Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Le Cuisinier Parisien, 1842

This is the last one of the series of French cookbooks that I've been posting on my blog lately. This book gave me a bit of a dilemma that kept me from working on it for three freaking days. I was just staring at the book, and kept going back and forth with the dilemma.. ok, here's what it was ... the client sent me a couple of tiny grainy jpegs of a book that she wanted her Le Cuisinier Parisien to be like. It's normally a no brainer, but as I examined the book, it had been re-sewn in radically raised cords, and the placements of those cords didn't match that of the false raised cords used for the book on the jpeg. Bummer.. My dilemma was, whether to break it down and resew it completely, or just use the existing cords for the new binding. Neither was preferable. The original re-sewing was still perfectly in tact with firm glue, so forcing the break-down and re-resewing wouldn't be a good thing for the book in the long run and it would cost her another hundred or so dollars. Yet, if I used the existing cords, (which, by the way, weren't placed precisely, but askance ... total sloppiness!) my binding wouldn't look like what she asked for, and it will look horrible and imperfect, that I would never put my name on. Hummm..

So, the best solution I could come up with, was to carefully hammer down the raised cords without harming the threads or the paper so that the spine became flat enough for me to apply false raised bands that match the jpeg model. Also, to hide a slight gap on the spine, I decided to do a set of French double, which is slightly tilted outwards naturally. Ah, I think my tactic was a success.

As the papier tourniquet marble paper used on the model wasn't available, I used a french shell printed marble that matched the closest. (with the client's approval, of course.) I antiqued the leather and the endpapers as well. The torn papers are mended, and five days of dilemma was over!

This is Le Cuisinier Parisien, ou L’art de la cuisine Française au XIXè siècle - Traité élémentaire et pratique des entrées froides, des socles et de l’entremets de sucre, suivi d’observations utiles aux progrès de ces deux parties de la cuisine moderne, by Antonin Carême, published by J. Renouard. (Third Edition, 1842)


  1. Hi,
    I have just found your blog several days ago,and I am so excited and happy to read all your posts from the beginning:)
    You words on your daily bookbinding works sounds intresting and lovely to me,I love it so much!
    I have been making blank journal for several years(I have to learn all the skills myself),and could make a living by selling handmade journals in my country.But I rarely bind a book in a traditional way--leather cover just like what you are doing right now.The main reason is that I think the traditonal binding is the most difficult and important thing for a bookbinder.I have learned and practiced many ways of binding method,and this year I finally decided that I could start to learn traditional leatherbinding.(Still have to learn by myself)
    Thank you so much for your vedios ,it really helps:)
    Please keep writing blogs,cause I could feel the passion of binding.


    1. Oh, thank you for your kind words about my blog, Huhu. I'm rather surprised to hear that you like what I write!? I mean, I just simply spit out whatever's in my mind regarding the book I post on my blog, and I never really expected anyone to even read my rant because you see, what I write on my post is always about "Me & the book in front of me". So there's not much drama that I can make anyone excited about, to say the least. haha.. Anyway, thanks, Huhu, for finding me.


  2. Hi,MHR
    Sorry,my English is poor.I like reading the rant in your bookbinding posts,the personal character and emtions is really charming for me:)
    And I really admire and respect the job you are doing.I don't know how to express my feeling precisely,your posts give me energy,and some hopeful good feeling:)