Edouard Alexandre de Pomiane (1875 – 1964) was the French-born son of Polish immigrants. A scientist at the Institut Pasteur, he was also a radio broadcaster and food writer.
de Pomiane’s classic book, La Cuisine en Dix Minutes ou l’adaptation au rhythme modern (Cooking in Ten Minutes), published in 1930 (France) and 1948 (Britain) has delightfully whimisical black and white illustrations.
The Cookery Book Club edition pictured, was published in 1969. There are plenty of other editions available online and in bookstores. The book was recently available at Target, but is now sold out.
Julian Barnes reviewed Cooking in Ten Minutes for The Guardian in March 2003
Secrets of the 10-minute maestro | Books | The Guardian
In 2010, Cooking in Ten Minutes made it into the Observer Food Monthly 50 Best Cookbooks at #41. Cooking in Ten Minutes | Food | The Guardian
The most recent review found, was written by Alasdair Riley in The Independent in October 2012
Fast food: How a book of rapid recipes by a French scientist became a cult classic | The Independent
My first encounter with Cooking in Ten Minutes, was at Foyle’s, the famous bookshop in Charing Cross Road. Miss Foyle (1911-1999) conducted the fastest interview I have ever experienced, asking me merely to confirm that I was indeed a college-trained former chef and spoke French. I was taken on as a temp and after a few weeks, let loose to run the cookery book department, which was great fun. Cooking in Ten Minutes was particularly popular with Americans.
However you choose to eat, Cooking In Ten Minutes is a classic cookbook, which will enhance your cookery book collection, in the eyes of serious cooks
The book is written for busy people and in the 21st century, that means all of us. Edouard de Pomiane has his own quirky style and writes with humour. Just not what you would expect from a serious scientist, in a prestigious French institute.
He starts by explaining cooking methods eg boiling, frying, grilling and roasting, so that there’s no ambiguity when he references these methods, in recipes.
Although de Pomiane teaches the reader to thicken sauces with flour, he does the same with egg yolks, which is a low carb method.
After a guide to kitchen equipment, which reveals how sparse Thirties kitchens could be, de Pomiane gives some sample menus and a few notes on order of work.
Hors d’oeuvres aren’t eaten in British restaurants now, because of the risk of salmonella from the unrefrigerated items on the hors d’oeuvres trolley.
At home, an hors d’oeuvres lunch or starter can be easily assembled from the fridge. Edouard suggests mortadella or salami, tuna, olives, mushroom salad, smoked ham, butter, Roquefort and some fruit. If low carbers stick to low carb fruit, this hors d’oeuvres could make a lunch, starter or picnic.
Other low carb suggestions are radishes with butter and black radishes with cream, salt and vinegar. Celery dipped in mustard, black olives with smoked sprats, pink caviar and Portuguese oysters with chipolatas.
To avoid food poisoning, I strongly suggest avoiding the raw bacon and raw ham unless properly cured.
Soup in ten minutes ? For de Pomiane’s bouillon, you’ll need a really good liquid meat extract and butter. Bouillon with Parmesan is low carb, if you omit the toast crumbs or use low carb bread. Aigo-Boulido, a Provencal garlic soup, is low carb if you omit the bread at the end, though some might say that this spoils the soup. Those allowing themselves a higher amount of carbs, could also add beetroot soup and pumpkin soup to the list.
Sauces. Ignore the white, bechamel, poulette, Normande, supreme, mornay, piquante, mustard, robert and curry sauces in the book. These all contain flour. Sauce Mornay can be subbed, by adding grated Gruyere cheese into creme fraiche, heated gently. However, the mayonnaise, hollandaise, bearnaise and tomato sauces are all low carb.
Eggs are an essential for low carbers. Nutritious and incredibly versatile. Cooking in Ten Minutes gives basic recipes and tweaks for boiled, soft, hard-boiled, poached, fried, ham and eggs, bacon and eggs, Cervelat sausage and eggs, scrambled eggs, eggs with cream, oeufs sur le plat and omelettes.
Fish.. de Pomiane boils whiting, skate, haddock, cod and halibut. They are served with melted butter (haddock or whiting), black butter (skate), mornay sauce (halibut), tomato sauce (cod). Omit breadcrumb garnishes. Other low carb fish dishes which omit flour are fried sardines, boiled trout, fillets of sole with mushrooms, boiled cod (using tinned salt cod) and Biscay cod.
Seafood dishes are oysters with chipolatas, the classic moules mariniere and moules poulette (although it doesn’t use sauce poulette). Other dishes are hot shrimps (low carb bread if you must), Dublin Bay prawns a l’Americaine (with champagne) and lobster with mayonnaise. de Pomiane includes snails in this section.
Vegetables start with potatoes. The savvy low carber could saute turnips, swede (rutabaga), celeriac (celery root) as a substitute in dishes such as potatoes with bacon, saute potatoes, fried potatoes and Mornay potatoes.
It is not known whether de Pomiane’s tinned peas were ‘clean’, in the 1930s, but in the 2020s, they certainly aren’t. Instead of tinned peas, frozen can be used for green peas with ham, green peas with bacon or green peas with cream. Organic garden peas are available in the UK from Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose, which also sells organic petits pois. Beware buying unfamiliar brands from a discount store as the peas can be tough.
In an effort to produce a complete meal in ten minutes, de Pomiane resorts to tinned beans, asparagus and an assortment of beans. Forget anything but green, French, dwarf or runner beans and use fresh or frozen. Fresh asparagus is a quick cooker.
There’s no reason to use tinned spinach, when fresh or frozen are just as quick to cook, either. Do do do wash fresh spinach really well, even if organic. I had dinner in a local pub and ended up in hospital for 8 days in an isolation ward, with e.coli 0157. Not fun.
Beef recipes are pretty much variations on sauteed steaks with sauteed onions, mushrooms or potatoes (sub). Summer turnips ie the small ones, are a really good potato sub, sliced thinly and sauteed, because they become crunchy with a nice colour. The tournedos dishes all require Madeira. The Russian bitocks dish should be avoided because it requires 1/4 lb breadcrumbs. All the veal dishes include flour.
There aren’t any lamb recipes in de Pomiane’s book. He does include grilled and fried mutton cutlets, mutton chops, escalopes of mutton, mutton a la Georgienne and saute mutton a l’Americaine, however.
Pork recipes include grilled pork,fried pork cutlets with sauerkraut, onions and low carbers can sub konjac noodles for a couple more recipes and turnips for potatoes, for another. There are recips for sauteed ham, fried sausages, and serving ideas for fried black pudding.
If you’re a fan of nose to tail eating, there are a plethora of dishes for calves’ kidneys, ox kidney, sheep’s kidneys and liver. Avoid anything with flour and check sauces.
Chicken – all five recipes are low carb. Apart from quail en cocotte, the game recipes aren’t low carb.
For puddings, it’s really only strawberries and cream without sugar, or cream cheese and cream beaten together, with cinnamon.
Verdict: It’s a fun book to read and there are more low carb recipes than you would think, which will give a simple French slant to your food and of course they are all really quick to make. BUY !