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From Julia Childs Kitchen # [Hardcover]

Julia Child
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

1 Dec 1992
One of the first and most important—and most successful—cookbooks by America's beloved Julia Child. Using a very accessible approach to French cooking from an American point of view, here are recipes and techniques for the beginner as well as the more advanced cook, using easily available ingredients for everything from soups and appetizers to dessert. Black and white line art and photographs throughout.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 687 pages
  • Publisher: Random House USA Inc; 1st Edition edition (1 Dec 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394480716
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394480718
  • Product Dimensions: 23.2 x 16.7 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 125,537 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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.

(Photo credit: (C) Michael P. McLaughlin)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars how I learned to cook 6 Feb 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Very pleased I wanted to give this wonderful book to my daughter it has taught me so much and I still refer to it after many years.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.7 out of 5 stars  45 reviews
87 of 87 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hidden Masterpiece. Buy it now! 3 July 2006
By B. Marold - Published on
`From Julia Child's Kitchen' by the great culinary teacher, Julia Child, is an account of the recipes from the second major PBS `The French Chef' series, filmed in color in the WGBH Boston studios, just as the book, `The French Chef' covers recipes from the very first black and white series of shows. These two books have probably been lost in the shadows of the monumental two volume `Mastering the Art of French Cooking' and the later `The Way to Cook' and Child's collaboration with Jacques Pepin and Dorrie Greenspan on baking. Since this book is so much in the shadow of other works, I half expected to find a few traces of clay feet on the great Julia. Let me assure you that I did not. This book is every inch as delightful and informative and insightful as every other culinary work from Ms. Julia and her various collaborators. In fact, this book is so good, it is almost a crime that it should be available from a Random House discount label rather than its original imprimatur from Alfred A. Knopf (a Random House subsidiary).

The very most important fact to learn from this book is, as Ms. Child says, that it is `self-contained'. Essentially, that means there is nothing for which you have to go searching for in one of her earlier books, such as how to make a veloute sauce or how to coddle an egg. Next in importance is that while the book is heavily based on the French cuisine, it is a bit more strongly oriented to American tastes and methods than the classic `Mastering...'. Less important to the average cook, but of great importance to me is the insight Ms. Child gives to the task of learning cooking and of becoming an accomplished cook.

I find it an enormous irony that the while Julia Child created the modern American archetype of how to write a good recipe AND there have been writers such as Diane Jacob (author of `Will Write for Food') who does not see the point of writing recipes in any other way, Julia states that an experienced cook can, in fact, successfully execute a recipe which has nothing more than a simple narrative outline of what the cook is to do, much as Ms. Child's famous British contemporary, Elizabeth David did in her first work, `A Book of Mediterranean Food'. And, this `alternative' style of recipe writing and philosophy of cooking education is popular with some very good English food writers, especially Nigel Slater (`Appetite', `Kitchen Diaries'). So, even though Julia Child, throughout all her books, gives us very detailed recipes, she is all in favor of internalizing cooking principles and striking off on one's own.

One upshot of this is that this book is a really excellent text for a cooking class. Not only are all recipes explained in great detail, but lots and lots of reasons why things work the way they do are given, without ever dipping into technical scientific language, and having to apologize for that fact. So, we find Julia Child to be the mother of not only mainstream culinary writing, but also of the brand of culinary explanation done so well by Shirley Corriher and Alton Brown. And, she even does a better job on some matters than his nibs, Alton!

My favorite chapter for evaluating cookbooks, if there is one, is the chapter on egg cookery. This is because there are so many egg dishes that are virtually all about technique. Leading the list is the classic French omelet, except that Ms. Julia reveals the rather obscure fact that there is no one French omelet recipe. There are at least three, and she gives us instructions for all, but giving the most attention to the classic Parisian style typically done with a minimum of egg beating, lots of butter, and a flattish iron pan. She actually starts this chapter with a very long discussion on the ins and outs of making a good hard-boiled egg. I have known for a long time that there are two major schools of hard-boiled egg cookery. There are those who instruct us to pierce the eggs with a pin and dip them into boiling water and there are those who tell us to put the room temperature eggs into cold water, bring them to a boil, and let them sit in hot water for a certain time. Ms. Julia recommends the first (most famously advocated by Mark Bittman) and refers to the second method as `coddling', although the two methods produce virtually identical results, except that the second method takes a bit longer. Julia does not cover every possible egg dish, and yet for those she does cover, she does a better job than any other I have read, including those found in `the good egg', a book by Marie Simmons, dedicated entirely to the egg cookery.

There are several other surprises in this book. It includes, for example, a complete survey of techniques for separating oil from water, including one incredibly effective technique using a simple piece of chemical equipment called a separatory funnel. I am totally amazed that my hero Alton has never gotten around to demonstrating this technique.

This may not be the very best cooking textbook ever written (I think Madeleine Kamman's `The New Making of a Chef' may be somewhat better), but it is written with such charm and it is so cheap that it would appeal to even the most thrifty and most word weary students imaginable. It is especially delightful to see Ms. Child having no reservations about using modern cooking aids. I am even surprised to find her using a gadget for poaching eggs instead of using the purist's approach of laying the raw egg into swirling water.

