domestic goddesses: julia

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„In the 1950s, when this book was conceived, and on into the 1980s, we in this country pretty well ate as we liked with little or no attention paid to lashings of the best butter and the heaviest cream. You will note this indulgence here, especially in sauces, where you reduce them with cream or where you swirl in fresh butter a generous tablespoon at a time to render them smooth, shining, and luscious. I have not changed any of these original proportions or directions, because this is the way the dishes are conceived. However, do use your own judgement as how much or how little of the enrichments you care to use, since the amounts will not interfere with the basic recipe. In my case, for instance, I have been known to substitute a modest teaspoon for the generous tablespoon.
Finally, I do think the way to a full and healthy life is to adopt the sensible system of „small helpings, no seconds, no snacking, and a little bit of everything.“ Above all – have a good time!

This is a book for the servantless American cook who can be unconcerned on occasion with budgets, waistlines, time schedules, children’s meals, the parent-chauffeur-den-mother syndrome, or anything else which might interfere with the enjoyment of producing something wonderful to eat. Written for those who love to cook, the recipes are as detailed as we have felt they should be so the reader will know exactly what is involved and how to go about it. This makes them a bit longer than usual, and some of the recipes are quite long indeed. No out-of-the-ordinary ingredients are called for. In fact the book could well be titled „French Cooking from the American Supermarket“,  for the excellence of French cooking, and of good cooking in general, is due more to cooking techniques than to anything else. And these techniques can be applied wherever good basic materials are available.”

Julia Child in „Mastering the Art of French Cooking“, Vol. 1

 

As announced we are dealing w/ domestic goddesses.
Today I like to talk about Julia Child & her basic cookbooks*:

 

 

I laid my hands on these volumes only recently – about somewhat more than 2 years ago – & immediately fell in love w/ these books after having read some chapters.

(I won’t deny that I was impressed & amused by the movie about Julia Child & her life starring Meryl Streep & Amy Adams: it’s really good entertainment! …& I think the movie had its fair share that I looked for the books…)

 

 

Let’s start w/ some facts:

Julia Child (*1912 † 2004) wasn’t a professional cook although she took some cooking lessons at the Cordon Bleu School in Paris when she found herself as a wife of a diplomat in Paris in 1949. During the next decade she worked very hard on how to test & present French recipes to the normal American housewife.

She managed – together w/ Louisette Berthold & Simone Beck – to assemble the 1st volume:

  • Vol 1: about 740 pages (finally published 1961).

The volume covers:

  • Basics like „Kitchen Equipment“, some elementary „Definitions“, „Ingredients“, „Measures“, „Temperatures“, „Cutting“ & „Wine”
  • Soups
  • Sauces
  • Eggs
  • Entrèes and Luncheon Dishes
  • Fish
  • Poultry
  • Meat
  • Vegetables
  • Cold Buffet
  • Desserts and Cakes.

A 2nd volume – this time only together w/ Simone Beck – followed:

  • Vol 2: about 630 pages (published in 1970).

The 2nd volume is just an extension of vol 1. Together w/ the launch of vol 2 there were some minor updates in vol 1 (don’t ask me for details!). Altogether you’ll find 781 recipes in the oeuvre (says the publisher – I didn’t check!).

However, you won’t find any photo! We’re back about 6 decades in time & then it wasn’t usual to do food photography for a cookbook. Instead you find some illustrations concerning kitchen equipment, techniques… So there are almost 1400 pages filled w/ text…

My impression of the volumes is that the recipes are fine (“No out-of-the-ordinary ingredients“ in a simple approach) & complete (“as detailed … so the reader will know exactly what is involved and how to go about it“ in a practical approach) & ready for cooking (pls refer to the citation at the beginning). There is some overall touch of feeling at home w/ the recipes: they are meant for someone in the ordinary private kitchen – maybe I feel like that because years ago during my 1st encounter w/ the French cuisine I felt lost in space afterwards.

 

For the record:
I was reading the oeuvres of Monsieur Bocuse & Monsieur Lenôtre which didn’t seem to be appropriate for a private kitchen of 2 people at all. Maybe that’s allow the deep reason why I’m not so fond of any „chef gods“ & their publications until now…

 

I really like to read Julia’s volumes, however, I only cook exactly after the recipes only on rare occasions. Most of the time I try to simplify – here & there –  for the sake of all fulltime working people who like home cooking. However, sometimes I stick to the original e. g. I tried „Boeuf Bourguignon“ – of course.
…it was just delicious!

 

My summary:
Enjoy reading, have fun w/ realizing some of the recipes at home & ask Julia whenever you need some detailed information for any approach when cooking.

… & last, but not least – the movie* & the divine Meryl Streep:

 

 

Don’t forget the other domestic goddesses (coming soon):

  • Delia Smith
  • Nigella Lawson
  • Mary Berry.

 

 

*All books/DVD are affiliate links to www.amazon.de (details Datenschutz).
Alle Bücher/DVD sind über affiliate links mit www.amazon.de verknüpft (s. a. Datenschutz).

 

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