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Mastering the Art of French Cooking [Hardcover]

Julia Child , Simone Beck , Louisette Bertholle
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 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 Magnifique! Jan. 1 2011
By Vaughan
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Excellent Book, and quotes a great price! If you get Volume 2, make sure you have Volume 1 first, because it is often referenced.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A must-have for any serious home cook. Aug. 17 2001
Every serious home cook should have a good collection of Julia Child's recipes in the kitchen. Although many of the recipes are elaborate and time consuming, they are all clearly explained and easy to follow. I have never had a Julia Child recipe fail. I refer to this book constantly for basics such as pie crust. It is also my first line of defense for company meals.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No one like Julia Feb. 1 2011
Masterful. Classic. Julia. What else can you say about this book? It was ahead of its time and it still holds up well today. I've cooked a few chicken dishes and they were great.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book Jan. 15 2011
By Brad
This is a great book, and a good price. I couldn't find it for less than $50 in store. Cooking wise, if you follow her directions exactly, which are very clear, you can't go wrong. We've had some of the best meals, and you learn little tips and tricks that can improve your cooking in all areas. It's a cooking class far above any public school program. My professionally trained sister is learning new things from it, and she went to university to be a chef.
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5.0 out of 5 stars I bought it because our copy of volume 1 was ... July 3 2014
By paul
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I bought it because our copy of volume 1 was worn out. Pages were missing, including a large part of the index.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing then and Amazing now!!! June 18 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
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 of the world can understand what good food tastes like and how to dine... Every meal you make does not have to come from this book, but you will find that every meal you make, you style, and techniques came from this book. Bravo Julia, Simone and Louisette.
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Most recent customer reviews
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 2 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 5 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 6 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 6 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 7 months ago by imsewfine
5.0 out of 5 stars Exactly what you order
If you are a Julia Child's fan, this is perfect for you... it is exactly what it says it is. If you like to cook and try new things, this is for you.
Published 8 months ago by elvilak
5.0 out of 5 stars Mastering the Art of French Cooking Volume 1: 50th Anniversary
On l'aime notre Julia Child!!!!

Un jour, à l'usage, ce livre sera sûrement tout taché et plein de beurre et de crème 35%.
Published 17 months ago by Ghyslain PARENT
5.0 out of 5 stars Classical cooking book!
I offered that book to my wife after seeing Julie and Julia and she loved it.

The recipes are well explained and it's very easy to use. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Richard Rondeau
2.0 out of 5 stars Not very useful.
The recipes are not very accessibles. There are many books out there that show better recipes. I really not reccommand it.
Published 18 months ago by Katty
5.0 out of 5 stars For those who love cooking
I first bought this book in 1975 while travelling in Europe, the British paper back edition. It is so tattered and torn that I decided it was time to replace it with the American... Read more
Published 19 months ago by g'ette
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