Julia's Kitchen Wisdom: Essential Techniques and Recipes from a Lifetime in Cooking

Overview

Julia Child has given us answers to these and other questions in the ten masterful volumes she has published over the past 40 years. But which book do you go to for which solution? Now, in this little volume, you can find the answers immediately.

Information is arranged according to subject matter, with ample cross-referencing. How are you going to cook that small rib steak you brought home? You'll be guided to the quick saute as the best and ...
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Julia's Kitchen Wisdom: Essential Techniques and Recipes from a Lifetime in Cooking

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Overview

Julia Child has given us answers to these and other questions in the ten masterful volumes she has published over the past 40 years. But which book do you go to for which solution? Now, in this little volume, you can find the answers immediately.

Information is arranged according to subject matter, with ample cross-referencing. How are you going to cook that small rib steak you brought home? You'll be guided to the quick saute as the best and fstest way. And once you've masteree this recipe, you can apply the technique to chop, chicken, or fish, following Julia's careful guidelines.

And here is equally essential information about soups, vegetables, and eggs, and for baking breads and tarts. It's all waiting for you in this delicious, priceless, comforting compendium of Julia's kitchen wisdom.

About The Author
Julia Child was born in Pasadena, California, and graduated from Smith College in 1934. During World War II, she served with the Office of Strategic Services in Washington, D.C., Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), and China. After the war, her husband, Paul Child, was assigned to the U.S. Information Service at the American Embassy in Paris. It was there, in cuisine-particular France, that Julia started her culinary career, at the Cordon Bleu.

In collaboration with her two French colleagues, Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle, she wrote Mastering the Art of French Cooking, which appeared in 1961. The book gave birth to the PBS television series The French Chef and was followed by several other series, including her Master Chef programs, in which she hosted 26 of America's well-known chefs. In her 39-part series, Baking at Julia's, which aired in 1996, she hosted 26 of the country's finest bakers.

Other books by Julia Child include From Julia Child's Kitchen and Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home. Ms. Child is an active member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals, and a cofounder of The American Institute of Wine and Food.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
It would be hard to argue that anyone knows more about cooking than Julia Child. For a lifetime, she's taught generations how to whip a soufflé, compose a crepe, poach a fish, and roast a chicken. Through these years, Child has been compiling a collection of techniques, remedies, and tips in a loose-leaf binder for her own personal reference. Now all cooks can benefit from her wisdom in this must-have book.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This slender book from the doyenne of gourmet cooking is a boon for those who need a refresher course in, or a handy source for, basics. These notes come from Child's own kitchen notebook, years in the making. Generally, each recipe is included in "master" form with numerous variations; for example, a section on potatoes explains the ins and outs of Mashed Potatoes, as well as provides a recipe for Garlic Mashed Potatoes. Child's voice is always welcome, and never more so than when she is providing no-muss-no-fuss advice like this. A quick section on dried beans covers soaking as well as cooking in a pressure cooker or Crock-Pot, and some more esoteric treats, such as homemade bread and souffl s, have their place here. Helpful tips proliferate throughout: Sea Scallops Saut ed with Garlic and Herbs are followed by a paragraph on scallops that exude too much juice, and a section on tarts explains how to prebake a shell. Even Hamburgers (plain and flavored) are covered here. (Nov. 19) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Appearances can indeed be deceiving. Of course, this comes from the inestimable Child, but it is a short, small-format book, packaged as the companion volume to a two-hour PSB special that will air in December. In fact, it is packed with more information than many cookbooks three times its size contain. Julia refers to it as a "mini aide-m moire" for home cooks, a book that grew out of her own loose-leaf kitchen notebook, revised and rethought over the years. The focus is on technique, but there are dozens of recipes as well, both "master recipes" and their spin-offs, and others that stand alone--an amazing variety, in fact. This would be the one cookbook to take to a summer vacation house, for example, but any home cook will find it a useful reference time and time again. An essential purchase, obviously; most libraries will want multiple copies. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780375411519
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 11/14/2000
  • Edition description: 1ST
  • Pages: 144
  • Sales rank: 366,847
  • Product dimensions: 7.10 (w) x 8.67 (h) x 0.66 (d)

Meet the Author

Julia Child
Julia Child was born in Pasadena, California. She was graduated from Smith College and worked for the OSS during World War II in Ceylon and China, where she met Paul Child. After they married they lived in Paris, where she 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 her a national celebrity, earning her the Peabody Award in 1965 and an Emmy in 1966. Several public television shows and numerous cookbooks followed. She died in 2004.

