Television cooking shows are occasionally moderately entertaining to watch, but as sources for usable recipes and good cooking ideas, they are hit or miss at best. Cookbooks based on cooking shows are even less likely to be useful in the kitchen. One shining exception is Julia Child's "Master Chef" series. One of the best cooking shows ever produced, it also yielded some wonderful cookbooks, including Cooking With Master Chefs
. The latest is Baking With Julia
, which features the creations of 26 top bakers. All are artists with flour, eggs, butter, and the other ingredients of their craft. Writer Dorie Greenspan is a master at her craft as well. The paste for eclairs, she writes, is transformed from "ordinary-looking batter" into "a puffed pastry that appears to be threatening flight." It's all definitely good enough to eat.
From Publishers Weekly
Julia Child's newest TV series is a 39-part "full course in the art of baking." Here Greenspan (Waffles from Morning to Midnight) delivers the textbook for the course. The syllabus is comprehensive, covering breads, morning pastries, cakes, cookies, pies and savory pastries. The French classics?baguette, croissant, genoise, savarin, madeleines?are all present, but so are focaccia, pita, cobbler, rugelach and biscotti. This variety owes much to 27 "baker-professors" called on to instruct in their specialties. Steve Sullivan creates artisanal baguettes and couronnes; Beatrice Ojakangas prepares Danish Pastry and Swedish Limpa; Alice Medrich presents a Chocolate Ruffle Cake; Jeffrey Alfond and Naomi Duguid bake Persian Nan and other flatbreads; Lauren Groveman makes bagels and bialys; and Martha Stewart crafts a wedding cake decorated with marzipan fruit. Greenspan presents the nearly 200 recipes in classic Julia style; each recipe is clear, complete and comes with preparation and storage information. But the student-baker will need equipment and patience to match their efforts: many recipes rely on a heavy duty mixer, and some techniques will take repeated effort to master. For the ambitious, the adventurous and the simply appreciative, Baking with Julia is a course worth taking and a cookbook worth owning. BOMC/Good Cook selection; author (Ms. Child) tour.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.