Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume 1

( 220 )

Overview

“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 forty 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. This ...
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Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume 1

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Overview

“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 forty 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. This beautiful book, with more than one hundred instructive illustrations, is revolutionary in its approach because:

• It leads the cook infallibly from the buying and handling of raw ingredients, through each essential step of a recipe, to the final creation of a delicate
confection.
• It breaks down the classic cuisine into a logical sequence of themes and variations rather than presenting an endless and diffuse catalogue of recipes; the focus is on key recipes that form the backbone of French cookery and lend themselves to an infinite number of elaborations—bound to increase anyone’s culinary repertoire.
• It adapts classical techniques, wherever possible, to modern American conveniences.
• It shows Americans how to buy products, from any supermarket in the U.S.A., that reproduce the exact taste and texture of the French ingredients: equivalent meat cuts, for example; the right beans for a cassoulet; the appropriate fish and shellfish for a bouillabaisse.
• It offers suggestions for just the right accompaniment to each dish, including proper wines.

Since there hasnever been a book as instructive and as workable as Mastering the Art of French Cooking, the techniques learned here can be applied to recipes in all other French cookbooks, making them infinitely more usable. In compiling the secrets of famous cordons bleus, the authors have produced a magnificent volume that is sure to find the place of honor in every kitchen in America.
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The book that started it all. When Mastering the Art of French Cooking, the product of nearly a decade of work, was first released in 1961, it started a revolution.

No single cookbook has influenced more chefs or inspired more home cooks to try something ambitious, authentic, and refined on their own. It changed the face of food writing as well, with its precisely detailed instructions and ingredient lists. As Paula Wolfert is quoted as saying in Noël Riley Fitch's biography of Julia Child, "Just as it's been said that all Russian literature has been taken from Gogol's overcoat, so all American food writing has been derived from Julia's apron." A tattered copy of the first edition can be found in just about every baby boomer's kitchen.

From the Publisher
"Has it really been 40 years since Julia Child rescued Americans from dreary casseroles? This reissue, clad in a handsome red jacket, is what a cookbook should be: packed with sumptuous recipes, detailed instructions, and precise line drawings. Some of the instructions look daunting, but as Child herself says in the introduction, 'If you can read, you can cook.'"
- Entertainment Weekly
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780375413407
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 10/28/2001
  • Edition number: 40
  • Pages: 684
  • Sales rank: 34,630
  • Product dimensions: 7.50 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 1.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Julia Child
Julia Child, a native of California and a Smith College graduate; Simone Beck, French-born and -educated; and Louisette Bertholle, half French and half American, educated in both countries, represented an even blending of the two backgrounds and were singularly equipped to write about French cooking for Americans. Mrs. Child studied at Paris’s famous Cordon Bleu, and all three authors worked under various distinguished French chefs. In 1951 they started their own cooking school in Paris, L’Ecole des Trois Gourmandes, at the same time that this book was taking shape. After that, Madame Beck published two cookbooks, Simca’s Cuisine in 1972 and New Menus from Simca’s Cuisine in 1979, and she continued to teach cooking in France. Madame Bertholle also had several cookery books published. Shortly after the appearance of Mastering the Art of French Cooking in 1961, Julia Child began appearing in the public television series The French Chef, which aired for many years all over the United States, and in 1978 the program Julia Child & Company was launched, followed the next year by Julia Child & More Company. In 1968 recipes from her early programs, many of which were drawn from this book, were published in The French Chef Cookbook.

In 1975 From Julia Child’s Kitchen was published, followed in 1978 and 1979 by Julia Child & Company and Julia Child & More Company, based on those programs. Also based on television series were the two books—Cooking with Master Chefs and In Julia’s Kitchen with Master Chefs—she wrote in the mid-1990s, as well as Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home, with Jacques Pépin, in 1999. 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.

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

Clafouti
(Cherry Flan)
For 6 to 8 people

The clafouti (also spelled with a final "s" in both singular and plural) which is traditional in the Limousin during the cherry season is peasant cooking for family meals, and about as simple a dessert to make as you can imagine: a pancake batter poured over fruit in a fireproof dish, then baked in the oven. It looks like a tart, and is usually eaten warm.

