Cookbook Month – Mapie, Comtesse Guy de Toulouse-Lautrec



I have some excellent cookbooks. For example, I love my Nigel Slater books; everyone who leaves home needs a copy of Appetite to start them off. I also like books that are the sort that someone’s grandmother would cook from. I have a copy of Cocina Mexicana in both English and Spanish, with each recipe in both languages so I can cook from it and Jean can show off her Spanish. The awesome Fannie Farmer Cookbook represents for America. But today I was thinking of making a simple beef bourgignon so I consulted Mapie.




The book is Good French Cooking by Mapie, Comtesse Guy de Toulouse-Lautrec. I borrowed a 1960s translation from friend Sharon and it was so good I had to order a copy for myself. I hunted through Amazon and found many modern editions, but I wanted the one I had. The one copy I found was too expensive, so I contacted the seller and made him an offer. He agreed so long as I shipped it to a UK address. I’d never tried bargaining with a second-hand bookseller before. It worked well for me – he lowered the price and I shipped to Nick’s Mum’s house in Hampshire.

As I looked through the variations on braised beef, it struck me that I need to spend more time with this cookbook. The recipes in there are short and simple, because Mapie assumes you know how to cook. The recipe for Boeuf Bourgignon is four lines long. She doesn’t mention oven temperatures. If she says ‘simmer’, you simmer.

Every time I cook a standard meal there’s an opportunity to perfect something interesting, or to explore something new. So I am going to declare August my Mapie month and cook a few things from her cookbook.




The recipe is so simple it has to be a worldwide standard, only differentiated by the wine you pick. Putting in a liter of Gascon red costs me about 1€20 since I buy some amazingly good and cheap red from a secret location in the Gers. It comes in a 10L box. If I return the box I get a euro back. Since I’m braising in a Côte de Gascogne, am I cooking a Gascognon rather than a Bourgignon? By that reasoning, if I’d used a WA red it would be a Washingtognon.




[Note: Jean commented that I chose this picture purely because it showed off my G-Shock, an old school MRG-1200T Revman, with the T standing for Titanium. Of course, Jean just said ‘watch’.]


5 Responses to “Cookbook Month – Mapie, Comtesse Guy de Toulouse-Lautrec”

  1. 1 PeterJ
    August 9, 2010 at 23:57

    I was just thinking what wonderful photographs you seem to take (regardless of the watch). I especially like the use of depth of field in the photo of the page in the book you were cooking from. You have considerable artistic talent (something I lack).

    Btw you owe us an explanation for changing the brentcu.com title picture, gorgeous, but what am I looking at?

  2. August 10, 2010 at 00:13

    You like the photos? Bugger. Jean takes the photos. I tell her what I want and she makes it look good. She had all that practice on http://girlongrillaction.com.

    I did take the header photo. It is a picture of the docks in Dover port when coming in on a ferry after midnight. It looked as freaky in person as it does in the photo. I have been taking far fewer photos since Lucy dropped my camera. 🙂

    The Dover one above has been there for a year. You might be thinking of the photo on the farm blog, http://wobbly.com.

  3. 3 Deb.
    August 10, 2010 at 08:27

    I have a lot of cookbooks too, which you would find funny if you could see my kitchen. I know Nigel Slater but will have to check out his cookbooks. I note how expert you are at pouring from a cask!!

  4. 4 PeterJ
    August 11, 2010 at 00:18

    You’re right, I was confusing it with wobbly. Sheesh, how many blogs can one guy have? And hoe come I never actually see any girls on the grill on http://girlongrillaction.com? 🙂 Not that I’m a sadist, really!

  5. August 28, 2010 at 23:53

    Deb, you need to post a photo of your kitchen to satisfy my curiosity!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

brentcu on Twitter:

Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.


%d bloggers like this: