Straight from the Kitchen of Julia Child, here is a game plan for giving a perfect dinner party—in fact, six perfect little dinner parties
Whether it's a full-dress party or an old-fashioned chicken dinner, now anyone can entertain without tears or tension.
The six superb menus in this book:
Dinner for the Boss (featuring a standing rib roast and ending with bourbon-soaked chocolate truffles)
Country Dinner (Mediterranean hors d'oeuvres, leek and rabbit pie, and ice cream-filled meringues)
Butterflied Pork for a Party (preceded by celery root remoulade and finishing with a gateau Mont-Saint-Michel)
Rack of Lamb for a Very Special Occasion (with artichoke scoops garnished with shellfish, and fresh strawberries and hazelnut cornucopias for a sweet ending)
Summer Dinner (individual chicken liver aspics, poached salmon steaks, and a savarin au rhum)
Old-Fashioned Chicken Dinner (with a chocolate bombe for dessert)
Each dinner is imaginative, often playful, and beautifully orchestrated. You'll learn everything you need to know about ingredients, cooking techniques, planning ahead, and improvising leftovers so that each menu becomes a lesson in the art of preparing a small, elegant dinner that anyone can be proud of.
With 119 full-color photographs
This book and its companion—Julia's Menus for Special Occasions feature the finest recipes from Julia Child & Company and Julia Child & More Company
Before celebrity chefs like Emeril and Nigella came onto the culinary scene, Julia Child was teaching America how to flambé. When her groundbreaking television program, The French Chef, came into our kitchens, thousands of viewers tuned in to watch Julia flip crepes, blanch beans, and sear steaks, and to hear her signature sign-off: "Bon appétit!"
If leeks, shallots, and sea salt are available at your local supermarket, you probably have Julia Child to thank for it. At a time when many home cooks had nothing more ambitious in their repertoires than Jell-O salad, Child revolutionized the American kitchen, demonstrating that with good ingredients and a few French techniques, even the novice chef could turn out bistro-worthy dinners of boeuf bourguignon and tarte Tatin.
Child's interest in teaching techniques, rather than simply listing fancy recipes, was evident from her first cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, which took years of collaboration (with Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle) and experimentation to write. Craig Claiborne, reviewing the book for The New York Times in 1961, wrote: "Probably the most comprehensive, laudable, and monumental work on [French cuisine] was published this week, and it will probably remain the definitive work for nonprofessionals." He was right -- it's been a top seller ever since.
To promote the book, the Cordon Bleutrained Child made an appearance on WGBH in Boston. Not content merely to talk about cooking, she brought along eggs, a hot plate, and a whisk, and demonstrated the proper way to make an omelette. The station producers recognized a potential star, and Child's first television show, The French Chef, was born. Soon thousands of viewers were tuning in to watch Julia flip crepes, blanch beans, and sear steaks. Each show ended with her signature sign-off: "Bon appétit!"
Since then, Child has hosted hundreds of television episodes, and her cookbooks have continued to be both inspiring and practical. Volume two of Mastering the Art of French Cooking was followed by titles like The Way to Cook, Cooking with Master Chefs and Julia's Kitchen Wisdom. Child also co-founded the American Institute of Wine and Food, an educational organization devoted to gastronomy. Many top-flight professional and celebrity chefs -- including Alice Waters, Emeril Lagasse, and Thomas Keller -- have cited Julia Child as an inspiration. "My own copy of volume one [of French Cooking] is so worn that the duct tape holding it together looks natural," chef Jasper White once noted.
Still, Child remains best known for bringing good food into the home, where she championed "food as an art form, as a delightful part of civilized life." And though she's expanded her range to include American, Mediterranean, and Asian cuisines, she hasn't been influenced by fad diets or fat phobias. She still cooks with butter and cream. As she told Nightline, "Small helpings, no seconds, a little bit of everything, no snacking and have a good time. I think if you follow that, you're going to be healthy, wealthy and wise."
Good To Know
During World War II, Julia McWilliams served in the Office of Strategic Services -- the forerunner of the CIA -- in Ceylon and China, where she met Paul Child. After the war, the two married and moved to Paris, where Julia Child fell in love with French food. Years later, she could still recount her first meal in Paris, which included oysters, scallops in cream sauce, and duck.
After Child moved from her Cambridge, Massachusetts, house to a retirement community in California, she donated her famous kitchen -- where three of her television series were taped -- to the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.
12 or more ears fresh corn (to make about 3 cups or L cream-style grated corn)
2 to 3 Tb grated onion
1 tsp salt
4 to 5 Tb fresh minced parsley
2/3 cup (1 dL) lightly pressed down crumbs from crustless nonsweet white bread
2/3 cup (1 dL) lightly pressed down grated cheese (such as a mixture of Swiss and/or Cheddar or mozzarella)
2/3 cup (1 dL) heavy cream
6 drops hot pepper sauce (or 1/8 tsp Cayenne pepper)
8 to 10 grinds fresh pepper
A corn scraper or grater; a straight-sided 8-cup (2-L) baking dish, such as a charlotte mold 5 to 6 inches (13 to 15 cm) deep, and a larger baking dish in which to set it.
Scrape or grate the corn and turn into a measure to be sure you have about 3 cups or liter. Beat the eggs in a mixing bowl to blend; then add all the rest of the ingredients listed, including the corn.
Recipe may be completed even a day in advance to this point; cover and refrigerate.
Preheat over to 350F/180C. About 2 hours before serving, butter the 8-cup (2-L) baking dish and line bottom with a round of buttered wax paper. Stir up the corn mixture to blend thoroughly and pour into the dish. Set corn dish in larger dish and pour boiling water around to come two-thirds up the sides of the corn-filled dish. Bake in lower middle level of oven for half an hour, then turn thermostat down to 325F/170C. Baking time is around 1 to 1 hours, and water surrounding timbale should almost but never quite bubble; too high heat can make a custard (which this is) grainy. Timbale isdone when it has risen almost to fill the mold, the top has cracked open, and a skewer plunged down through the center comes out clean. Let rest 10 minutes or more in turned-off oven, door ajar, before unmolding.
May be baked an hour or so before serving; the timbale will sink down as it cools, but who would ever know how high it might have been, once it is unmolded?
Note: Any timbale leftovers can be sliced and eaten cold, or easily turned into a hot soup. Also, as ears vary so in yield, you may have extra pulp and milk on hand. If so, try corn chowder, or make skillet corn dowdy, corn flan, or corn crêpes. Or have corn fritters for breakfast; or combine the pulp with other crunch bits of vegetables, in puffy eggs fu yung.