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Total Perfection Paperback – Jul 28 2009


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 1 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury UK (July 28 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1408802449
  • ISBN-13: 978-1408802441
  • Product Dimensions: 23.1 x 15.2 x 3.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 662 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #226,793 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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Most helpful customer reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Highly technical, esoterically presentational, but rooted in flavour, texture, aroma and the food science. Everything is explained, exhaustively, so that you know why something is being done. If you know that, then you can modify according to your circumstances: not everyone will want to put sea-foam on top of a fish pie, but everyone will know how should they want to do it another time.

Good cooks will appreciate the focus on excellent ingredients, and the usage of modern techniques to replace older ones (using gels to replace flour in blanquettes for example). Occasional cooks will struggle: not with the language or the ideas, but with following the recipes, because the recommended techniques pre-suppose access to a fully-equipped kitchen, and familiarity with relatively advanced techniques. Nobody who wants everything measured in cups is going to be able to feel comfortable here.

It is the pursuit of perfection that is the point though - this is not a pictorial book with few words - it is solid reading with a few illustrations. Because Blumenthal tries and fails several times, before eventually succeeding, the method of research and enquiry is laid out for all to see and use; the importance of good food, from good farms and producers, the exhaustive search for, say, a good-quality duck. Not any old duck. For the non-British reader, those ducks just cannot be got, but the importance of finding your own duck supplier is absolutely conveyed, and a few ideas about how to tell one when you've got him or her also helps.

Technical it might be, but Blumethal is in the business of producing food that will delight al lthe senses, including at least one you probably didn't know you had. Worth every minute's reading.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Digest on Oct. 6 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Watch the youtube clips of the TV series on which this book is based and you will see an ingenious, skillful and passionate artist at work. The cooking behind this book is astonishing, and brilliant. That brilliance is enough to make this book worth reading. But the book is _horribly_ written from beginning to end. It's like they commissioned Enid Blyton to ghost write a book by Charles Darwin.

Buy it if what you want is a reminder of the uniquely Blumenthal cleverness that lies behind the recipes collected here -- but if bad prose hurts you, then, in reading this lot, you must expect to suffer grievously.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4 reviews
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Scientific approach to understanding a dish, great unless you already own Heston's other books in the series... July 9 2010
By A. Hsu - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Heston's is a chef that tirelessly, to a point of obsession, strives to bring out the essence of food to a predetermined idea of "perfection". Being a self-taught, literally (not going to culinary school/working in a professional kitchen for only a week!), Heston takes an unconventional approach not used by everyday chefs and uses the scientific method to hypothesize and determine experiments for the results he is looking for. What I really enjoyed about this book is that he dwells into the history and background of the dish; from the story of the farmers, to the use of ingredients and conventional techniques.

I guess some people may think that this book is not for the home cook. To a certain degree I can agree, due to the labor required in some of the recipes, but it is obvious that Heston had the home cook in mind while writing this book(just see his other books, Fat Duck Cookbook). Also this series was filmed for BBC as a television show. The recipes I have tried are sound and everything is written very clearly. But beyond the recipes, Heston is trying to give the home cook an idea of how to approach cooking, instilling somewhat of an intuition by having an understanding of what is going on in the food that you prepare. I find that having an understanding of why, is much more useful than a foundation of this is how.

Other books of interest would be On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen as well as Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking

Now all that being said, if you already own Heston Blumenthal's other books in the series In Search of Perfection and Further Adventures in Search of Perfection: Reinventing Kitchen Classics DO NOT GET THIS BOOK! It is simply a softcover copy of the two books put together!!! This is still a great book, but I much prefer the later two since they come hard bound, with more pictures and higher quality printing.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Heston is err, umm beston.. Feb. 10 2011
By J. Cameron - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
it's great even if you just want to read about how great food can be prepared or a small insight into Heston's mad genius.
On top of which, the recipe's have been made (somewhat) for home cooks.
Very good.
he is genius, great content, paperback quality sucks Oct. 8 2011
By Filippo - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
amazing stories, wonderful recepies, eventho you will be able to cook probably only 4 or 5 of them. they are hard and require lots of preparation, attention etc... but he is a genius. the quality of the paperback leaves something to be desired.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A daunting collection Oct. 17 2010
By Antoin - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Very interesting collection especially if combined with the TV series. Recipes involved but doable and can be fun. His treatment of the perfect Pizza is the best!

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