Book Review: “The Natural Cuisine of Georges Blanc”

While killing some time between meals the other day, I finally turned up a copy of “The Natural Cuisine of Georges Blanc” at a used bookstore in Berkeley. It was a nice find, and one of the best discoveries that I’ve recently made “in the field” (as opposed to trolling eBay for such an item). Originally published in 1987 — just six years after the eponymous author earned his third Michelin star — “Natural Cuisine” earns its stripes for its lavish photography, with the pictures outnumbering the recipes by almost three to one. Although long out of print, the book remains a prescient example of the cookbook-as-coffee-table-book concept, an approach to food-related publishing that has become increasingly popular over the last 25 years. In the case of Blanc’s “Natural Cuisine,” however, the photography itself is rather straight-forward, although maybe that’s actually for the best: Blanc’s classic geometric designs and vivid color contrasts ensure that his plates will shine on their own artistic merit, no outside assistance necessary. Here’s a taste (photography by Christopher Barker):

Zuchini Flans with Sliced Zucchini and Salmon Cream

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Pineapple with Raspberry and Kiwi Sauces and Pineapple Sorbet

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Sauteed Eggplant and Baked Whiting in a Butter Sauce

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Tomato, Red Pepper and Olive Tart

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Pineapple Fritters with Macerated Kiwi Fruit

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