This is a superb first cookbook for new cooks with all of the insights and few of the `haute cuisine' patina of Julia Child's better-known works. (I agree with other reviewer that pics are poor, but its the words that really count here).
37 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Probably Julia's Masterpiece 7 July 2008
By doktorlehar - Published on
Those interested in cooking à la Julia usually make their way to Mastering I and/or II, fine volumes both, but there is good reason to choose this volume instead. In my opinion it should be considered Julia's finest achievement as a cookbook author, and if I could have only one book in my kitchen, this would be it. It is a superb teaching volume and ideal for beginning home cooks, but even those with experience would benefit from owning it.

This is the first book that Julia developed and wrote entirely herself, and for that reason it is quite a bit more individual than its predecessors. In her autobiography "My Life in France" she describes it as both the hardest and most rewarding project of her career. Unlike the Mastering volumes, which were meant to be practical textbooks on French cooking, this book is much more wide-ranging and exploratory, with Julia trying out everything from pizza to curried dinners to hard boiled eggs to Christmas fruitcake. It's like a snapshot of how she cooked in the early 1970s. By then she had worked through some fundamental recipes for almost two decades and solved many problems still unsettled in Mastering I, which means that the versions of them published here often contain small but vital improvements. An example occurs in the very first recipe, for Potage Parmentier, that most basic and delicious of soups. Julia adds a simple flour thickener as a liaison, which adds a step, but in my experience it results in a better-textured and nicer-tasting finished product than one gets with her earlier versions of this recipe. Not only that, but following it gives you a little lesson on thickeners, which you can then apply elsewhere. The book is filled with little touches like that. I adore her way with chicken in this book; most of the recipes are simpler than those in Mastering I and II, but always delicious. The beef chapter is superb and I have become known as a great cook by serving this version of her Boeuf Bourguignon. I have also made the best puff pastry of my life by following this book's instructions, and Julia's chocolate mousse--well, it's like a dream come true! I've probably cooked three-quarters of the recipes in this book and am always impressed, and I learn something every time I cook with it.

Of all her books, this is the one in which Julia's personal culinary preferences and predilections come through most clearly. There is quite a bit of editorializing before and between recipes, and from these mini-essays you get a sharp sense of what she valued in food. This book should be seen as a summary of Julia Child's achievement, culminating the work of her earlier publications. Her later books, while worthwhile, do not add much to the picture that doesn't already receive treatment here.

I cannot recommend this book enthusiastically enough. Try to get one of the 1970s printings if you can, since they are of fine quality, unlike the 90s-era reprinting.
61 of 65 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Julia's cooking techniques and stories told in her own voice 22 Sep 1998
By A Customer - Published on
Of all of Julia Child's cookbooks (most of which I own), I find this one to be by far her best. As a devoted fan of the author even since I saw her on PBS as a child, I've always appreciated her mixture of technique and detail with continuous narrative.
From Julia's Kitchen reads as well as it cooks. She speaks in her own voice, seemingly without the interference of colleagues or editors, leading us through her favorite recipies. As always, she complains about the difficulties of finding true French ingredients, such as sorrel or creme fraiche, in the US. However, the effects of progress can be seen as the food processor makes its first apprearance in her pastry recipe.
Although tied in to her concurrent PBS show, it's more complete and cohesive than The French Chef Cookbook without the increasingly blatant commercialness of later works.
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For cooking novices, Julia's best book 18 May 2004
By Timothy B. Mustaine - Published on
This unassuming book, a companion to Julia Child's original WGBH TV series, doesn't have many recipes, certainly isn't comprehensive, and has only pathetic, tiny, black and white illustrations. But it's loaded with detailed explanations of the basics--what to do, why to do it that way, what will happen if you do it the wrong way and (sometimes) how to fix things that have gone wrong. The book is really almost a programmed learning text on cooking, although it isn't presented as such. I don't know of a better cookbook for novices, who can soon follow it to create really impressive dishes that will earn accolades, and help keep up their interest in cooking. Not all the recipes are classics. Some are the author's innovations, but make the point that, by combining basic techniques, interesting new dishes can be done. For example, the two sauce "Lasagne a la Francais" is unlike any Lasagna you've ever had--but wonderful--and makes perfect sense once you've been through the earlier recipes in the book on whose techniques it builds. If I were looking for a book for someone who didn't really know how to cook, but wanted to learn, this is the one I'd get.
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Cooking Class and Classic 1 Feb 2000
By Michele Thaler - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
As a child I enjoyed watching Julia Child on TV and as I read From Julia Child's Kitchen it's in her own voice that I am hearing her words. The text is so clearly written that anyone, at any cookling ability level can easily follow her instructions. The pictures were a bit disappointing being small, older and all black and white, but besides that the book is a gem. If you are looking for just a collection of recipes - look elsewhere - but if you want a course in master cookery from a master chef - this is the book for you!
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