ALI-BAB       - The pen-name of Henri Babinski.
ETUDES CULINARAIRES SUIVIES DU TRAITEMENT DE L'OBESITE DES GOURMANDS (small printer's device) Troisieme edition entierement refondue. (small printer's device) PARIS ERNEST FLAMMARION, EDITEUR 26, Rue Racine, 26
Thick 4to. 3rd edition 1923. Grey paper paste down. 3feps. Title page with a little light foxing. [1] Half title. [1] (1)2-3 Introduction. [1] 1p Preface. [1] 1p Prodrome de Gastronomie. [1] Half title 'La Gastronomie a' travers les ages'. [1] (1)12-1040. Half title 'Traitement de l'obesite-- [1] (1)1044-1051. [1] Table des matieres (1)1054-1073. [1] Table alphabetique 1076-1107. [1] 3feps. The original dark blue fine waterproof cloth boards and a very sympathetically relaid spine with the original cloth. With bright gilt lettering on the spine and front board. The guttering has been strengthened and overall a very nice clean copy retaining all the original features.
- This classic French cookery book ‘Gastronomie Pratique’, was first published in 1907 and has been out-of-print since 1950. Written by Henri Babinski, an engineer who wrote under the pen name Ali-Bab. The first eight editions of ‘Gastronomie Pratique’ sold about 35,000 copies over almost half a century. An English translation, printed in 1974, bore the title ‘Encyclopedia of Practical Gastronomy’. Unusually, Babinski’s recipes are quite accurate and do work well with good results. Although the majority of recipes originate from Babinski’s native France, a significant number come from the Middle East, Eastern Europe, the Caribbean, and Latin America. Prior to publishing the first edition at the age of 52, Babinski spent a significant portion of his life as an engineer outside of France. His recipe instructions also provide much more detail than other cookbooks of the period, more like what one expects in a cookbook today. His instructions, too, are footnoted to elucidate their meaning. At the end of most recipes, Babinski offers numerous substitutions and variations. He used or wrote about a wider assortment of ingredients than is common today. Lobster eggs were used to color dishes. Truffles were used with abandon. There are a number of recipes for brains. One assumes that many of the wild game birds he describes were available at his local Paris butcher, but some recipes seem based on game he hunted fresh. Likewise, some recipes call for specific kinds of fish from specific streams. Other ingredients are common to France but generally unavailable elsewhere, e.g., sheep raised on salt marshes. It is unlikely we will find a butcher that can supply a quarter kilo of cock's kidneys! Occasionally, Babinski calls for ingredients that no longer exist, like ‘sirop de capillaire’, a medicinal syrup made from the maidenhead fern. Along with the standard sections expected in a general book of cookery, Babinski includes a few subjects in his book that today seem unexpected — when was the last time you saw a recipe for pig’s ear? The book’s recipes are offered in nineteen sections. Many appear to be of foreign origin rather than French. A lesser known but great book of gastronomical interest and practical instruction. Very under-rated.

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Modern category
ref number: 11102