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James Peterson

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
I love this guy. I am currently reading his "Vegetables" which I haven't seen mentioned here.

Informative enough, but mediocre compared to "Fish and Shellfish", a reference book which I find near indispensible.

The best part of this book is that the author is obviously well informed enough to give us a somewhat laymans version of produce that we don't always see or appreciate.

The bad part is that he doesn't dig very deep into the origins and relationships of the vegetables themselves.
Walk softly, carry a big rolling pin
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Walk softly, carry a big rolling pin
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post #2 of 19
Vegetables, Fish and Shellfish, and Sauces by James Peterson should be on every culinary lover's bookshelf. They are on mine.

RJ
post #3 of 19
Ardge, you're such a tease. Why should those books be on my bookshelf which is groaningly overweight? What's so special about them?
" ...but in the spirit of 'stop, think, there must be a harder way, 'I figured starting from scratch might be more gratifying.'' (Judy Rodgers)
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" ...but in the spirit of 'stop, think, there must be a harder way, 'I figured starting from scratch might be more gratifying.'' (Judy Rodgers)
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post #4 of 19
Me too - I'd like to know what's special about James Peterson's books. I am thinking of getting his book on French Food as a nice 'gifty' book for a young intern friend from my last restaurant, and would appreciate any insight. I couldn't find his books through interlibrary loan or at the big-chain bookstores here, so I could read for myself.......:( Thanks!
Annie
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Annie
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post #5 of 19
Annie, I was tweaking our new member into sharing his/her thoughts more fully. Petersen's books have, generally, the merit of acting as relatively comprehensive reference books with a smattering of recipes (amount of recipes vary from book to book).

I have bought the Peterson vegetable book for my DIL who is a vegetarian as it gives a lot of useful information, for example a full list/chart of veggies and their baking times plus some recipes. I've also bought the Fish book for myself as well as Essentials of Cooking. They are good sources of information generally covering basic information of buying, prepping, and basic methods of preparing the food.

I've looked at Sauces, which looks pretty comprehensive, covers several major cuisines, and seems to be more comprehensive in its reciptes that the other books I've seen. I haven't seen the French book. But I have read good things about it.
" ...but in the spirit of 'stop, think, there must be a harder way, 'I figured starting from scratch might be more gratifying.'' (Judy Rodgers)
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" ...but in the spirit of 'stop, think, there must be a harder way, 'I figured starting from scratch might be more gratifying.'' (Judy Rodgers)
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post #6 of 19
Thanks! I did some research, and wondered how I could possibly have missed the James Peterson books - is it because I'm a pastry troll? who never wanted to be insular? Or because I throw out all the book club mail I get? (pastry trolss have no $!). Or darn it - I just don't pay attention!

In any case I just ordered Fabulous French for my young frieind - I know she'll love the thought behind it, and it might be useful, too!
Annie
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Annie
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post #7 of 19
Annie, do you know Spriggs' newbookscheap.com? I looked up the Peterson books there, the French Foods is only $16. His others run 14 - 18, Jessica's Biscuit, for example lists it at $27.

I've find them to have the best prices when they have the books (a limited list compared to Amazon, the Biscuit, etc.) and to be very reliable.

http://www.newbookscheap.com/
" ...but in the spirit of 'stop, think, there must be a harder way, 'I figured starting from scratch might be more gratifying.'' (Judy Rodgers)
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" ...but in the spirit of 'stop, think, there must be a harder way, 'I figured starting from scratch might be more gratifying.'' (Judy Rodgers)
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post #8 of 19
Wow!
Eponymously named indeed!
Thanks for the tip to teh website - it's a good thing my husband is building more book cases this winter!
Even a pastry troll can afford books at that website - adn I'm goign to tell my friends.

thank you , thank you, thank you :bounce: :bounce: :bounce:
Annie
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Annie
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post #9 of 19
Another place to find inexpensive books is Atlantic Books if you have one in your area. Much more hit or miss for cookbooks, but very good prices when you find something you want and, of course, all sorts of books.
" ...but in the spirit of 'stop, think, there must be a harder way, 'I figured starting from scratch might be more gratifying.'' (Judy Rodgers)
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" ...but in the spirit of 'stop, think, there must be a harder way, 'I figured starting from scratch might be more gratifying.'' (Judy Rodgers)
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post #10 of 19
Well, maybe I was over enthusiastic in my "across the board" recommendation of the books. What I meant to say that they really serve as a fantastic reference to the subjects they pertain to. I've yet to see a better substitute. I would honestly be lost without my Sauces book. It is nearly 600 pages and really reads like a "book" and not a "textbook." I can say the same for my Fish and Shellfish book as well, but I don't cook F&S all too often. Nothing is left out in this book. It really did save me during finals time at school. After my F&S class at school, I would sometimes use Peterson's book as an aid in gaining more clarity from my often scribbled notes. It is the be all and end all of all there is to know about the creatures of the sea. I honestly wish the class was actually taught from it.

