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Mastering the Art of French Cooking [Paperback]

Julia Child , Simone Beck , Louisette Bertholle
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (83 customer reviews)

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Book Description

26 Oct 2009
This isn't just any cookery book. It is Mastering the Art of French Cooking, first published in 1961, and it's a book that is a statement, not of culinary intent, but of aspiration, a commitment to a certain sort of good life, a certain sort of world-view; a votive object implying taste and appetite and a little je ne sais quoi. Julia Child was like Amelia Earhart, or Eleanor Roosevelt: she was a hero who'd gone out there and made a difference. Her books are a triumph, and also a trophy. AA GILL, The Times

Product details

  • Paperback: 688 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (26 Oct 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141048417
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141048413
  • Product Dimensions: 19.3 x 12.7 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (83 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 107,285 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


As close to a divine text as you can get (Matthew Fort Guardian )

About the Author

Julia Child revolutionised cooking in the US and this was the cookbook that launched her career. A native of California and a Smith College graduate, Julia Child studied at Paris's famous Cordon Bleu, and worked under various distinguished French chefs. In 1951 she started her own cooking school in Paris, L'Ecole des Trois Gourmandes, with Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle and the three women started compiling this cookbook. Mastering the Art of French Cooking was published in 1961 and was an instant hit. Julia Child consequently began appearing on the television series The French Chef, which aired for many years all over the United States, and many more books and TV series ensued.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
117 of 120 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars hardback version much better than paperback 11 Dec 2009
By yayo
This paperback version is not as clear and as well laid out as the hardback. I've compared both and the paperback version is flimsy, the writing is very small and the layout of the ingredients is not as clear. Whereas the ingredients in the hardback are grouped together on the left of the technique (and written in the order that they will be used), in the paperback version they will put some ingredients (written in bold), then the technique, then other ingredients etc (so the ingredients are actually written as you use them)... some may prefer this but personally i prefer to see the ingredients grouped together, which makes the preparation process far easier.
It seems like such a wonderful cookbook but such a book, it would be better to invest in the hardback which is more likely to stand the test of time, easier to read as you cook (bigger font, more spread out on the page) and clearer ingredient layout.
A couple of people complained of missing pages, my book was fine, so the publishers must have corrected that.
Happy cooking...
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128 of 132 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The bible of French cooking for Americans. 10 July 1998
By A Customer
I have been using this book, and it's companion Volume 2, for over 20 years. It is by far the best cookbook for French cuisine on the market. The clear, step-by-step directions, with extensive illustrations, carefully guide you through each recipe. It teaches all of the basic techniques required to become proficient in the greatest cuisine in the world.
Try Julia's chocolate mousse and you'll never use another recipe,(but you will have to walk it off). I'm ordering a replacement copy from Amazon because my original is has been so used the binding has fallen apart! I wouldn't be without it.
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122 of 127 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a Classic 19 Oct 2007
By Bentley
On the cover of this hardcover classic is the following statement: "The only cookbook that explains how to create authentic French dishes in American kitchens with American foods". I think this was key to the success of this cookbook; you could use what you could find and not have to scour the earth for the right ingredients.

I was looking at the copyright on the book. My mother gave me hers about two decades ago; but the original date on her edition was October 16, 1961 (amazing) and this book is every bit as useful for me today as it was for my mother.

The chapters are laid out as follows:

Kitchen Equipment
Wines (offering the right accompaniment to each dish)
Chapter I - Soups (onion, potato, cream of sorrel, cabbage, fish)
Chapter II - Sauces (white, brown, tomato, hollandaise, vinagrettes, etc.)
Chapter III - Eggs (poached, shirred, scrambed, omelettes)
Chapter IV - Fish (even recipes from Provence)
Chapter V - Poultry (roasted, casserole, sauteed, duck and goose, etc.)
Chapter VII - Meat (beef, lamb, veal, ports , kidneys)
Chapter VIII - Vegetables (greens, carrot, cabbages, etc)
Chapter IX - Cold Buffet (aspics, mousses, pates, etc.)
Chapter X - Desserts and Cakes (souffles, tarts, savarins, and much more)

The recipe for the bouillabaisse alone (page 52 and 53) is well worth investing in this cookbook. Julia Child knew what she was doing and the adaptation of these classic techniques to the American kitchen is stunning. I noticed that there was a paperback available as well; the hardcopy is the one that I would get so that it could stand the test of time like mine has. Bon appetit.

