- Hardcover: 684 pages
- Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf; 1st edition (October 16, 1961)
- Language: English, French
- ASIN: B001KK2NDQ
- Package Dimensions: 10.1 x 7.4 x 1.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 3.2 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 1,897 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #180,402 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Mastering the Art of French Cooking Hardcover – October 16, 1961
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Julia Childs' first cookbook and The Classic French cookbook, this is the first edition of this 1961 classic.
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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. The Reine de Saba cake (chocolate almond, under-baked in the center and with a ganache glaze) is equally elegant and again, serves a number of people when sliced and plated elegantly.
This book has the only French Onion Soup recipe I really like. A lot of work (you have to peel and slice a hellacious pile of onions, oh the tears) and when I had this book the first time, there were NO food processors. Even so, with the food processor, it takes a lot of time to cook down and brown those onions and you need REALLY good broth but the result is by far the best onion soup there is. Just writing about it makes me want to go slice onions this very minute.
I can't imagine being without these books, and the packaging is nice, as the originals were two different sized volumes and sit kind of funny on the shelf.
I suppose I should mention that even if you aren't going to make most of these dishes (who can find veal these days?) the book is excellent reading on culinary arts.
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.