Biography

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 Bleu–trained 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.

Child stands tall at a statuesque 6' 2".

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    1. Also Known As:
      Julia McWilliams (maiden name)
    1. Date of Birth:
      August 5, 1912
    2. Place of Birth:
      Pasadena, California
    1. Date of Death:
      August 12, 2004
    2. Place of Death:
      Santa Barbara, California

Read an Excerpt

from the chapter Soups and Two Mother Sauces

"Once you have mastered a technique, you hardly need look at a recipe again."

Homemade soups fill the kitchen with a welcome air, and can be so full and natural and fresh that they solve that always nagging question of
"what to serve as a first course."

***

CHOWDERS

Traditional chowders all start off with a hearty soup base of onions and
potatoes, and that makes a good soup just by itself. To this fragrant base you then add chunks of fish, or clams, or corn, or whatever else seems appropriate. (Note: You may leave out the pork and substitute another tablespoon of butter for sautéing the onions.)

The Chowder Soup Base

For about 2 quarts, to make a 2½-quart chowder serving 6 to 8
4 ounces (23 cup) diced blanched salt pork or bacon (see box, page 60)
1 Tbs butter
3 cups (1 pound) sliced onions
1 imported bay leaf
¾ cup crumbled "common" or pilot crackers, or 1 pressed-down cup fresh white bread crumbs (see box, page 46)
6 cups liquid (milk, chicken stock [page 4], fish stock [page 5], clam juices, or
a combination)
3½ cups (1 pound) peeled and sliced or diced boiling potatoes
Salt and freshly ground white pepper

Sauté the pork or bacon bits slowly with the butter in a large saucepan for 5 minutes, or until pieces begin to brown. Stir in the onions and bay leaf; cover, and cook slowly 8 to 10 minutes, until the onions are tender. Drain off fat and blend crackers or bread crumbs into onions. Pour in the liquid; add the potatoes and simmer, loosely covered, for
20 minutes or so, until the potatoes aretender. Season to taste with salt and white pepper, and the soup base is ready.

chowder suggestions

new england clam chowder.--For about 2½ quarts, serving 6 to 8. Scrub and soak 24 medium-size hard-shell clams (see box). Steam them for 3 to 4 minutes in a large tightly covered saucepan with 1 cup water, until most have opened. Remove the opened clams; cover, and steam the rest another minute or so. Discard any unopened clams. Pluck meat from the shells, then decant steaming-liquid very carefully, so all sand remains in the saucepan; include the clam-steaming liquid as part of the chowder base. Meanwhile, mince the clam meats in a food processor or chop by hand. Fold them into the finished chowder base. Just before serving, heat to below the simmer--so the clams won't overcook and toughen. Fold in a little heavy cream or sour cream if you wish; thin with milk if necessary, correct seasoning, and serve.

to prepare clams. Scrub one at a time under running water, discarding any that are cracked, damaged, or not tightly closed. Soak 30 minutes in a basin of salted water (13 cup salt per 4 quarts water). Lift out, and if more than a few grains of sand remain in the basin, repeat. Refrigerate, covered by a damp towel. It's wise to use them within a day or two.

fish chowder. Prepare the chowder base using fish stock (page 5), andor light chicken stock (page 4), and milk. Cut into 2-inch chunks 2 to 2½ pounds of skinless, boneless lean fish, such as cod, haddock, halibut, monkfish, or sea bass, all one kind or a mixture. Add to the finished chowder base and simmer 2 to 3 minutes, just until fish is opaque and springy. Correct seasoning, and top each serving, if you wish, with a spoonful of sour cream.

chicken chowder. Substitute boneless, skinless chicken breasts for fish, and make the chowder base with chicken stock and milk.

corn chowder. Prepare the chowder base using 6 cups of light chicken stock and milk. Stir 3 cups or so of grated fresh corn into the finished base, adding, if you wish, 2 green andor red peppers chopped fine and sautéed briefly in butter. Bring to the simmer for 2 to 3 minutes; correct seasoning, and top each serving, if you wish, with a spoonful of sour cream.

