Saturday 10 December 2011

Review - Le Charcutier Anglais by Marc Frederic

As followers of this blog and my Twitter feed might have noticed I've recently taken quite a large interest in the arts of smoking, Charcuterie, sausage making and so on.

Pair that with my cookbook collecting mania and you'll find that there's been quite a large number of books about these subjects shipped from Amazon to me.

I had actually followed and talked with Marc Frederic on Twitter before my new found interest, just purely out of him being quite an interesting character.

Having followed his feed I knew that he was in the process of publishing a book about these matters so it felt quite natural to pop in an order for it with Amazon.

Having patiently waited the book finally arrived today (the 9th of Dec) and I have already read it from start to finish. From that I think you can deduct two things - 1: I read quickly and 2: the book is very interesting.

I mentioned that I have bought quite a lot of books on this subject matter so I got some comparison material to go by.

This is by no means the most technical of these books, there's not table over table of curing times and how to make every percentage level available of brining liquid.

It's also not the one of these books with the most perfect layout or regimented structure.

What it do have though is lots of things that I feel goes missing in quite a lot of those other books. They feel more like manuals whilst this one feels like a book created out of a love of the subject matter.

The pictures are generally of a very high quality and adds value, there's even some cartoons and drawings thrown in for the fun of it.

His text shows the deep love and interest he has for this although at times I must admit that I had to re-read parts of instructions etc just to get the full understanding. However, since that's not overpowering I think it adds to the charm.

There's also lots of little tip boxes that add value to the book as well as some anecdotes thrown in as a little bonus.

There are chapters on Utensils, Butchery, Fat, Pork, Sausage Making, Smoking and so on. All of these have their own value but also link in with each other and gives you ideas on how you can combine techniques and ingredients.

You also get top quotes like "DRY CURING - my favourite method because it is so therapeutic". This is a man who clearly loves what he writes about.

The recipes are all well written and easy to understand for anyone who regularly reads recipes.

Mikey's verdict: This is a very well written book that conveys a love for a subject that makes you want to test the recipes and techniques that it describes. It might not be the one and only book you'd want on the subject. Some of the other books on the marked describe some of the underlying chemistry more in depth as well as gives you some more formulas etc to get brines correct.

However, this is a very worthy addition to your cookbook library and will teach you quite a lot about these subjects at the same time as it inspires you to no end.

I also want to point out that I bought my own copy for my own money and wrote this review on my own accord without Marc's prior knowledge of me planning to do so. To be honest - I haven't even asked Marc if I could use the picture above. I sure hope he doesn't mind. ;)

I bought my copy at Amazon and here's a link to Marc's blog with info about other places where you can buy your own copy.

Now I think I'll go away and work on an email to Marc to ask him if he thinks that my idea of adding some cold smoking to his recipe for 'Carpaccio of Cured Venison" would work. The fact that he got a book published on the subject doesn't mean that I can't find ways of freestyling his recipes! ;)


  1. Mike, I read the unedited version prior to publication and so enjoyed not just the instruction but the author's personality that shone through. That ability is a gift to any writer! I plan to make some caseless sausage - was that in the published version?

  2. Jean,

    You got lucky - getting in that early on this book. It is one of those you want to get your hands on as early as possible.

    I know what you mean, you get to feel like you're in the room with him and he's telling you all these funny stories.

    I don't think they're in there but it sounds interesting too.

    Thanks for taking the time to comment on this post!

    // Mike

  3. Hi Mike

    I have found your blogg. Excelent. However you have a excelent webb store over there quite nice "korvsprutor" we cant find them in sweden for this price.

    //Kenth Borglund

  4. Kenth,

    Many thanks for taking the time to write a comment here.

    I sure do know about,, that's where I got my sausage stuffer from finally.

    Let's just say that I went a bit crazy and got what probably should be classed as a commercial one, not necessarily one for the home amateur. ;)

    For more about that stuffer, have a look here:

    Once again, many thanks for taking the time to comment.

    // Mike


Please leave a comment. Positive or negative - all comments are welcome and useful. I do enjoy hearing what you think of my posts, what is good and what needs improving so please post away.

// Mike