Julia's Kitchen Wisdom: Essential Techniques and Recipes from a Lifetime of Cooking Paperback – Jun 23 2009
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What would you give to see the notes Julia Child keeps in her handwritten loose-leaf kitchen reference guide? Your wish is granted! This clever little volume was inspired by Child's notebook, compiled from her own "trials, remedies, and errors."
Organized by large category and technique, it's a very handy reference guide for anyone reasonably comfortable in the kitchen. Each section contains a master recipe followed by variations. The emphasis is on technique, so if you occasionally find yourself trying to remember at what temperature to best roast a duck, the best way to cook green beans and keep them green, or how to save your hollandaise, then this is the book for you. And what good is a reference guide without an index? As always, Child comes to our rescue with a fantastic, comprehensive index, 19 pages long for 107 pages of text, so we can find the answers to life's burning questions in a flash.
Part of what makes Julia Child such an icon is that she can describe a complicated dish, and in the next breath convince us to make it. Classic Chocolate Mousse, Sabayon, Scalloped Potatoes Savoyarde, and Butterflied Leg of Lamb sound manageable when they follow recipes for Roast Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, and Scrambled Eggs. And with Child's help, they are. "Quick, snappy answers" for both basic and complicated cooking questions make this a work we'll never outgrow. And if Julia can use a cheat sheet, so can we! Fans of Child will love that her personality shows through in comments like, "Don't crowd the pan... or you'll be sorry," and, to introduce her Basic Vinaigrette Dressing, "I use the proportions of a very dry martini." Eight pages of photos taken by her husband, Paul, including one of Child with the famous dancing goose, make this even more of a treasure.
If there is anyone qualified to offer kitchen wisdom, it must be Julia Child. After a lifetime of cooking and teaching, her knowledge is a perfect gift for fans, novices, or anyone responsible for putting dinner on the table every night. --Leora Y. Bloom --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From Publishers 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.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
After all that, I confess a certain irony in expecting to give this book a cautionary review. It is certainly a joy to read a new work by Ms. Julia, but I anticipated a few things you should consider, based on the fact that this is a very short book.
First, there are 105 pages of kitchen wisdom for a list price of $20, not including introductions and index. Short books leave things out. The book very wisely advocates a slow rise to bread dough to get better development of flavor, but it doesn't explain why. Another area where the book is clearly leaving things out is where it mentions the five French mother sauces, but only gives details on making two of the five.
Second, it seems to concentrates on the faster rather than the tastiest result, as this requires less space. One example I found is in the recipe for creating a crème fraiche at home. Almost every recipe I have found asks you to let the mixture of cream and sour cream or yogurt to sit in the fridge for at least 24 hours. Some have it sit for up to three days. This book allows for no waiting time. I confess the book does not always take the shortest route, as the recipe for pie dough (pate brisee) recommends a rest period of two hours in the fridge.Read more ›
One of the nicest things about "Julia's Kitchen Wisdom" is the attractive layout and its wonderful index. Someone above mentioned this also. I am very appreciative of a good index in any book - and this one sure made the book easy to use.
I also loved Julia's pithy quotes at the beginning of each chaper--I could just hear her saying them, breathlessly. Her wording in some of the recipes is droll---when describing how to make an omelet, she instructs the reader to "jerk the pan towards you", "bang on the handle with your fist", and "spear a lump of butter with a fork". No formal language here! She really endeared herself to me when she said that she uses an aluminum Wearever pan for her omelets.
The great photos, taken over many years, brought back good memories of Julia Child's weekly shows.
Recently, I picked up "Julia's Kitchen Wisdom" at the library and was quickly sold. I am now ordering a copy to keep. The book is filled with useful basic recipes and techniques, as well as lots of helpful time-saving tips that Child has picked up over the years. It's not really a recipe book per se, though tried-and-true formulas for things like Hollandaise sauce and pastry dough do appear, it's more of a kitchen guide. It's full of ingredient substitutions, serving suggestions and definitions of terms you may come across. More useful to experienced cooks, it's also a helpful guide for the best technique, according to Child, for things like braising, searing, roasting and folding. Child's years in the kitchen have made here at master and I was pleasantly surprised to find many time-saving techniques and places were Child says the "easy" way is actually better.
This slim volume really packs a wallop of cooking information and I think it would make a nice addition to any cook's bookshelf.
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.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
This book came in perfect condition and was exactly what I expected. It's a great book that I'll really enjoy using.Published 6 months ago by Heather
I've seen the movie "Julie and Julia", I've bought this book for my husband. We think it's very good.Published 12 months ago by Gloria (Ryerson Polytechnical 1982)
I think this would be a great book for anyone from the novice to experience cook. Love her wisdom.Published 13 months ago by Maureen Murphy
Gives many of Julia's basics in a manageable form. Good for beginners to cooking.Published 14 months ago by Lorna Zelinsky
Un petit plus à avoir dans sa bibliothèque, et pas dispendieux. Un livre qu'il fait bon de feuilleter une fois de temps en temps.Published 19 months ago by A. Paquet
I was so excited to receive this book.. I love Julia Child and her knowledge is/was infinite. I read this cover to cover in bed last night!! Read morePublished 20 months ago by Winecrafter