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Interviews & Essays

Exclusive Interview with Julia Child

Subtitled Essential Techniques and Recipes from a Lifetime of Cooking, Julia Child's newest book, Julia's Kitchen Wisdom, is an absolute treasure. Easy to read, direct, and smacking of no-nonsense Julia, it is a book that I will use and recommend often.

In an early morning telephone conversation, I asked Julia to describe the book for me, and she answered, full of her infectious enthusiasm, "It's just a little book filled with quick, snappy answers to everyday cooking questions. It comes straight from my kitchen loose leaf which, over the years, has become my own personal reference guide."

"You don't mean that you still need help in the kitchen?" I asked, incredulously. "But of course," came the eminently recognizable voice over the wires. "Just this summer I was in Maine and found myself having to cook clam chowder for 20 people. How many potatoes? How much cream? I just went to my loose leaf for a little reminder. I'm sure that you do the same thing." I was too embarrassed to admit that I would probably just guess or, if stressed, run to one of her cookbooks for help. (The Way to Cook being one of my favorites.) "My new book, Julia's Kitchen Wisdom, is just a little helping hand for those moments in the kitchen when you've forgotten things."

Knowing and understanding her love of Paris, I asked Julia (and she is, to everyone, just Julia) if she spent much time eating or cooking in France nowadays. "No, unfortunately, I've not been recently but I do expect to make a trip quite soon," she told me. "My next very big project is a book about Paris in the '50s. It will be a memoir filled with marvelous photographs taken by my late husband, Paul, of which there are thousands. He was the best!" "Will it have recipes?" I queried. "None at all," Julia replied. "Just stories and reminiscences of a most memorable period of my life." From a women in her 80s who could very easily rest on her laurels, it was extraordinary to hear her excitement over a project that will probably take a couple of years and much hard work to complete.

I must say that, as I talked with Julia, with her sonically tremulous voice reverberating over the line, it was hard not to be awed. This was a 20th-century icon with whom I was quite informally chatting about the weather and other mundane matters. It was hard not to blubber about what she had meant to me, as a cook. I did tell her that among the now more than a thousand cookbooks that I owned, the only two that stood out on the bookshelves with grimy, greasy covers were Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volumes I and II. In her most direct manner, this most gracious lady (who had probably heard this, at the least, a million times) said quietly, "You are kind to say so."

I told Julia that, as a cooking teacher and writer, I would be recommending Julia's Kitchen Wisdom to both aspiring cooks and seasoned veterans as the perfect helpmate to keep on the shelf and in the kitchen. "Thank you ever so much," she said, and then, with a sign-off that is still ringing in my ears, "It has been lovely chatting with you, my dear." Can't you just hear Julia Child saying this as she lifts a glass of wine in your direction?

--Judith Choate

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Recipe

Recipes from Julia's Kitchen Wisdom

Soups and Two Mother Sauces

"Once you have mastered a technique, you hardly need look at a recipe again."

Homemade soups fill the kitchen with a welcome air, and can be so full and natural and fresh that they solve that always nagging question of "what to serve as a first course."

CHOWDERS

Traditional chowders all start off with a hearty soup base of onions and potatoes, and that makes a good soup just by itself. To this fragrant base you then add chunks of fish, or clams, or corn, or whatever else seems appropriate. (Note: You may leave out the pork and substitute another tablespoon of butter for sautéing the onions.)

The Chowder Soup Base

For about 2 quarts, to make a 2 1/2-quart chowder serving 6 to 8
4 ounces (2/3 cup) diced blanched salt pork or bacon
1 Tbs butter
3 cups (1 pound) sliced onions
1 imported bay leaf
3/4 cup crumbled "common" or pilot crackers, or 1 pressed-down cup fresh white bread crumbs
6 cups liquid (milk, chicken stock, fish stock, clam juices, or a combination)
3 1/2 cups (1 pound) peeled and sliced or diced boiling potatoes
Salt and freshly ground white pepper

Sauté the pork or bacon bits slowly with the butter in a large saucepan for 5 minutes, or until pieces begin to brown. Stir in the onions and bay leaf; cover, and cook slowly 8 to 10 minutes, until the onions are tender. Drain off fat and blend crackers or bread crumbs into onions. Pour in the liquid; add the potatoes and simmer, loosely covered, for 20 minutes or so, until the potatoes are tender. Season to taste with salt and white pepper, and the soup base is ready.

