|By Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle, Simone Beck
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The perfect gift for any follower of Julia Child—and any lover of French food. This boxed set brings together Mastering the Art of French Cooking, first published in 1961, and its sequel, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume Two, published in 1970.
Volume One is the classic cookbook, in its entirety—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 nearly fifty 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. The techniques learned in this beautiful book, with more than one hundred instructive illustrations, can be applied to recipes in all other French cookbooks, making them infinitely usable. In compiling the secrets of famous Cordon Bleu chefs, the authors produced a magnificent volume that continues to have a place of honor in American kitchens.
Volume Two is the sequel to the great cooking classic—with 257 additional recipes.
Following the publication of the celebrated Volume One, Julia Child and Simone Beck continued to search out and sample new recipes among the classic dishes and regional specialties of France—cooking, conferring, tasting, revising, perfecting. Out of their discoveries they made, for Volume Two, a brilliant selection of precisely those recipes that not only add to the repertory but, above all, bring the reader to a new level of mastery of the art of French cooking.
Each of these recipes is worked out step-by-step, with the clarity and precision that are the essence of the first volume. Five times as many drawings as in Volume One make the clear instructions even more so.
Perhaps the most remarkable achievement of this volume is that it will make Americans actually more expert than their French contemporaries in two supreme areas of cookery: baking and charcuterie. In France one can turn to the local bakery for fresh and expertly baked bread, or to neighborhood charcuterie for pâtés and terrines and sausages. Here, most of us have no choice but to create them for ourselves.
- Amazon Sales Rank: #297 in Books
- Published on: 2009-12-01
- Released on: 2009-12-01
- Format: Box set
- Original language: English
- Number of items: 2
- Dimensions: 3.62" h x 7.40" w x 10.58" l, 6.43 pounds
- Binding: Hardcover
About the Author
Julia Child was born in Pasadena, California. She graduated from Smith College and worked for the OSS during World War II in Ceylon and China, where she met Paul Child. After they were married they lived in Paris, where Ms. Child studied at the Cordon Bleu and taught cooking with Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle, with whom she wrote the first volume of Mastering the Art of French Cooking (1961).
In 1963 Boston’s WGBH launched The French Chef television series, which made Julia Child a national celebrity, earning her the Peabody Award in 1965 and an Emmy in 1966. Her subsequent public television shows—Julia Child & Company (1978), Julia Child & More Company (1980), Cooking with Master Chefs (1993), In Julia’s Kitchen with Master Chefs (1995), Baking with Julia (1996), and her one-on-one collaboration with Jacques Pépin, Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home (1999)—were all accompanied by books of the same names. The Way to Cook, her magnum opus, was published in 1989, and in 2000 she gave us Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom, a distillation of her years of cooking experience. Her memoir, My Life in France, was published posthumously in 2006. She died in 2004.
THE French cookbook, after all these years
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. 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.
Few books have had such a profound influence in their field
There are very few books that have had such a profound effect on their field. This book set is transformative - you will never view cooking food the same way again. I grew up watching Julia Child on my local PBS affiliate with no idea that she was anything other than a local cooking talent with a strange affect. After college, I found a copy of volume one in a used book store and can hear her voice in every recipe, stage of directions, and sage advice.
After many years, my family loves her beef stew - a regular dinner in our home. I despised French Onion soup growing up, but after following her directions it is my favorite.
One criticism of this book is the production. After many years of publishing technology improvements, the lack of photos to explain some butchery techniques makes this set a bit dated if you expect visual guides to some steps. Be patient, re-read, and have confidence. These are spectacular dishes made with simple techniques that even someone who grew up on canned soup and boxed dinners figured out.
If I was trapped on a remote island with only one cooking instructional resource, then this would be my choice. Everything else is a far distant second place.
To me this book is irreplaceable, so I'm ordering a new one.
With the help of this book, I taught myself to cook using the basic French cooking instructions in the book. Thirty some years later, after two-year's work/study in a small (then non-accredited) cooking school, I still refer to it. I refer to it for many reasons, least of which is to jog my memory. My ancient copy (circa 1960?) is coming apart at the binding, so I need to replace it. This book is inspiration!