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Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child and Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle
Mastering the Art of French Cooking

smapes, July 10, 2009

Julia Child had me "hooked" the first time I viewed her Educational Television show of the 1960's, "The French Chef" when I was barely a teenager. There was something very exciting to me to see her passion for cooking and the wonderful dishes she made. I think her appeal was that she made me believe that I could do the same thing. But it wasn't until about 7 years ago that I finally bought her classic "Mastering the Art of French Cooking".

I spent the first couple of years simply reading the book. There's a lot one can learn from it about cooking vocabulary and technique even if one never cracks an egg. I finally mustered the courage to try my hand at one of her recipes. I chose to make a triple batch of "Boeuf Bourguignon" (Beef Stew in Red Wine, with Bacon, Onions, and Mushrooms - page 315) for a large crowd. The most difficult thing for me at that time was preparing the sheer quantity of the ingredients for a triple batch. But her actual recipe is a masterpiece in simplicity and my kitchen never smelled so good. Nearly every guest wanted my recipe and when I told them it was Julia's they were impressed but proclaimed that they could never cook like Julia. I assured them that if I could do it, they could too. Julia should be proud since she made a believer of me in my ability to cook wonderfully delicious meals. I have since made many of the classic recipes in Volume One and I have yet to be disappointed. This book belongs on the shelf of every interested cook, whether a beginner or a seasoned chef.
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