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Mastering the Art of French Cooking Hardcover – Oct 12 1983

4.7 out of 5 stars 92 customer reviews

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Hardcover, Oct 12 1983
CDN$ 95.79 CDN$ 26.28

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 736 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf (Oct. 12 1983)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394533992
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394533995
  • Product Dimensions: 4.4 x 18.4 x 26 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 Kg
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars 92 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,400,222 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

Review

As close to a divine text as you can get -- Matthew Fort Guardian --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From the Inside Flap

The only cookbook that explains how to create authentic French dishes in American kitchens with American foods. Teaches the key techniques of French cooking, permitting many variations on a theme. Over 100 instructive drawings. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
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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Format: Paperback
Rarely are we able to say with certainty that a book is at the top of its subject in regard and quality. This book, the continuation of 'Mastering the Art of French Cooking' by Julia Child and Simone Beck is certainly in that most unique position among cookbooks written in English and published in the United States.
This volume is truly a simple extension of the material in the original work, which was recently published in a 40th anniversary edition by its publisher, Alfred E. Knopf and its principle author, Julia Child. As told in Ms. Child's autobiography, the original manuscript brought to Judith Jones at Knopf ran to over a thousand printed pages. About two fifths of that material was put to the side and most of it appears in this second volume. All this means is that you are unlikely to really have a full coverage of the subject of French Cooking as intended by the authors unless you have both volumes.
The first chapter has a clear sign that this volume rounds out the work in that it gives soups a much more thorough coverage than the first volume. Most importantly, it includes recipes for that quintessential French dish, bouillabaisse. To complement this subject is coverage of seafood such as a tour of the anatomy of a lobster that would put seafood specialist cookbooks to shame.
The biggest single addition to the subject in this book is its coverage of baking and pastry. Here is one place where the book may be seen to diverge from its focus of the French housewife's cooking practice. As the book states clearly in the first chapter, practically no baking is done at home, since there is a Boulangerie on every street corner.
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Format: Hardcover
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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