The Fat Duck Cookbook: More Affordable, Less Big
The smaller and — more importantly — cheaper edition of Heston Blumenthal's magnum opus The Big Fat Duck Cookbook is now available. Appropriately titled the de-Biggened The Fat Duck Cookbook (Amazon), the two books are completely identical in terms of content; essentially it's a scaled down version of the original. Literally: The Fat Duck weighs in at a meager 5.6 pounds, versus The Big Fat Duck's best-in-class 11.6.
Other differences? The littler book has no slipcover, no silver-edged pages, and only one striped bookmark (instead of four). But it does have a sweet new cover with illustrations by Dave McKean But like The Big Fat Duck Cookbook, it's a pretty magical volume — all the Blumenthal insanity and creativity, just in a more compact carrying case, and a significantly lower price tag.
So is it worth buying the larger Big Fat Duck? If you're stocking a cooking school library, really into art books, or have a lot of money to throw around, sure thing! The bigger version is rather stunning: The large format suits the intensely detailed illustrations, the gorgeous silver-on-charcoal slipcover is impressive and sturdy, and the thick pages are just so very satisfying to turn.
But The Fat Duck Cookbook is indeed a bargain. Think of it this way: at the price of $157.50 for a single copy of The Big Fat Duck Cookbook, you could buy five copies of The Fat Duck Cookbook at its current price of $31 instead. (We're sure absolutely no one is pissed off that they bought the big one at full price when it came out a year ago, especially no one who writes for this blog.)