Unfortunately I haven't had the opportunity to use these books as much as I would have liked so far. I have read other reviews that state they can be read almost like a novel - which is true. But with 2 young children hard to find the time!!
I have used it to look things up quickly and it has been helpful - the parts I have actually sat down and took the time to read have been excellent - I am learning tidbits of information and the proper "how to's" that make the process much easier and satisfying as the results are better. I consider myself a pretty experienced "home cook" and I have found them to be a great resource. If you are just new to cooking you will find it that much more beneficial!!
This pair of books will turn the average cook into a great cook. They cover the basics of French cooking in an easy to read format, the recipes work and the result is delicious. If you have read Dearie, Julia's biography, you will know that this started life as a French cookbook written by the other two authors. To get their book published they enlisted Julia to help write the book in American. They then strove for several years to write the perfect French cookbook for the American housewife. The result was an instant best seller and one of the all time great treatises on French cooking. It is not up to date and may be found lacking by cutting edge cooks but it is absolutely terrific for most cooks and of interest in the evolution of food in America. Every household should have a copy.Also I bought this elsewhere because it was $35 cheaper for the set.
With the help of this book, I taught myself to cook using the basic French cooking instructions in the book. Thirty some years later, after two-year's work/study in a small (then non-accredited) cooking school, I still refer to it. I refer to it for many reasons, least of which is to jog my memory. My ancient copy (circa 1960?) is coming apart at the binding, so I need to replace it. This book is inspiration!
I became interested in cooking when I moved out of the dorm in 1970. The quest for good food led to a life-long passion for honest good food. The French approach eating with a sincereity Americans lack. Julia has been able to present classic French Cuisine to generations of Americans. This set of two volumes contains the essence of French cooking that will serve as a foundation to wherever one travels on the food road. Mine is almost disentegrating from years of loving use, and I am replacing one for the library, but plan to continue to use my dog-eared friend!
I discovered this cookbook several years ago and, at least gastronomically, it changed my life forever. The recipes are broken down into the absolute simplest steps possible. The sauces are phenomenal. One can finally appreciate the notoriety that French cooking has (deservedly) earned by preparing and tasting any of these recipes. Julia has confirmed me as a French cooking fan!
A comprehesive and well illustrated compendium of fine French cuisine that you can make at home. Julia Child's thorough explanations of the most basic to the most complex recipes, injected with her famous sense of humour, calmly assures the most novice of cooks that he/she too can cook like a Cordon Bleu trained chef. Bon Apetit!
Well written in an informal tone, these books make French cooking much easier. I also like the way she positions basic recipes (as for sauces for example) and then the many variations on the theme derived from them. I have already tried several recipes, with great success.