As for Vegetables, chef1x feels it inferior to F&S because of a lack of information on vegetable relationships. Well, maybe thats true, but the book was not set out do tell that story. In the books introduction, Peterson states that he wanted to write a simple, informative, and very pratical vegetable book. He wanted to write a book for everyone who wanted to expand ordinary meals with the aid of fantastic vegetables. His book indeed does stand out from the many others on the subject. His book is very friendly and very understandable. I think its the greatest and I've used many of the recipes myself with great success.

I don't think you can go wrong with these choices.

RJ
post #11 of 19
Ardge, I agree with you that Peterson's books are first rate and own or have given them as gifts. Your comments on their usefulness to you as a student may be helpful to some of the other students on this forum.

I may still get Sauces (oh my groaning bookshelves). I think he's a natural born teacher. And I'm very interested in the one on sweet wines.
" ...but in the spirit of 'stop, think, there must be a harder way, 'I figured starting from scratch might be more gratifying.'' (Judy Rodgers)
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" ...but in the spirit of 'stop, think, there must be a harder way, 'I figured starting from scratch might be more gratifying.'' (Judy Rodgers)
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post #12 of 19
Watch out, Alexia. The second edition of Sauces weighs in at about 3-1/3 lbs, and is 8-1/2" wide X 10-1/4 high" X 2" thick, compared to the original, which is only a little over 2 lbs, and 7" X 9-1/2" X 1-1/8" -- so I hope your shelves can take the extra! ;)
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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post #13 of 19
What shelves? My latest book binge is sitting in a homeless stack.
" ...but in the spirit of 'stop, think, there must be a harder way, 'I figured starting from scratch might be more gratifying.'' (Judy Rodgers)
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" ...but in the spirit of 'stop, think, there must be a harder way, 'I figured starting from scratch might be more gratifying.'' (Judy Rodgers)
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post #14 of 19
Yours TOO?!?:eek:
Annie
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Annie
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post #15 of 19
You're right Suzanne,
In class today, I saw a friend pull out from his bookbag what reminded me of the Sauces cover. After inquiring about it, it was indeed the first pressing of the book. It is WAY smaller, and theres a different mortal and pestal on the cover too. (Did I spell that right?)

RJ
post #16 of 19
Since you asked, no. ;) It's "mortar and pestle." Actually, they both look to me to be the Mexican version: mortar = molcajete and pestle = tejolate. Made from volcanic rock. Diana Kennedy says "...sauces made with them are superior in texture and flavor, for they crush out the flavor of the ingredients, rather than chopping them finely, which gives a truly rustic quality to the sauce."

Interestingly, I don't think that Peterson makes any mention of that piece of equipment, and includes only one recipe for a simple Mexican salsa, plus notes, in each edition. That's not a failing of his -- he's mostly focussed on French, after all. But it does point up another issue I have with publishers, who seem not to have read the book before they put the marketing together. :mad:
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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post #17 of 19
I have his "Splendid Soups". I like it a lot:)
"At weddings, my Aunts would poke me in the ribs and cackle "You're next!". They stopped when I started doing the same to them at funerals." D. Barry
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"At weddings, my Aunts would poke me in the ribs and cackle "You're next!". They stopped when I started doing the same to them at funerals." D. Barry
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post #18 of 19
I just recieved Glorious French Food this week, from The Good Cook. I will let you all know what I think of it when I am done. But if it is like some of his other books, I am sure it will be quite informative.
post #19 of 19
Here's my review of Glorious French Food. It is, if fact, very informative. But I hope you have good eyesight. :cool: You may not by the time you read it through all the way.

If you combine it with his Essentials of Cooking, you'll have everything you need to get a great start on classic techniques and dishes. (Well, not YOU personally, Pete, you've got that already! But someone who is just starting out, yes.)

I'm very interested to hear what you have to say about it.
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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