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Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Vol. 1 Hardcover – October 16, 2001
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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.
Praise for Julia Child and Mastering the Art of French Cooking
"Has it really been 40 years since Julia Child rescued Americans from dreary casseroles? This reissue, clad in a handsome red jacket, is what a cookbook should be: packed with sumptuous recipes, detailed instructions, and precise line drawings. Some of the instructions look daunting, but as Child herself says in the introduction, 'If you can read, you can cook.'" —Entertainment Weekly
“Julia Child paved the way for Chez Panisse and so many others by demystifying French food and by reconnecting pleasure and delight with cooking and eating at the table. She brought forth a culture of American ingredients and gave us all the confidence to cook with them in the pursuit of flavor.” —Alice Waters, Chez Panisse
“Mastering the Art of French Cooking was one of my first introductions to my foundation of understanding the art of French cooking. The combination of reading Julia’s book, working in the kitchen, and watching her television shows helped lead me to my beginnings in serious cuisine. Julia is . . . the grande dame of cooking, who has touched all of our lives with her immense respect and appreciation of cuisine.” —Emeril Lagasse, Emeril’s Restaurant
“Julia has slowly but surely altered our way of thinking about food. She has taken the fear out of the term ‘haute cuisine.’ She has increased gastronomic awareness a thousandfold by stressing the importance of good foundation and technique, and she has elevated our consciousness to the refined pleasures of dining. Through the years her shows have kept me in rapt attention, and her humor has kept me in stitches. She is a national treasure, a culinary trendsetter, and a born educator beloved by all.” —Thomas Keller, The French Laundry
“Julia freed the American public from their fears of cooking French. By doing so, she greatly expanded the audience for all serious food writers. Her demystification prepared that public for the rest of us. I believe that the television shows based on that landmark book did even more to encourage reluctant cooks to try their hands . . . much to our benefit.” —Mimi Sheraton
“1961 A.D. Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking is published. Her black-and-white TV show on WGBH in Boston soon follows. Child is one of the great teachers of the millennium: She is intelligent and charismatic, and her undistinguished manual skills are not daunting to her viewers. An entire generation of ambitious American home cooks is instantly born.” —Jeffrey Steingarten
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I actually had not particularly wanted these cookbooks, and then I read My Life in France, which is Julia's memoir (and, really, a love story - her love for her husband Paul, his love for her, their love of France, their love of food, her love of cooking, her love of teaching..etc., etc.).
As Julie explains in her memoir, there are some real differences between volumes 1 and 2. Volume one is all about how to create basic (and not-so-basic) French cooking. It is very precise, and particular. These are *not* slapdash "30 minutes or less" recipes. These are methodic, and detailed. There's a reason that "Mastering" is in the title.
They are also classic recipes that, once you master a few, will become your staples.
In fact, the the second reason that I ordered these is because one of my boyfriend's specialties is Julia's chocolate mousse (he made it for me on our second date!), and his family always has the beef bourguignon for their Christmas Eve dinner (he made a vegetarian version just for me!)
The second volume includes a great deal on baking that the first volume doesn't (it's also was compiled after one of the three collaborators on the first volume left - Julia explains all about it in her memoir).
These are NOT cookbooks for the first-time cook. They are for home cooks who want to take the time and effort to replicate true French cooking, or for cookbookphiles who enjoy reading cookbooks. :~) The cookbook collection of someone in either category is not complete without this set. :~)