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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A book that teaches you to cook! 26 Sep 2010
By Mel
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Like other reviewers, I bought this book after watching "Julie and Julia". I listened to other reviewers and paid more to buy the hardback version. I cannot comment on the paperback version or compare the two, but I am very pleased with the content, explanations, descriptions and diagrams in the hardcover book.

When the book arrived I picked it up to flick through it (as you do when a new book arrives), but I became engrossed reading the book and ended up sepnding 5 hours reading it! And in that time (and since that time too) I have learnt so much about food and cooking. This book is an excellent book and can teach you a lot about cooking - especially the basics of cooking.

The only slightly negative feature of this book is that a lot of the recipes and techniques require you to flick between pages and recipes, which can become slightly confusing while you are trying to follow a recipe. To overcome this you should read the recipe(s) and techniques throughly in advance of cooking the dish. That said though, I have still become confused and ended up cooking it 'my way' despite reading the recipe(s) before cooking them.

I really like this book and I am pleased that I have bought it - it has become my little kitchen bible!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mastering the art of French cooking vol. 1 14 Jan 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
It does,as they say, exactly what it says on the cover. People who buy this are highly likely to have seen the film "Julie & Julia" & will know what to expect,(if you haven`t,see the film or read several reviews of it)
Pleasant suprises - measurements are all given in pounds & ounces(I prefer metric myself)I had feared it would all be in those awful American cups!
Almost inspired to work my way through it,but someone`s already done that.Looking forward to the delivery of vol2.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Mastering the Art of French Cooking
Nothing wrong with the book, just not for me. Maybe if your into that sort of thing you would find it very good.
Published 1 month ago by Wendy Davey
5.0 out of 5 stars Bon appétit
Like a lot of people I bought this book after seeing the film Julie and Julia. Whilst having many other French cook books this has fast become my favourite. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Debs28
3.0 out of 5 stars Julia Childs Master ( not good)
The Book's index is poorly organized and printed. I wouldn't recommend this edition and suggest other Julia childs books for references
Published 3 months ago by Mr. E. R. Kohberger
5.0 out of 5 stars As expected
The text is a bit different than original (have vol 2 of first edition), was it edited? It misses some of Julia's charm to be exact and feels a bit dry. Recipes wonderful though.
Published 3 months ago by ohmy
5.0 out of 5 stars Julia, Julia, Julia
Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant. Apart fronm the recipes it's very good book for a short read before bed, a 'must have' for anybody interested in cooking.
Published 4 months ago by terence griffiths
4.0 out of 5 stars Old school classic
I have both volumes and have made a handful of recipes. The layout is a bit weird as it's not set out in the contemporary way of instructions with a list of ingredients at the top... Read more
Published 4 months ago by chrisnz
4.0 out of 5 stars Replacement
This is a cookery book I have used for many years, and my Penguin copy has fallen to pieces. It is nice to have a new copy.
Published 5 months ago by Mark Christian Pitman
4.0 out of 5 stars Nostalgia!!
I bought this to replace the copy I bought in 1972 - my first ever cookbook. At that time I didn't know the difference between a clove and head of garlic, almost a disaster with my... Read more
Published 7 months ago by J. Halpin
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome!
There is a vintage-ness that comes with this book, don't buy it if you just want quick and easy, this is more of a cook book for studying! Read more
Published 8 months ago by Mr. L. O'shaugnhessy
5.0 out of 5 stars Gift
I bought this as a gift and it has gone down really well. Exquisite, classic, well-explained French recipes.A must-have in your kitchen.
Published 8 months ago by Mrs. F. M. Dunn
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