Customer Reviews for

Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume 1

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

25 out of 26 people found this review helpful.

Simply Amazing

The title says it all. This is not simply a set of recipes, but a well-organized compendium of French cooking knowledge. I have cooked many things, but have never created something as delicious tasting as my first attempt from Mastering the Art of French Cook...
The title says it all. This is not simply a set of recipes, but a well-organized compendium of French cooking knowledge. I have cooked many things, but have never created something as delicious tasting as my first attempt from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, the pork chops with mustard, cream and tomato sauce, and scalloped potatoes with meat stock and cheese. Julia guided my through the process carefully. She also provides information for finding quality ingredients, using the proper cooking instruments and technique, choosing complimenting wines, etc. I like the hierarchal organization of the recipes. Usually she begins a subsection with a master recipe, such as casserole-sautéed pork chops, and then follows with many variations on the master recipe, for example the one I mentioned. At any rate, great food is one of the things I truely enjoy in life and I appreciate this book for its help.

posted by Anonymous on February 13, 2006

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Most Helpful Critical Review

8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

Great to have a searchable digital edition, but one fatal flaw

I love having a digital edition of one of my favorite cookbooks. You can search, which is fantastic. And there are great hyperlinks... so for example, if you are making a bavarian cream, you can click on "beat until stiff peaks are formed" and it will take you to Juli...
I love having a digital edition of one of my favorite cookbooks. You can search, which is fantastic. And there are great hyperlinks... so for example, if you are making a bavarian cream, you can click on "beat until stiff peaks are formed" and it will take you to Julia's explanation of how to beat egg whites. But then there is no easy way to get back to your original recipe. AH! The search function is the only thing that keeps this from being unusable. And it's not ideal. This must be fixed in the next edition!

Also, all of the illustrations found in the physical version of the book remain intact!

posted by karlamei on October 7, 2011

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  • Posted October 7, 2011

    Great to have a searchable digital edition, but one fatal flaw

    I love having a digital edition of one of my favorite cookbooks. You can search, which is fantastic. And there are great hyperlinks... so for example, if you are making a bavarian cream, you can click on "beat until stiff peaks are formed" and it will take you to Julia's explanation of how to beat egg whites. But then there is no easy way to get back to your original recipe. AH! The search function is the only thing that keeps this from being unusable. And it's not ideal. This must be fixed in the next edition!

    Also, all of the illustrations found in the physical version of the book remain intact!

    8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 10, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A Classic, Mastering the Art of French Cooking is an amazing book, and a valuable addition to any well "stocked" kitchen.

    Like many others, I picked up this book as a result of having read Julie and Julia. I was intrigued, to say the least, by the life of Julia Child, and needed to explore her great accomplishment. The opportunity for food adventure sang its siren song.
    I have prepared over fifty recipes in the past few months. All have tasted very good. The simple dishes, such as Buttered Peas and her directions for Saute'ed Mushrooms, are quite clear and easy to follow. There are several dishes, such as her Apple Tart, which are good recipes, which I will adjust to suit my tastes when I make them in the future. This is not a critique, as taste is very subjective, and I, for example, don't care for extremely sweet desserts.
    The chapter on Sauces is heavenly, giving excellent instructions that make preparing tricky egg and butter based sauces almost foolproof.
    The more involved recipes - yes, including her Boeuf Bourguignon - can be a bit vague. In that recipe, it's not clear ahead of time that you will be picking all of the sliced carrots and onions out of the cooked meat and bacon. I will be using a mesh bag next time! And just dredge your beef in some flour before you brown it, or add the flour to the cooked beef in the casserole, and let it brown a bit, before you put it into the oven. That step of taking the pan in and out of the oven every four minutes, to brown the flour and seal the meat, wastes a lot of energy, increases the possibility of burning yourself, and did not result in a rich, spoon coating sauce. I had to add some cooked flour to the sauce at the end, to change it from being rather watery.
    There is also quite a bit of jumping around between pages. The Boeuf Bourgignon recipe itself, for example, involves the recipe for Basic Stock, Brown Stock, Saute'ed Mushrooms, Brown-braised Onions, and the information page on preparing onions, (as the recipe just says "peel", and usually that involves a quick dip into boiling water, but, without specifics, I was concerned as to any effect on cooking time).
    The depth of flavor makes this dish a delight, but I have made copious notes in my copy of changes that will save time without changing the end result.
    This is a book that I would heartily recommend to anyone, with the caution that someone with no experience in the kitchen may become somewhat frustrated with the complicated directions. Because Mastering the Art of French Cooking is intended to teach skills, those who look to this as training, and follow the recipes as learning experiences, will gain a great foundation in the culinary arts. People who have spent a lot of time in their kitchens, whipping up dishes since they could reach a pot on the stove, may do best to read through a recipe, and then prepare the dish as they feel is practical.
    And I must say to Julie Powell, "Great Job! I don't know that I could accomplish what you did, even in two years."

    Since these didn't come up in the search, I also recommend: Classic Dishes Made Easy, Piepenbrock/Fischer; The Classic Italian Cookbook, Marcella Hazen; and The Essential Dessert Cookbook, Bay Books

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 11, 2013

    Reference book

    I bought this book out of curiosity because I love the movie Julie & Julia. When I polled my French foodie friends for a French cookbook "Mastering..." was the cookbook...I'm not sure if out of respect or because it is THE book on French cooking. I am not an expert so my review is limited to my own experiences and tastes.

    Many of the recipes seem dated and unusable but even reading was interesting from a historical reference if anything.

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  • Posted February 7, 2010

    good for starters, but not interesting for library

    The person I gave it to was very interested in french cooking. She was just an ordinary, everyday housewife. She turned the book in because it had no illustrations and the ingredients were hard to understand. They were items not normally carried in the pantry, more than she cared to have.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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