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Customer Review

506 of 525 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My cooking textbook and still my favorite "all-purpose" book, September 14, 2002
This review is from: Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Vol. 1 (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. Just in case you were looking for that recipe, fyi.

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 principles of good food preparation, even if omitting cream or substituting lower fat choices. I still find that these recipes are the ones I use as the "gold standard", whether it's boeuf bourguignon or a pear recipe (pears with macaroons) that has stood me in stead as a quick but unusually good dessert for years. My copy is bedraggled and I've had it for fifty years. Still going strong.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Feb 22, 2010 7:26:54 AM PST
MBooklover says:
Love you post! I grew up with a Mom who was forced to learn how to cook when we came as refugees from Cuba in '62! I love Julia, her book, her TV shows, her story. Bon appetit!

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 2, 2013 5:38:56 AM PDT
Thanks for the compliment! I was just back visiting my mom and she has a newspaper photo of Julia Child, towering over her tiny stove in the "Rue de Loo." She framed it and it sits on the kitchen counter. I guess we both still adore Julia Child.
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