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Mastering the Art of French Cooking: Vol.1 Hardcover – March 1, 2011


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 784 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books, Limited (UK) (March 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0241953391
  • ISBN-13: 978-0241953396
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.2 x 1.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,042 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,083,477 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

This is the classic cookbook, in its entirety—all 524 recipes.

“Anyone can cook in the French manner anywhere,” wrote Mesdames Beck, Bertholle, and Child, “with the right instruction.” And here is the book that, for more than forty years, has been teaching Americans how.

Mastering the Art of French Cooking is for both seasoned cooks and beginners who love good food and long to reproduce at home the savory delights of the classic cuisine, from the historic Gallic masterpieces to the seemingly artless perfection of a dish of spring-green peas. This beautiful book, with more than 100 instructive illustrations, is revolutionary in its approach because:

• it leads the cook infallibly from the buying and handling of raw ingredients, through each essential step of a recipe, to the final creation of a delicate confection;

• it breaks down the classic cuisine into a logical sequence of themes and variations rather than presenting an endless and diffuse catalogue of recipes; the focus is on key recipes that form the backbone of French cookery and lend themselves to an infinite number of elaborations—bound to increase anyone’s culinary repertoire;

• it adapts classical techniques, wherever possible, to modern American conveniences;

• it shows Americans how to buy products, from any supermarket in the United States, that reproduce the exact taste and texture of the French ingredients, for example, equivalent meat cuts, the right beans for a cassoulet, or the appropriate fish and seafood for a bouillabaisse;

• it offers suggestions for just the right accompaniment to each dish, including proper wines. Since there has never been a book as instructive and as workable as Mastering the Art of French Cooking, the techniques learned here can be applied to recipes in all other French cookbooks, making them infinitely more usable. In compiling the secrets of famous cordons bleus, the authors have produced a magnificent volume that is sure to find the place of honor in every kitchen in America. Bon appétit!

Julie & Julia
is now a major motion picture (releasing in August 2009) starring Meryl Streep as Julia Child. It is partially based on Julia Child's memoir, My Life in France. Enjoy these images from the film, and click the thumbnails to see larger images.


--This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

Review

The most instructive book on fine French cooking written in the English language -- Elizabeth David This book fundamentally altered the way a basic human activity was preceived and pursued -- A. O. Scott The New York Times Has been described as being the best book about French cooking in English ... I agree -- Ambrose Heath Guardian As close to a divine text as you can get -- Matthew Fort Guardian

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Customer Reviews

So far all the recipes I have tried have been GREAT!
Amazon Customer
The book gives easy to understand instructions for French cooking techniques.
Lori Blankenship
Julia Child definitely mastered the art of French cooking.
Spencer Pitcher

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1,251 of 1,264 people found the following review helpful By Marc Mest on October 5, 2005
Format: Hardcover
First, I cannot cook. other then basic heat and serve.

So I bought a ton of cookbooks and tried a ton of recipes from the food network. Still could not cook.

Picked up this book at a flea market ( the 1963 printing ).

This book is incredible. My kids not only will eat the food, but they love it. ( and they demand the food now ).

I do not agree with other reviews about complexity and cost of the recipe's. She provides both easy and complex recipes.

The recipes are well thought out, with step by step insrtructions and illustrations. The illustrations are priceless, cooking is alot of technique, and the illustrations walk you through it. Every question I would have had about the ingredients or prep are covered.

Oh, and ingredients.. She assumes that the grocery store is the only place you have to shop. So she notes how to adjust for canned or frozen vs fresh, and what you can substitute. Not some cute ethnic market in New york city where everything is always in season from the 4 corners of the world. You can literally take the book to the grocery store to buy your ingredients. and come out with everything you need. ( I have a 40 year old copy of this book, and Julia's assumptions about what I will be able, and will not, to find in my grocery store is 100% correct. )

Crepes - been trying for a year to make the kids crepes. tried several recipes online. failed. first attempt with Julia, and voila crepes.

Omlette - so I could always make an omlette. or at least I thought. now I am an omlette gourmet cook.

I cannot wait to graduate to her other cookbooks.
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426 of 439 people found the following review helpful By Joanna Daneman #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 12, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Like the famous Julie of "Julie and Julia", a lot of us aspiring amateur cooks tried to work through this book in the 70's. We made a lot of the recipes, including a memorable "Dacquoise" meringue and praline cake for grad school parties. (We eked out a seminar dinner budget to cover the speaker and two or three guests at a restaurant and turned it into dinner for 30 or so by cooking at a faculty member's house. This was our main cookbook for many of those dinners.)

The basics on vegetables are here--maybe a bit plain by today's standards, or sometimes overly complicated (who is going to fight with an artichoke or make a moussaka a la turque steamed in a lining of eggplant skin in a timbale mould) but most of the recipes are well worth the effort.

Book One has main dishes and a few desserts, soups, of course and vegetables. Book Two has more ambitious baking (the infamous Dacquoise) and even baguettes, which still don't come out quite right as American flour has a different ash content and American ovens don't produce steam like professional ovens. The pastry section is particularly good in both; you can learn to make a pate sable or a kind of sugar-cookie like crust that is dead useful for tarts. I've also used the Creme Bavaroise many a time; a lot of work, beating gelatin, cream and carefully unmolding what looks like a simple mousse in a decorative ring mould but is a very elegant dessert that serves quite a few, especially sliced, and plated with fresh berries and a drizzle of sauce. It adapts to many flavors (passion fruit, strawberry, chocolate, mocha) and is one of my favorite classics that you just don't see anymore.
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442 of 456 people found the following review helpful By Joanna Daneman #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 14, 2002
Format: Hardcover
My mom was insistent that we kids learn to cook, and when Julia Child came on public television in the 60's, the whole family was glued to the set. We watched with fascination as she did things with food we Americans didn't know you could do. Mom bought this cookbook then, and I still have it, cover hanging by threads and covered in all kinds of saucy stains. It's still going strong, getting more stains every time I give a dinner party.
We learned how to make omelets, roasts, soups like Vichysoisse (surprisingly simple potato and leek soup), and how to cook the bumper crop of garden green beans in a new and very delectable manner.
I still think that this may be one of the best cookbooks for vegetables that I have on my shelf. I prize it for the meat section, especially a veal ragout that is possibly one of the most luxurious company dishes for a dinner party. It can be made ahead, and in fact, improves if you do. There are a lot of delicious desserts, some complicated (like Creme Bavaroise) and some cakes such as Reine de Saba (Queen of Sheba), a darkly moist and modest looking little chocolate cake. This is easy to make, but so rich and delicious it should be banned by the AMA. What's not in here is French Bread. That's in Volume II.
We made French-style green beans and the Reine de Saba cake one memorable Thanksgiving when we were very young, and even the kids (seven cousins, five of which were BOYS) sat politely glued to the table for the ENTIRE meal instead of getting up and running around halfway through the feast. The food was THAT good.
While I don't make French food every day because I watch my weight, I do use this book for the princples of good food preparation, even if omitting cream or substituting lower fat choices.
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