Chowder suggestions

New England clam chowder:
For about 2 1/2 quarts, serving 6 to 8. Scrub and soak 24 medium-size hard-shell clams. Steam them for 3 to 4 minutes in a large tightly covered saucepan with 1 cup water, until most have opened. Remove the opened clams; cover, and steam the rest another minute or so. Discard any unopened clams. Pluck meat from the shells, then decant steaming liquid very carefully, so all sand remains in the saucepan; include the clam-steaming liquid as part of the chowder base. Meanwhile, mince the clam meats in a food processor or chop by hand. Fold them into the finished chowder base. Just before serving, heat to below the simmer -- so the clams won't overcook and toughen. Fold in a little heavy cream or sour cream if you wish; thin with milk if necessary, correct seasoning, and serve.

To prepare clams:
Scrub one at a time under running water, discarding any that are cracked, damaged, or not tightly closed. Soak 30 minutes in a basin of salted water (1/3 cup salt per 4 quarts water). Lift out, and if more than a few grains of sand remain in the basin, repeat. Refrigerate, covered by a damp towel. It's wise to use them within a day or two.

Fish chowder:
Prepare the chowder base using fish stock, and/or light chicken stock, and milk. Cut into 2-inch chunks 2 to 2 1/2 pounds of skinless, boneless lean fish, such as cod, haddock, halibut, monkfish, or sea bass, all one kind or a mixture. Add to the finished chowder base and simmer 2 to 3 minutes, just until fish is opaque and springy. Correct seasoning, and top each serving, if you wish, with a spoonful of sour cream.

Chicken chowder:
Substitute boneless, skinless chicken breasts for fish, and make the chowder base with chicken stock and milk.

Corn chowder:
Prepare the chowder base using 6 cups of light chicken stock and milk. Stir 3 cups or so of grated fresh corn into the finished base, adding, if you wish, 2 green and/or red peppers chopped fine and sautéed briefly in butter. Bring to the simmer for 2 to 3 minutes; correct seasoning, and top each serving, if you wish, with a spoonful of sour cream.

Recipes from Julia's Kitchen Wisdom by Julia Child. Copyright © 2000 by Julia Child.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 82 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 14, 2001

    Lovingly penned recipes, from a lifetime of cooking!

    After 40 years of cooking with fellow chefs and friends, Julia Child has developed a refined method for cooking her master recipes. In this cute little cookbook, she has also included variations to many of the recipes to show us all how creative cooking can be, yet how essential it is to follow the basic cooking truths. Julia was born in Pasadena, California. She then moved to Paris with her husband Paul and studied at the Cordon Bleu. After writing her first cookbook 'Mastering the Art of French Cooking,' in 1961, she appeared on many public television cooking shows. Judith Jones can be credited for discovering Julia Child, she is the best editor Julia Child could have ever found. She is very wise and once wrote me a nice letter to explain why my instructions in my own cookbook were too truncated. She loves the cookbooks she edits to have a personality and an easy flowing writing style. I took her advice very seriously and she has in fact improved my writing by her one small comment. It is with that said, that I can say that her influence on this book has only made Julia's writing even more wonderful. I love the fact that Julia gives her editor so much credit in the Acknowledgments section. Without great editors, most cookbooks would never make it to the publishing stage. David Nussbaum was also very influential in the writing of this particular cookbook as he was with 'Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home.' He helped to gather information needed for this book from Julia's books and shows. He also spent time with Julia in Judith Jones's Vermont kitchen, working out the details of some recipes. The book I am reviewing is only 127 pages, but there is also a 288 page large print edition which I applaud Julia for considering and publishing. In both books, Julia presents soups, sauces, salads, dressings, vegetables, meats, poultry, fish, eggs, breads, crepes, tarts, cakes and cookies. The index is delightfully easy to use and I love the headings, e.g., Almond(s) is in a different color than the list following it. In that way, you can find the basic categories of Apples, Crab, Soup, Cookies, etc. When you read the text in this cookbook, you will almost feel that Julia Child is reading to you. I can hear her voice and that is what makes this book so wonderful. Each chapter begins with a fun note (or what you might call a headnote) from Julia. The first chapter is 'Soups and Two Mother Sauces.' There is a recipe for 'Leek and Potato Soup.' Julia explains the master recipe and then gives variations of 'Onion and Potato Soup,' 'Cream of Leek and Potato,' and 'Watercress Soup.' What you will learn from this book is 'techniques.' This allows you to create your own recipes. In cooking there are certain proven cooking methods and that is what I believe Julia is trying to show you. You learn to make a white sauce and a hollandaise sauce in the first chapter. The style of the master recipes is similar throughout the book. Each one has a nice heading of a different color, ingredients are listed in the order they will be used and the instructions are easy-to-read, yet do not have numbers. The Variations for the recipes are in a paragraph style, but also have nice headings in a different color. Each page has two columns of text. In the second chapter, you will enjoy learning to make a 'Basic Vinaigrette Dressing.' The variations sound just delicious and there is also advice in a small block which explains how to keep your vinaigrette fresh for several days. Throughout the book you will find little blocks of text with a pink background. These must be some of Julia's secrets. This is a book you will want to read and absorb. In the third chapter, Julia has charts for blanching and boiling vegetables. She says: 'When you serve fine, fresh green vegetables, you want them to show off their color.' She gives some sage advice on how to accomplish this. The chapter on 'Meats, Poultry and Fish' is an introduction into sautéing, broilin

