Edouarde de Pomaine
This is my favourite cookbook in the world. I found it at a bookstall at the school I would later send my daughters to. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that it’s the only reason why I decided that it was a good school, but it was one of them.
First published in 1930, and translated into English in 1948, its tone can only really be conveyed by quoting a couple of my favourite recipes, particularly the boiled trout, which is not for the faint-hearted. Pomiane’s rules of engagement allow you to start the ten minutes with a pot of water already on the boil, and the use of tinned ingredients is permitted, within limits.
This is a horrible sauce, but at least it can be improved according to your taste. Then it becomes enjoyable. On principle, white sauce is simply starch paste buttered and salted.
[de Pomiane avers that his task in this chapter is really impossible because…] it is essential to cook vegetables for half an hour before beginning to prepare them.
OYSTERS AND SAUSAGES
Fry some chipolata sausages. Serve them very hot on a dish and on a second dish a dozen oysters.
Alternate the sensations. Burn your mouth with a crackling sausage. Sooth [sic] your burns with a cool oyster. Continue until all the sausages and oysters have disappeared.
White wine, of course
You must buy live trout. Put a little saucepan containing a teacupful of vinegar on the gas. Let it boil. Put the receptacle in which you are going to cook the trout, filled with salt spiced water, on the gas.
In the meantime, kill the trout by striking their heads on the edge of the table. Clean them. Wash them. Put them into a hollow dish. Pour the boiling water over them. They turn azure blue. Plunge them straight into the boiling salted water. Cook them seven or eight minutes. Lift them out of the water. Drain. Serve with melted butter.
As you can see if you look closely enough the back cover is delightful in its own right.