Sarah R. Labensky / Alan M. Hause: On Cooking

Culinary Arts

“Cookery is become an art, a noble science; cooks are gentlemen.” – Robert Burton, British author (1621).

One of the many neat features of studying at Cornell University is that, even if you’re not enrolled in its famous School of Hotel Administration, you can attend one of the cooking and wine tasting classes organized especially for non-Hotel School students, and get at least a flavor of the five star culinary instruction provided by the chefs teaching at that school. (That is, you can do so if you’re willing to get up an extra hour or two early on the morning of non-Hotel School student enrollment, and if you’re lucky enough to beat the crowds or at least slip in as a substitute participant.) In addition to numerous recipes and pieces of valuable advice, information and memories – particularly of the last night, on which we had to put together a four-course meal, fine dining style, complete with menu, garnishments and perfectly laid table – Cornell’s “cooking class” has enriched my kitchen by two items I have since found it very hard to do without: A professional grade chef’s knife, and Sarah Labensky’s and Alan Hause’s “On Cooking,” which we used as our textbook.

Much more than that, however, “On Cooking” is in fact a near-complete reference on everything related to the culinary arts, from the history of cooking to new foods developed in the 20th century, from sanitation and safety to nutritional values, from recipe writing to menu composition, from knifes and other pieces of equipment to edible kitchen staples, from the principles of cooking to various techniques and food presentation – and of course, on every conceivable kind of food, from coffee, tea, spices and condiments to dairy products, stocks, sauces, soups, red and white meats, charcuterie, fish and shellfish, eggs, vegetables, potatoes, grains, pasta, salads, fruits, sandwiches, hors d’oeuvres, canapes, breads, pies, pastries, cookies, cakes, custards, creams and frozen desserts. Along the way, numerous tables, diagrams and pictures illustrate and exemplify the given information, making it easy to digest and memorize. The book concludes with an extensive bibliography and recommendations for further reading, and a detailed glossary of essential culinary terms.

Recipes are chosen to match individual chapters, and provide both a practical application and a more profound understanding of the respective chapters’ subject matter. They include everything from American and international classics to numerous more unusual dishes.

At 1100+ pages a veritable brick, despite its size “On Cooking” has become as much a key part of my kitchen as my chef’s knife, my tea strainer and various other pieces of equipment. I don’t harbor any intentions of becoming a professional chef (nor any aspirations to even remotely that level of culinary skills), but I love to cook, and this is one of the cookbooks I’d be least likely to part with – ever.

On the last night of the cooking class offered by Cornell School of Hotel Administration to non-Hotel School students, with my Argentinian friend and classmate Victoria (winter 1998).

Classic Recipes
  • Applesauce
  • Asian Chicken Salad
  • Baked Beans
  • Baked Potatoes
  • Barbecue Sauce
  • Béarnaise Sauce
  • Béchamel Sauce
  • Beef Stroganoff
  • Boeuf Bourguignon
  • Bolognese Sauce
  • Bordelaise Sauce
  • Broths
  • Brownies
  • Bûche de Noël
  • Burgers
  • Cannoli alla Siciliana
  • Carpaccio
  • Cassoulet
  • Cesar Dressing
  • Châteaubriand
  • Chicken Cacciatore
  • Chicken Curry
  • Chicken Fricassee
  • Chili con Carne
  • Chocolate Angel Food Cake
  • Chocolate Mousse
  • Chorizo
  • Clams Casino
  • Club Sandwich
  • Cobb Salad
  • Coleslaw
  • Consommés
  • Coq au Vin
  • Crème Brulée
  • Crêpes
  • Duck Confit
  • Eggs Benedict
  • Entrecôte Bordelaise
  • Falafel
  • Fettuccine Alfredo
  • Fillet of Sole Bonne Femme
  • Focaccia
  • Frangipane
  • French Onion Soup
  • Gazpacho
  • Gingerbread Cookies
  • Gnocchi
  • Gratin Dauphinois
  • Gravlax
  • Grilled Portabella Mushrooms
  • Guacamole
  • Hollandaise Sauce
  • Hummus
  • Hungarian Goulash
  • Hush Puppies
  • Kebabs
  • Ladyfingers
  • Lemon Curd
  • Macaroni and Cheese
  • Madeira Sauce
  • Madeleines
  • Matzo Balls
  • Mayonnaises
  • Meatloaf
  • Meringues
  • Minestrone
  • Mornay Sauce
  • Muffins
  • New England Clam Chowder
  • New York Cheesecake
  • Osso Buco
  • Oysters Rockefeller
  • Paella
  • Pepper Steak
  • Pesto
  • Pico de Gallo
  • Pies
  • Pilafs
  • Pizza
  • Polenta
  • Potato Salad
  • Quiche Lorraine
  • Ratatouille
  • Reuben Sandwich
  • Risottos
  • Roquefort Dressing
  • Rösti Potatoes
  • Sabayon
  • Salade Niçoise
  • Salsas
  • Scrambled Eggs
  • Sorbets
  • Spanakopitta
  • Spätzle
  • Spiced Cider
  • Sponge Cake
  • Stocks
  • Swedish Meatballs
  • Tartar Sauce
  • Tarts
  • T-bone Steak
  • Thai Noodle Salad
  • Thousand Islands Dressing
  • Toll House Cookies
  • Tortes
  • Tournedos Rossini
  • Veal Fricassee
Some Unusual Recipes:
  • Balsamic Raspberries
  • Beet Vinaigrette
  • Chilled Cherry Soup
  • Chocolate Flourless Cake
  • Cilantro Puree
  • Crayfish Butter
  • English Muffin Loaves
  • Figs with Berries and Honey Mousse
  • Goat Cheese Ravioli in Herbed Cream Sauce
  • Grilled Red Snapper Burger with Mango Ketchup
  • Grilled Seckel Pear with Sherry Bacon Vinaigrette
  • Grits and Cheddar Soufflé
  • Kirsch Mousse
  • Marinated Loin of Venison Roasted with Mustard
  • Nopal Cactus Salsa
  • Oatmeal Stout Ice Cream
  • Perfumed Shrimp Consommé
  • Pink Peppercorn Beurre Blanc
  • Pistachio Citrus Cheesecake
  • Potato Cheddar Cheese Bread
  • Potato-Ginger Puree
  • Quince Jam
  • Roast Pheasant with Cognac and Apples
  • Salmon Croquettes
  • Salmon and Sea Bass Terrine with Spinach and Basil
  • Sautéd Pork Medallions with Red Pepper and Citrus
  • Shallot Curry Oil
  • Spicy Sweet Potato and Chestnut Gratin
  • Stuffed Wontons with Apricot Sauce
  • Tex-Mex Turkey Sausage
  • Walnut Pesto
  • Wild Rice and Cranberry Stuffing
  • Zucchini Bread




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