    15 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 7, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Just what I needed

    This is just what I needed for quick reference on most topics

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 21, 2010

    Great Resource & Gift

    This book is chock full of information on basic techniques. It is a great bridal shower gift for a young bride with limited cooking skills or an experienced cook looking to expand her horizons. You will refer to this often.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 30, 2010

    Helpful for the serious cook

    Collected here are many, many tips and recipes for the sort of people who make their own meat broths, pastries, and other complex foods. It is more a reference than a cook book, although it contains many recipes.

    One warning: although some of the reviews I have seen call this an introduction, it will not be of much help to those who buy, for example, the introductory Betty Crocker cookbooks that explain such things as how to boil an egg.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 12, 2009

    good rainy day book

    enjoyed for fun

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 2, 2013

    Highly Recommended--you must check it out.

    Have a granddaughter who is going to culinery school and Julia Childs was my favorite cook. I learned alot from her T.V. program long ago.
    I gave my gran-daughter some of my books and decided to get a few new ones of her own. Julia"s Kitchen Wisdom has great idea"s for a new person learning to cook with good idea's. The stock was and is always a first thing to learn. I did it and now her too.
    I give this book a 10 star.

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  • Posted October 1, 2012

    A true piece of wisdom

    I agree with most of what previous reviewers have expressed so I'll keep it short.

    This is, indeed, an extraordinary book. It shows it was written after a lifetime of cooking in the sense that Mrs. Child was evidently aware of the changes in available ingredients, equipment and food trends, and deftly avoided dating herself and concentrated in what was tried and true. This book is probably be as useful 20 years from now as it was when it was first published, about a decade ago.

    I am not sure this book will be helpful for the very new and inexperienced cooks (another reviewer suggested Betty Crocker and I may agree with that). A couple of years finding your way around your kitchen, defining your own personal values and getting acquainted with your equipment and knowing the ingredients you can buy will certainly help appreciate this book better, as it contains the answers to many questions you may have (I personally found the list of tips to brown meat definitely revealing).

    In all, I would say this book is an essential addition to the thoughtful home cook's personal library and will surely pass the test of time with honors.

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  • Posted July 25, 2011

    love this book

    such a good book and movie

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 11, 2011

    I love this book!

    Whether you are just learning or an experience cook, this book is a wonderful reference. Great basic recipes with variations.

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  • Posted April 24, 2010

    A Little Boring.

    My wife is a cook (chef) and she found the book boring. It is in her cookbook collection, and will probably stay there. There is nothing like her original book for a read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 30, 2010

    After the movie

    Saw the movie, thought this the perfect gift for daughter-in-law Julie.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted August 25, 2009

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    Posted March 10, 2010

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    Posted December 8, 2009

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    Posted October 4, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 17, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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