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on 22 August 2010
Volume 1 is a must-have for every cook, volume 2 is also a must-have but it contains more complex, sophisticated recipes, some of which will become favourites and some of which will just always require a little bit too much time, too much effort, too many things.
Volume 2 builds on volume 1 and I find the Puff Pastry recipes already on their own worth the book. The instructions and drawings are, like for volume 1, top of the bill.
Volume 2 contains the following sections: 1) Soups of the Garden - Bisques and Soups from the Sea 2)Baking: Breads, Brioches, Croissants and Pastries 3)Meats: From Country kitchen to Haute Cuisine 4)Chickens, Poached and Sauced - and a Coq en Pate 5)Charcuterie: Sausages, Salted Pork and Goose, Pates and Terrines 6)A Choice of Vegetables 7)Desserts: Extending the Repertoire. Bon Appetit!
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on 28 April 2015
This is really an essential addition to Volume 1, covering essential areas such as bread and pastry in detail and providing a lot of information and recipes for meat - including ideas for unusual meats such as tripe and tongue which look worth trying.
I have deducted a star for what appears to be dreadful editing: in the section on French bread it is recommended that quarry tiles be used to fill a baking tray in order to create a stable heated surface to cook your bread on - then it goes on for several pages to discuss what to do with your asbestos sheet. Presumably the original edition recommended asbestos before the dangers were known and someone has just replaced the original reference with a suggestion for quarry tiles without bothering to update the rest of the chapter (and I would have thought slate or a volcanic rock, such as granite or syenite, cut to size, would be better).
The "converted to imperial measurements" 2011 edition that arrived means I now have Vol 1 in US measurements and Vol 2 in Imperial. Hmmm. In practice, it doesn't seem to make much difference because liquid volumes are the only things affected and there don't seem to be many references to pints or fluid ounces in the recipes. I just have to remember that a pint in Vol 1 is 25% less than a pint in Vol 2.
I've still got a lot of reading (and cooking) to do. I just hope the editing in other sections is better than it is in the bread section. In any case, it's still an outstanding cookbook.
PS: It seems the references to asbestos may be because old quarry tiles contained the stuff (and should therefore be avoided, as should modern, glazed ones which may contain lead in the glaze). Apparently, the high baking temperature means baking stones might crack, though this risk is reduced if they are allowed to heat up and cool down slowly.
Another curiousity in the editing is that the index redirects "celeriac" to "celery root", but there is no entry for celery root, which is a teensy bit frustrating when you want a recipe for it.
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on 20 July 2011
I bought the paperback edition of this book a few months ago, after having watched the film (of course!). And I must say I didn't expect it to be this good: I didn't really believe I could cook anything French. I still don't know if I can (as I haven't been to France), but what I do cook from Child's recipes tastes really good. I love the way the ingredients are listed (in the order they are to be used), I love the information on preparing certain parts of the dish in advance, the giving of reasons why one should or shouldn't do this and that, the exhaustive explanations on each step of the recipe, and I love the witty comments on various things, which make the book an enjoyable reading instead of a mere cookbook. Therefore, Nigella Lawson's books (which for me are the total opposite of this book - no explanations and no satisfactory results) are gathering dust on my shelves, and this one has been in constant use lately. I'm neither English nor American, so I'm not used to Fahrenheit degrees, pints, pounds, ounces and so on, but there are tables for conversion in the book itself, and the internet will provide whatever was left out of the tables (not that I've found anything missing so far).

Print quality is not so good, letters are quite small, the text densely packed on the pages, the paper not so white, and the soft cover prone to water or sauce damage. The book is small and thick and doesn't stay open by itself. But on the other hand, it wasn't expensive, so for me all these physical details are not really an object of complaint. The book is written with a great sense of humour, the recipes detailed and easy to use, the dishes I've cooked are tasty, so for me there's nothing more to ask for!
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on 8 August 2016
The best cookbook I've read. It has become our reference manual for nearly all elementary cooking techniques. The clarity in writing and exposition of multi-step and multi-stage recipes is superb, and you can't fail to make excellent hollandaise sauce or mayonnaise with these instructions. The occasional sprinkling of humour is also greatly appreciated.
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on 9 December 2015
Wonderful books! I've wanted these for ages, but somehow never got around to getting them until now. Being an English cook, this is still useful for me, and as I've just retired, I am forming a plan to start working my way through sections, to see how I do. Arrived on time, well packed as usual.
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on 18 December 2015
Indispensable. My old paperback copy, which had been a companion for most of a lifetime, so frequently consulted and full of homemade references, could no longer hold together. I needed a replacement. I don't know any other cooking book where I can get such instructive information on ingredients, variations, methods, processes and principles of classic recipes. And just simply good advice.
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on 10 April 2017
The problem is I meant to buy volume 2!! I have now done this. I have had both books for years and replaced volume one a few years back but my volume 2 was falling to bits through overuse. However the new edition has been brought up to date and so I am happy that both have now been replace. The speed of delivery was excellent
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on 9 March 2017
Great books, fun woman. Goooood food!
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on 5 April 2017
The ultimate guide to cooking
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on 10 July 1998
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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