(If you have no electric blender, work the eggs into the flour with a wooden spoon, gradually beat in the liquids, then strain the batter through a fine sieve.)

3 cups pitted black cherries
1 1/4 cups milk
2/3 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup flour
Powdered sugar in a shaker

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Use fresh, black, sweet cherries in season. Otherwise use drained, canned, pitted Bing cherries, or frozen sweet cherries, thawed and drained.

Place the milk, 1/3 cup sugar, eggs, vanilla extract, salt, and flour in your blender jar in the order in which they are listed. Cover and blend at top speed for 1 minute.

Pour a 1/4-inch layer of batter in a 7- to 8-cup buttered, fireproof baking dish or pyrex pie plate about 1 1/2 inches deep. Set over moderate heat for a minute or two until a film of batter has set in the bottom of the dish. Remove from the heat. Spread the cherries over the batter and sprinkle on the remaining 1/3 cup of sugar. Pour on the rest of the batter and smooth the surface with the back of a spoon.

Place in middle position of preheated oven and bake for about an hour. The clafouti is done when it has puffed and browned, and a needle or knife plunged into its center comes out clean. Sprinkle top of clafouti with powdered sugar just before bringing it to the table. (The clafouti need not be served hot, but should still be warm. It will sink down slightly as it cools.)

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 220 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(92)

4 Star

(56)

3 Star

(37)

2 Star

(18)

1 Star

(17)

Your Rating:

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 220 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 13, 2006

    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 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.

    25 out of 26 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 20, 2003

    A Timeless Classic for all Ages

    Even after forty years since the release of the first Mastering, this book continues to teach, to show, to amaze, and to amuse. At 16 years old, I can say that even if Julia is much much older than I am, her impeccably witty charm and down-to-earth personality inspires me to cook a la francaise. From her excellent stocks to her luxurious Filet de Boeuf Prince Albert, every recipe gives you the know-how needed to transform a gamut of ingredients into a satisfying three-star meal. With her culinary advice, an ordinary home-cooked dish will turn a supper into a dinner party. Without a doubt, this book will continue to make chefs out of amateur cooks.

    9 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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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 November 13, 2009

    Julie and Julia

    I have never bought a Julia Childs cookbook before because I felt her techniques were way over my head. While on vacation with my girlfriends we went to see Julie and Julia and decided to buy the book and cook the Beef Burgundy from the film. Not only was the recipe easy to follow with great advice on the ingredients but it tasted phenomenal. Can't wait to make it again and try something else from the book. By the way the editors have updated the entire book for new innovations (like the electric mixer etc) and lower fat foods, that were not available when the book was first written so this is not just a reprint of the original first volume. The movie was great too!

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 11, 2009

    "Self taught" gourmet cook for over 40 years

    I am replacing my original from 1971. It may seem "complicated" at first because Julia offers such in depth instructions, but it is an invaluable tool for any cook. I have been tryng to perfect the perfect soft cooked egg for several months. I referenced many books in my over 150 cookbook library and had no success. I actually bought a Cuisnart egg cooker and the I deceided to check JULIA. Ah yes, I should have looked there first. With no effort I produced the perfect egg and returned the Cuisinart. Don't be daunted by the length of her instructions, the chicken with or without morels is the perfect sauteed chicken. My egg was absolute perfection. Take your time... read, absorb and enjoy. It is worth the time and effort.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 11, 2011

    Not for phone NOOK

    Pages are cut off and unreadable. Format is scrambled so the sidebars don't reference the text.
    Do NOT buy this if you're going to use it on a smartphone.

