checkerboard." I've made this over and over, and it never misses in its WOW factor. It is time-consuming and expensive to assemble, but well worth it for its appearance and taste. I often used it as a centerpiece.
If you're looking for a particular sauce, or you want some ideas for a sauce, look on page 50 of the Index; there is a full page of different sauces to choose from. When I visited Paris in 1979, I fell in love with the Beurre Blanc sauce used in fish dishes there. You can find that recipe in volume 2, pg 52.
Are you looking for a particular technique or explanation of a cooking term? You'll find it in Volume 20, starting on page 64. The first entry? "Acidulate means to add an acid such as lemon juice or vinegar to a liquid." Even if you never come across that term in a recipe, isn't it nice to know should you ever appear on Jeopardy?
Here's a tidbit about baking soda: Baking soda (or bicarbonate of soda) is made from soda and is sometimes used in place of baking powder. In baking, it reacts with acid ingredients, such as sour milk to make breads and biscuits rise."
As I said at the beginning, you are lucky to have received such a gift. Don't be afraid to use it. Truly, it is a cooking course you may take in your own home. You might find it fun to do as my husband and I did in the early '80's. We invited friends to taste test our recipes with the caveat that they may not like everything we presented; in other words, they were our beta group. It was a great time, and recipes from these volumes never missed. Enjoy!
Congratulations on the Grand Diplome set. When I married, my husband brought the whole set with him! Now that you have them, start cooking! We have made many of the recipes and all that we tried were delicious. One in particular is fantastic... the Chicken Pot Pie with a veloute sauce. Our set is in storage (with every other book we own) until our home renovations are complete... I would love it if you (or anyone) could e-mail me the recipe. I put it in my computer recipe data base, but it seems to be missing some important information, and I figure that I just didn't transcribe the recipe accurately. Today I made a double recipe (in individual ramekins with a puff pastry crust, they freeze very well) and relied on memory. If you try it - be sure to chop the parsley well before trying to blend it - it is a pain afterwards!