Cook dinner with Robert Carrier and you’ll need butter, cream, wine and quite a lot of cognac

Cook dinner with Robert Carrier and you’ll need butter, cream, wine and quite a lot of cognac

The Guardian

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Great Dishes of the World was a fabulous book full of all the richest flavours

The late Robert Carrier loved butter. He loved butter the way small children love puppies. Early on in his masterpiece, Great Dishes of the World, he writes: “To my mind there is nothing that quite replaces butter in cooking.” Then he gives margarine a fabulous eyeroll. He’s keen on cream, too. And brandy. Lots of brandy. His friends point out that Carrier was a restless soul, who moved with the times. In later years, they say, he lightened his recipes.

Those lighter recipes are not in Great Dishes of the World, a fabulous book which was first published in 1963 and that probably sold more copies than any of the other titles featured in this series. Carrier’s Wikipedia entry, which those same friends say is notoriously unreliable, claims 11m copies sold at 70 shillings a pop. “I don’t know the exact number,” says the writer John Tagholm, who produced many of his TV series and knew him well. “But it certainly made him a millionaire.” The cook and writer Simon Hopkinson cooked for him often at Bibendum on London’s Fulham Road. As he says, the book is “wonderful and over the top”.

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