    3 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 16, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Julia is Terrific

    Julia Child's cook book Mastering the Art of French Cooking is totally user friendly. She explains everything in an easy to understand everyday speech manner that makes it simple to follow and obtain wonderful results for each recipe. Julia accomplish exactly what she set out to do to make elegant, deliscious gourmet French cooking available to the average American housewife! I tried the Boeuf Bourgignon recipe my first try was a deliscious success. I recommend Julia's cookbook as an excellent course to having good cooking in your home. Her humor makes it a delight to cook.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 20, 2010

    This is the Classic Julia

    I am a good cook - not a great one and I usually like pictures of the finished recipe, but this is a different sort of cookbook. Read it like a novel first, because Julia teaches then gives examples. I think I will be a better cook because of this book.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 13, 2009

    The Book That Started Everything

    I think people may not appreciate how revolutionary this book was. It made French cuisine available to Americans in their homes. There just wasn't a book on French cuisine in English prior to this one. I'm from a generation that can remember just how bad American food could be in the fifties and sixties. The food revolution began with this book. A classic. Everyone should own a copy (at least of volume one) THANK YOU JULIA, SIMCA AND LOUISETTE!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 7, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A Classic, and a must for any chef!

    Julia Child was one of the first big tv chefs in the U.S. back in the 60s and 70s, and her book is still as useful as the day it was first printed. Sure its not all that exotic anymore to say that you want to make a crepe or a souffle, but it is still invaluable to have a good solid recipe handy for both of these, and that is exactly what this book provides, good, solid recipes from the repetoirs of traditional French chefs, that are easy to use and delicious to boot! A must! Bon appetite!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 24, 2012

    Horrible Formatting

    The recipes and advice are wonderful. The formatting is dreadful. Go buy the hardback. I truly regret that I didn't.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 1, 2012

    Charts

    If you click on 'text' on bottom of page, then click to turn 'ON' publishers defaults, the charts will appear properly.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 16, 2010

    What a fantastic book for the French Cooking enthusiast!

    I have to state that I am prejudice in my review of this book after seeing the movie "Julie and Julia". I have followed some of Julia Childs recipes and cooking shows over the years but never really had a strong interest in pursuing French cooking until after seeing this movie. The history of Julia's life was very poignant and one that I did not realize, especially the depth of her sadness that she could was not able to have children. This book was actually purchased for my daughter who shared the movie with me and now wants the book to try her own hand at some of Julia's recipes. The book itself has been regarded as a masterpiece by many professional chefs so it is hard to say much more except that it stresses technique, good ingredients and stresses the need to have FUN! If there is any downside it would be that I wish there were more illustrations.
    I highly recommend this book for anyone wishing to try French cooking and it is an especially elegant gift.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 6, 2010

    As delicious to read as it is to make one of the recipes...

    I bought this book because of the movie Julie and Julia. It exceeds my expectations.

    The recipes are easy to follow, delicious... and lovely to look at. The book itself is interesting, inspiring and fun to read. Again, exceeded my expectations.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 20, 2010

    A Classic

    i had this book in the 70's and I just bought it again. The recipes are timeless and delicious. The recipes do require prep time and planning but worth the time and effort

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2010

    Julia teaches cooking well

    I find the book very educational. I believe that Julia Child was and still is through her books a very good teacher. There are some recipes that you build by doing previous recipes so you really have to read your recipes before starting, but without doing this she would not have gotten near as much information in the book.
    There are detailed instructions for every step with drawings if needed. This is definitely a keeper in my kitchen. I will refer to it often. I may even need to buy the second volume soon.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 12, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Super

    At one time in my life I've been a Chemist and a Food Technologist. My father was a baker and owned his own business. Very early on I had a love of cooking.

    Julia Child's book is fantastic not only for it's in depth coverage of French cooking but the techniques/information covered is applicable to other styles of cooking. In other words, if you understand the things she covers for french cooking, it's applicable to Italian, American, Asian, etc.

    Going further the receipes are great and are presented in such a way and with detailed information, to make your efforts in applying what you read successful. Many cook books fail on this point.

    I highly recommend this book to both the beginner chef and veteran gourmet chef.

    I will now buy vol. II.

    I almost forgot - very important, the book is fun.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 5, 2009

    Must Have Classic

    Mastering the Art of French Cooking is a classic that belongs on the shelf of any self respecting chef. What I love most about this cookbook is how it takes some of the "scariest" dishes and breaks them down into skills that even the lowliest cook can master. You are sure to be happy with this purchase!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 17, 2011

    If I had to keep only one cookbook, this would be it.

    What can I say. It's Julia, at her best.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 17, 2010

    A pleasure to own

    This book makes an otherwise complicated pursuit suprisingly simple.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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