As the culinary and publishing industries have, respectively, evolved, the cookbook of today has become something far removed from what it used to be. Though now a beautiful collector’s item, back in the day, it was literally a book filled with dry (and often vague) lists of ingredients and instructions.
In this video from cooking channel Sorted, two professional chefs attempt a hundred-year-old recipe from the first French cookbook in known history, Le Repertoire De La Cuisine, by Auguste Escoffier. The recipe is Sole Renaissance, and the chefs are forced to guess, from a simple list of ingredients, how to cook and plate this French fish dish. Some items garner dispute, such as the “noisette potatoes,” which could be referring to the color of the potatoes, the shape, or the kind of butter they are cooked in. But the end results are still quite spectacular.
Watch to find out just how close they come to replicating the recipe according to the standards of the time. Buy the book and try this recipe at home if you dare, or, if you’re looking for a slightly more modern (and comprehensive) take on French cuisine, maybe take a look at this cookbook by experimental French cook and YouTube personality Alex Gabriel.