I tried a couple of recipes, the cake with chocolate and almonds, it was good, and I tried one of the sauces. The book is excellently written, I love the way the recipes are written, very easy to follow, the ingredients are written in a column in order they will be used in the recipe, beside the corresponding method or technique that will include that ingredients. I almost forgot, I also did the canard au croute, the meat we stuff inside the duck does not have too much flavour, but the instructions to debone the duck are very, very precise and easy to follow ( I deboned a duck), the crust turned out thick, overall the dish was okay but did not taste as good as it looked it did in the movie, I did the duck only once, and I have photos to prove it. I have not tried the beef bourguignon, maybe one day soon!
Recipe may seems lengthy but it is much easier to follow compared with online recipes because the instructions are very detailed. There is no reading between the line. Follow it like a robot and you will have an amazing meal. A lot of recipes have 2 variations. You can either use can/pre cook substitution to omit some lengthy stock cooking. Or if you just want to cook from scratch so you know for sure what's in your food, she also have them in the book as well. I found just vol 1 is enough to improve your understanding of cooking. You would be able to go back to many old recipes and improve their taste just by the few things that you learn (esp stock) from this book.
This is the set to have if you are comfortable with cooking techniques - and even if you're not, as they are explained in detail with all sorts of tricks to make things easier. There are very helpful conversion tables of weights and measures and temperatures. The index is quite exhaustive, but I found one or two surprising omissions, such as the definition of 'pan-broiling' (=dry-frying). Because of the age of the books (1961 and 1970, Vols 1&2) there are no colour photographs, but I enjoyed the line drawings for their clarity and the 'feel' of cook books 40 and 50 years old. One caution; it is easy to overlook the time required to cook your dishes. It is often almost 'hidden' in the text - which is a wonderful friendly read.
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.
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!