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250 ways to prepare eggs


250 manières pour apprêter les oeufs, suivies de quelques recettes inédites de cuisine, 1898

On ne fait pas d’omelette sans casses des oeufs.

You know the saying “You can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs”? Well, it is supposedly French in origin and emerged as a saying somewhere during the mid-nineteenth century, which is no surprise given the unprecedented level of egg breaking that was no doubt happening in France.

The author, Monsieur Ferdinand Grandi, parrots famed epicurean Brillat-Savarin in support of his obsession:

La découverte d’un mets nouveau fait plus pour le bonheur du genre humain que la découverte d’une étoile.


(The discovery of a new dish does more for the happiness of the human race than the discovery of a star). That was his way of saying “Bite me, astronomers—chefs rule.”  So, I guess Monsieur Grandi was a sort of culinary Galileo when it came to making eggs. It’s not surprising, coming from a guy who wrote an entire book on the art of folding napkins. He also dabbled in food-themed poetry. In 1893, he wrote a book about 130 ways to prepare eggs, but clearly that wouldn’t do. Especially after another author wrote a book with 200 ways to prepare eggs. Now, Grandi could hold bragging rights to being top dog among the three authors of books dedicated solely to eggs.

Grandi’s  preface ends with the bold declaration that he would quit cooking if eggs were ever banned. um…ok.



A treatise that includes everything from his thoughts on Darwin to commentary on the arts is well worth a read. You could be the most pedantic guest at your next cocktail party.

Or, if you just want to stay at home, stopping first, perhaps, at Walmart or Costco to pick up a few dozen eggs, you could try your hand at
Rissoles à la Pygmalion, Oeufs à la Olga, or any of the 248 other recipes.



Need to do a “cultural activity” for your French class? Read through the book and pick out a recipe or two. You’ll be making meals that Grandi once made for the “King of the Truffle,” Prince Demidov.

Bon appétit!

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