Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home
is the companion volume to Julia Child and Jacques Pepin's PBS series of the same name. The setup works like this: the two opinionated TV cooks confront different ingredients on each show, then make their way through to the finished dishes that make up a meal. The recipes reveal themselves along the way.
What's most important here--and it shows up in the cookbook--is that there is no one way to cook. The point of the book isn't to follow recipes, but to cook from the suggestions. And Julia and Jacques have many, many suggestions when it comes to home cooking in the French style. And many tips, for that matter.
Take chicken, for example. "Not everything I do with my roast chicken is necessarily scientific," Julia says. "For instance, I always give my bird a generous butter massage before I put it in the oven. Why? Because I think the chicken likes it--and, more important, I like to give it." Julia sets her chicken on a V-rack in a roasting pan in a 425-degree oven that she then turns down to 350 after 15 minutes. Jacques roasts his bird at 425, on its side, right in the pan. "To me," he says, "it's very important to place the chicken on its side for all but 10 minutes of roasting." After 25 minutes he turns his chicken over, careful not to tear the skin, and lowers the heat to 400. The bird finishes breast-side up for the last 15 to 20 minutes.
This book is divided into chapters on appetizers, soups, eggs, salads and sandwiches, potatoes, vegetables, fish, poultry, meats, and desserts. The she said-he said format works throughout, and a lot of what's said you may realize you have heard before. There are no big surprises here. But it's good fun, a decent reminder of some of the classics of French tradition, and a chance to loosen up and simply cook at home with a couple of masters--one to the right of you, one to the left. You decide which hamburger's the right one for you. --Schuyler Ingle
From Publishers Weekly
Culinary grande dame Child and master chef P?pin define "the basics of fine food that looks good, tastes the way it should and is a total pleasure to eat." Chapters are organized into appetizers, soups, eggs, salads and sandwiches, potatoes, vegetables, fish, poultry, meats and desserts. Based on the vast experience of these chefs, the book takes a she says/he says approach to home-style French cooking: While Julia finds the dark digestive vein in shrimp "ugly" and automatically removes it, Jacques considers it "perfectly good protein to eat"; Julia prefers seasoning food with white pepper, but Jacques uses black pepper, and so forth. Child and P?pin recycle familiar Franco-American classics, like Omelets, Souffl?s, French Fries, Sole Meuni?re, Roast Chicken, Steak Au Poivre and Cr?me Br?l?e, with a contemporary sleight-of-hand (e.g., stocks that can be made within an hour; a microwave method for clarified butter). Eschewing today's trendy global pantry, recipes emphasize fresh, seasonal ingredients. There is also no shortage of shopping, preparation and technique tips from the pros, such as Jacques's perspective on buying a good steak: "it's more useful to have knowledge about cuts of meat than a lot of money." A charismatic tag team, veterans Child and P?pin illuminate novice and seasoned home cooks alike, gently reminding readers that "eating, as well as cooking, should be pleasurable and guiltless." First serial to Gourmet; Good Cook Book Club main selection; author tour. (Sept.) FYI: Cooking at Home is based on a forthcoming 22-part PBS series.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.