Essential Techniques and Recipes from a Lifetime of Cooking
Julia Child was born in Pasadena, California. She was graduated from Smith College and worked for the OSS during World War II in Ceylon and China, where she met Paul Child. After they married they lived in Paris, where she studied at the Cordon Bleu and taught cooking with Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle, with whom she wrote the first volume of Mastering the Art of French Cooking (1961). In 1963, Boston's WGBH launched The French Chef television series, which made her a national celebrity, earning her the Peabody Award in 1965 and an Emmy in 1966. Several public television shows and numerous cookbooks followed. She died in 2004.
Appearances can indeed be deceiving. Of course, this comes from the inestimable Child, but it is a short, small-format book, packaged as the companion volume to a two-hour PSB special that will air in December. In fact, it is packed with more information than many cookbooks three times its size contain. Julia refers to it as a "mini aide-m‚moire" for home cooks, a book that grew out of her own loose-leaf kitchen notebook, revised and rethought over the years. The focus is on technique, but there are dozens of recipes as well, both "master recipes" and their spin-offs, and others that stand aloneÄan amazing variety, in fact. This would be the one cookbook to take to a summer vacation house, for example, but any home cook will find it a useful reference time and time again. An essential purchase, obviously; most libraries will want multiple copies. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
This slender book from the doyenne of gourmet cooking is a boon for those who need a refresher course in, or a handy source for, basics. These notes come from Child's own kitchen notebook, years in the making. Generally, each recipe is included in "master" form with numerous variations; for example, a section on potatoes explains the ins and outs of Mashed Potatoes, as well as provides a recipe for Garlic Mashed Potatoes. Child's voice is always welcome, and never more so than when she is providing no-muss-no-fuss advice like this. A quick section on dried beans covers soaking as well as cooking in a pressure cooker or Crock-Pot, and some more esoteric treats, such as homemade bread and souffl‚s, have their place here. Helpful tips proliferate throughout: Sea Scallops Saut‚ed with Garlic and Herbs are followed by a paragraph on scallops that exude too much juice, and a section on tarts explains how to prebake a shell. Even Hamburgers (plain and flavored) are covered here. (Nov. 19) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
"Julia Child paved the way for Chez Panisse and so many others by
demystifying French food and by reconnecting pleasure and delight
with cooking and eating at the table. She brought forth a culture
of American ingredients and gave us all the confidence to cook with
them in the pursuit of flavor." -Alice Waters, Chez Panisse
"Julia is . . . the grande dame of cooking, who has touched all of our lives with her immense respect and appreciation of cuisine." -Emeril Lagasse, Emeril's Restaurant
"Julia has slowly but surely altered our way of thinking about food. She has taken the fear out of the term 'haute cuisine.' She has increased gastronomic awareness a thousandfold by stressing the importance of good foundation and technique, and she has elevated our consciousness to the refined pleasures of dining. Through the years her shows have kept me in rapt attention, and her humor has kept me in stitches. She is a national treasure, a culinary trendsetter, and a born educator beloved by all." -Thomas Keller, The French Laundry
"Julia freed the American public from their fears of cooking French. By doing so, she greatly expanded the audience for all serious food writers. Her demystification prepared that public for the rest of us. I believe that the television shows based on that landmark book did even more to encourage reluctant cooks to try their hands . . . much to our benefit." -Mimi Sheraton