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The Kitchen and the Cook

3.67 of 5 stars 3.67  ·  rating details  ·  60 ratings  ·  12 reviews
Nicolas Freeling, best known for producing some of the finest of modern crime fiction, began his working life as an apprentice cook in a large French hotel, and continued cooking professionally for many years. Here is his memoir drawn from these experiences, a blend of the culinary and the literary, and includes recipes.
Paperback, 350 pages
Published May 31st 2002 by Big Cat Publishing (first published December 31st 1970)
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Jan 20, 2009 Dan rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anthony Bourdain fans, Foodies
I ran across this in the footnotes of one of Bourdain's books as an inspiration for Kitchen Confidential. The first book, "The Kitchen Book", reads much the same-- an entertaining biography of a cook in post-war France and England.

Much of the book is the very entertaining minutiae of keeping a decaying French hotel or a ill-conceived restaurant afloat. In both cases, Freeling writes candidly of his professional short comings and how they're dampened or amplified by the various personalities orbi
Jan 27, 2015 ^ rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Happy cooks and catering students
Recommended to ^ by: My mother
I absolutely loved “The Kitchen Book”, but found “The Cook Book” a bit more of a ramble.

Freeling’s turn of phrase is sharp and pithy as he describes his early career working in kitchens; “he was quartering boiled potatoes with of all things a long ham knife” (p.92, KB). What a wonderful picture?! One feels that there is much wisdom within the pages of The Kitchen Book. And much give and take; “All cooks like to show off virtuosity, and restaurants encourage them since it is good publicity. The
Ashland Mystery Oregon
After a comfortable apprenticeship and with a good start, Freeling spent 15 years in hotel kitchens and kitchens throughout Europe where ever he could pick up work. Hilarious narrative of some grand old hotels where the system reigns supreme - from process to price, the system keeps staff, costs and food all in line. Some unforgettable characters eking out yet another dish from bits and pieces - croquettes, stews and soups. The kitchens themselves, often so antiquated that I wonder how it was po ...more
David R. Godine
"Nicolas Freeling is the author of two of the best books about cooking in the English language. The Kitchen Book and The Cook Book have long been favorites of mine. That they will appear under one cover, with the original illustrations, is fine news indeed. I can't help regretting that Ludwig Bemelmans is not here to see this new edition of his good friend's prose. The two men were strangely alike in their abilities to describe the true joys of cooking and eating like civilized human beings."
— M
Entertaining snapshots of life as a cook in the old French ‘System’. Frequently referred to in Anthony Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential.
I am a huge fan of Freeling's crime fiction, the characters, the sense of place, the quality of the writing. These memoirs of his early life as a cook in European restaurant kitchens are wonderfully written and give a vivid picture of post War life, society and food.
i just love books like this. "kitchen confidential" mid-century france, and elsewhere.
Well written tour of the kitchens of Europe as a working cook, 2nd half is about how to cook. Both tales are told in a conversational manner, that speaks directly to the reader.
Avis Black
One of the few culinary memoirs I've read that was---genuinely distasteful. There are better memoirs out there.
Sorry Mr. Bourdain, this book didn't quench my thirst as an entertaining read. I did not finish reading it.
Cornelia Prescott
Like most of Mr. Freeling's books this has a sprightly pace and offers charm and intrigue.
Feb 23, 2013 craige marked it as to-read
Shelves: wishlist
Recommended by Bourdain in Kitchen Confidential.
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Nicolas Freeling born Nicolas Davidson, (March 3, 1927 - July 20, 2003) was a British crime novelist, best known as the author of the Van der Valk series of detective novels which were adapted for transmission on the British ITV network by Thames Television during the 1970s.

Freeling was born in London, but travelled widely, and ended his life at his long-standing home at Grandfontaine to the west
More about Nicolas Freeling...

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