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Julia's Kitchen Wisdom: Essential Techniques and Recipes from a Lifetime of Cooking [Paperback]

Julia Child
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
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Book Description

June 23 2009
How many minutes should you cook green beans? Is it better to steam them or to boil them?
What are the right proportions for a vinaigrette?
How do you skim off fat?
What is the perfect way to roast a chicken?

Julia Child gave us extensive answers to all these questions–and so many more–in the masterly books she published over the course of her career. But which one do you turn to for which solutions? Over the years Julia also developed some new approaches to old problems, using time-saving equipment and more readily available products. So where do you locate the latest findings?

All the answers are close to hand in this indispensable little volume: the delicious, comforting, essential compendium of Julia’s kitchen wisdom–a book you can’t do without.

Frequently Bought Together

Julia's Kitchen Wisdom: Essential Techniques and Recipes from a Lifetime of Cooking + Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume I: 50th Anniversary + Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume 2
Price For All Three: CDN$ 66.35

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Product Description

From Amazon

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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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wealth of Sound, Useful Recipes and Advice March 12 2004
Julia Child is my greatest culinary hero. Her first two books, the two volumes of 'Mastering the Art of French Cooking' influenced two generations of home cooks, caterers, and restaurateurs. Her PBS television series did not invent the TV cooking show, but they made such an indelible impression on the genre that I am sure their influence will be felt long after Julia is cooking for St. Peter. Her generous support of charities and freedom from commercial influences should be a model for other culinary professionals who wish our respect.
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.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
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.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Absolute Delight Feb. 21 2001
I bought this book to give as a gift and kept it for myself! I am so glad I did. Although I have been cooking for many years, this delightful little book gave me lots of hints and tips, as well as often making me laugh out loud. I regard it more as a book of kitchen essays than as a cookbook, although I think any cook could benefit from the recipes, variations, hints, tips, and reminders it contains. Many of Childs' original recipes have been simplified for this book, but this does not appear to have compromised them.
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.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Useful Cooking Reference Sept. 28 2001
By A Customer
I love cooking shows and often read cookbooks for pleasure, picking up tips from each author and pondering what recipes I'd like t try, but I have to admit that I've never been a part of the cooking cult that worships Julia Child. I do remember watching her shows as a child, with my mother, and know she pioneered the genre, but the meals she made rarely appealed to me--too time consuming, too "fussy" and just too "strange" for every day taste. (If I have to visit eight different shops and peruse three mail order catalogs to make a dish, I'm probably not going to try it.)
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.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars j'aime
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 4 months ago by A. Paquet
5.0 out of 5 stars I couldn't put this down!!
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 more
Published 4 months ago by Anna Beale
5.0 out of 5 stars Story time with Julia!
I brought this book with me to Maui on vacation and read it page by page - - it was wonderful.
Published 5 months ago by Vicki
5.0 out of 5 stars Useful!
I find I have been using this book all the time, even though I am a pretty accomplished cook. It has information on just about everything.
Published 6 months ago by LTZ
5.0 out of 5 stars What can you say it is Julia
A small book with so much information and cooking tips.
I have enjoyed it and use it but never without forgetting the time on her TV program years ago when she dropped the... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Wini
5.0 out of 5 stars A 'Go To' Book for Basics of Cooking
In Julia's straightforward style she presents the basics and you know they will work because she has tested everything to perfection.
Published 19 months ago by Janice Street
4.0 out of 5 stars Best basic tips even for expierenced cook
This book is packed full of short tips on common cooking techniques that have left everyone wondering from time to time. Read more
Published on July 9 2010 by P. David Green
4.0 out of 5 stars worth looking up anything you are about to make
This is a fun little book that showed me unexpectedly fabulous things to do with common foods. you think you know how to fry a steak but you do not! Read more
Published on June 20 2010 by Heather
5.0 out of 5 stars Julia's Kitchen Wisdon
This is a must have book for anyone who likes to cook - great gift for young budding cooks, all the basics are there.
Never made a soup before? Read more
Published on Oct. 8 2009 by Julia's follower
5.0 out of 5 stars what can I say...
God I wish I were a 30-year-old in Boston in 1960! Julia is the mother of American Cuisine just as James Beard is the father of American Cuisine. Read more
Published on July 9 2003 by A reader
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