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Mastering the Art of French Cooking [Hardcover]

Julia Child , Simone Beck , Louisette Bertholle
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Oct. 12 1983
Revised edition of the classic cookbook, originally published in 1961.

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Product Description


The most instructive book on fine French cooking written in the English language -- Elizabeth David This book fundamentally altered the way a basic human activity was preceived and pursued -- A. O. Scott The New York Times Has been described as being the best book about French cooking in English ... I agree -- Ambrose Heath Guardian As close to a divine text as you can get -- Matthew Fort Guardian --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

From the Back Cover

"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 --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
Rarely are we able to say with certainty that a book is at the top of its subject in regard and quality. This book, 'Mastering the Art of French Cooking' by Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle, and Simone Beck is certainly in that most unique position among cookbooks written in English and published in the United States.
With Julia Child's celebrity arising from her long series of TV cooking shows on PBS, it may be easy to forget how Ms. Child rose to a position with the authority that gave her the cachet to do these shows in the first place. This book is the foundation of that cachet and the basis of Ms. Child's influence with an entire generation of amateur and professional chefs.
It may also be easy to forget that this book has three authors and not just one. The three began as instructors in a school of French cooking, 'Les Ecole des Trois Gourmandes' operating in Paris in the 1950's. And, it was from their experience with this school that led them to write this book. To be fair, Julia Child originated a majority of the culinary content and contributed almost all of the grunt work with her editors and publisher to get the book published.
The influence of this book cannot be underestimated. It has been written that the style of recipe writing even influenced James Beard, the leading American culinary authority at the time, to change his style of writing in a major cookbook on which he was working when '...French Cooking' was published. Many major American celebrity experts in culinary matters have cited Child and this book as a major influence. Not the least of these is Martha Stewart and Ina Garten. It is interesting that these first to come to mind are not professional chefs, but caterers and teachers of the household cook.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
There are two reasons to buy this book, along with its companion, Mastering the Art... Volume 2.
First, and most important, "Mastering" is an essential reference book on the French style of cooking. Whatever you're trying to make -- from simple things like chicken stock or scalloped potatoes or coq au vin to something that would try the patience of Job -- it's probably here, and with detailed, step-by-step instructions. Whether you follow the recipies literally or devise your own shortcuts, you'll know what's "right" and be able to make your own choices about what to do.
Secondly, it's a breakthrough book and a classic, capturing the state of French cooking and Americans' knowledge (or lack) at a particular point in time. In addition to the step-by-step instructions, the recipies are full of offhand comments about who taught Julia what and on the nature and source of the ingredients.
There are two aspects of these books which make them not for everyone. First, Julia brooks no shortcuts. Even relatively simple dishes can take some time. Second, the instructions are extremely detailed. This can be a virtue, but it can also be frustrating. A recipie can run several pages. This makes it a bit challenging to see the big picture of how the recipie is structured, or to find your place again once you've cleaned your knives and your hands (for the fourth time.)
That having been said, if you like to cook French and you have any interest in the classic recipies prepared the classic way, this book is indispensible.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The bible of French cooking for Americans. July 10 1998
By A Customer
I have been using this book, and it's companion Volume 2, for over 20 years. It is by far the best cookbook for French cuisine on the market. The clear, step-by-step directions, with extensive illustrations, carefully guide you through each recipe. It teaches all of the basic techniques required to become proficient in the greatest cuisine in the world.
Try Julia's chocolate mousse and you'll never use another recipe,(but you will have to walk it off). I'm ordering a replacement copy from Amazon because my original is has been so used the binding has fallen apart! I wouldn't be without it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply the best! Feb. 22 2003
By A Customer
I have been a subscriber to high-end food magazines for decades, and have an extensive collection of cookbooks. This is the best cook book in print, without exception. I remember when Julia came on the scene when I was a child. It was, no exaggeration.....innovative. She used words we couldn't pronounce, showed us how to make dishes we were unfamiliar with, and showed us techniques that were unheard of to the American public. Almost 40 years later, the American palette has become more sophisticated and the food options available to us seem endless. This book stills holds up as the best. It is the primer for understanding French cooking, and mastering invaluable techniques in the kitchen.
I love good food and enjoy cooking. The problem is, after twenty something years cooking I still have to admit that I have no natural talent or culinary instinct. EVERYTIME I use this book I am successful. Don't let the title of this book intimidate you. This book was written in large part with the novice in mind.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must for Any Serious Cook Feb. 9 2002
By A Customer
This cookbook is fantastic, a wealth of basic techniques and tastes. The depth is such that you can spend years with the book and still learn more. If you are an aspiring cook, or know someone that is, this is a perfect addition to the kitchen.
You can take what you learn from this book and easily improvise on the basic themes. Your friends and family will be impressed :^)
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent service
Exactly what I expected, promptly received
Published 11 days ago by Lorraine Chartier
2.0 out of 5 stars Poor Quality
There are suppose to be pictures demonstrating how things are to be done. The thing is it is very clear that there was suppose to be pictures, since there are large square blanks... Read more
Published 18 days ago by Tricia
5.0 out of 5 stars Bon Appétit!!!
A great book for my sister's birthday!!
Published 1 month ago by Brigitte Plume
5.0 out of 5 stars I bought it because our copy of volume 1 was ...
I bought it because our copy of volume 1 was worn out. Pages were missing, including a large part of the index.
Published 2 months ago by paul
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing then and Amazing now!!!
This is the 'book' to refer to learn a wonderful style of cooking, an art actually. This book was an amazing project that took years of dedication to the craft, so that the rest... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Anna Beale
5.0 out of 5 stars A must buy!
I absolutely love this book! It was much cheaper on Amazon as well. The book is an easy read as Julia seems to be narrating throughout all of it with easy tricks to pick up. Read more
Published 4 months ago by carolynn blanchard
1.0 out of 5 stars KILLER 2
Mon Dieu! I just read the biography "Bertie, a life of King Edward VII of Great Britain. Despite his talents he was a true voluptuary. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Eric R Fisher
5.0 out of 5 stars French Cooking
I haven't made anything out of the book yet. I saw the movie of Julia Child and that inspired me to buy the book.
Published 7 months ago by Maureen Olson
5.0 out of 5 stars Good start
If you are looking for something that will help you to improve basic French skills it is a good start.
Published 8 months ago by Tadeusz
5.0 out of 5 stars Happy Cooking
For all you bakers and chefs, this is the real deal. Julia Child is the ultimate in chefs and has put together this wonderful cook book for all. Read more
Published 9 months ago by imsewfine
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