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Julia Child


Gourmet Living

A gourmet is a person who is knowledgeable in fine food and drink.

Julia Child


Cooking with Julia Child the best known cook.




Baking With Julia: Based on the Pbs Series Hosted by Julia Child

Television cooking shows are occasionally moderately entertaining to watch, but as sources for usable recipes and good cooking ideas, they are hit or miss at best. Cookbooks based on cooking shows are even less likely to be useful in the kitchen. One shining exception is Julia Child's "Master Chef" series. One of the best cooking shows ever produced, it also yielded some wonderful cookbooks, including Cooking With Master Chefs. The latest is Baking With Julia, which features the creations of 26 top bakers. All are artists with flour, eggs, butter, and the other ingredients of their craft. Writer Dorie Greenspan is a master at her craft as well. The paste for eclairs, she writes, is transformed from "ordinary-looking batter" into "a puffed pastry that appears to be threatening flight." It's all definitely good enough to eat.


The Way to Cook

With The Way to Cook, Julia Child creates a second culinary classic. Her first, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, introduced a generation of those used to preparing simple fare to what was then considered gourmet food, demystified classic techniques, and raised our culinary consciousness. In The Way to Cook, she also demystifies cooking techniques and does some consciousness-raising. This time, though, she speaks to everyone with little or no experience in the kitchen, which is most people these days. Always in tune with the moment, and ever the gracious realist, Child (although calling her Julia seems reasonable since she treats us with such open informality) explains in The Way to Cook how to boil an egg and stuff it, as well as how to make a perfect omelet and an elegant soufflé.

To help out readers who lack the most basic knowledge, she organizes the book by techniques rather than by ingredients. Soups are first, a relatively unintimidating choice to build confidence through delicious results such as true French Onion Soup and a contemporary Black Bean Gazpacho. Next come breads, updated to use a food processor to cut the kneading time. The fish chapter covers broiling a salmon steak and creating a sophisticated Crown Mousse of Trout. Chapters on poultry, meats, vegetables, and desserts are equally ample and wide-ranging.

When The Way to Cook was published in 1989, it accompanied a television series. A related set of videotapes, the first to teach cooking comprehensively, was offered simultaneously. However, more than 600 color photos in this book make it fully complete on its own.

The Way to Cook is a good reference volume, a useful gift, and a handsome way to follow Julia's career as she transformed from a French classicist to the ever-evolving, always clear and reliable teacher we have come to adore. --Dana Jacobi


Julia's Kitchen Wisdom : Essential Techniques and Recipes from a Lifetime of Cooking

What would you give to see the notes Julia Child keeps in her handwritten loose-leaf kitchen reference guide? Your wish is granted! This clever little volume was inspired by Child's notebook, compiled from her own "trials, remedies, and errors."

Organized by large category and technique, it's a very handy reference guide for anyone reasonably comfortable in the kitchen. Each section contains a master recipe followed by variations. The emphasis is on technique, so if you occasionally find yourself trying to remember at what temperature to best roast a duck, the best way to cook green beans and keep them green, or how to save your hollandaise, then this is the book for you. And what good is a reference guide without an index? As always, Child comes to our rescue with a fantastic, comprehensive index, 19 pages long for 107 pages of text, so we can find the answers to life's burning questions in a flash.

Part of what makes Julia Child such an icon is that she can describe a complicated dish, and in the next breath convince us to make it. Classic Chocolate Mousse, Sabayon, Scalloped Potatoes Savoyarde, and Butterflied Leg of Lamb sound manageable when they follow recipes for Roast Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, and Scrambled Eggs. And with Child's help, they are. "Quick, snappy answers" for both basic and complicated cooking questions make this a work we'll never outgrow. And if Julia can use a cheat sheet, so can we! Fans of Child will love that her personality shows through in comments like, "Don't crowd the pan... or you'll be sorry," and, to introduce her Basic Vinaigrette Dressing, "I use the proportions of a very dry martini." Eight pages of photos taken by her husband, Paul, including one of Child with the famous dancing goose, make this even more of a treasure.

If there is anyone qualified to offer kitchen wisdom, it must be Julia Child. After a lifetime of cooking and teaching, her knowledge is a perfect gift for fans, novices, or anyone responsible for putting dinner on the table every night. --Leora Y. Bloom


From Julia Child's Kitchen

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In Julia's Kitchen with Master Chefs

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Julia's Menus for Special Occasions : Six menus for special celebrations--from a cocktail party to a buffet dinner.

Julia Child dishes up more helpful cooking tricks in Julia's Menus for Special Occasions, the second in her four-part retelling of Julia Child and Company and Julia Child and More Company. Like its predecessor, Julia's Delicious Little Dinners, this book centers around six meals. But this time, Julia tackles some of the real challenges of entertaining, such as serving a fancy dinner to vegetarians, making an impressive meal when you don't know how many guests are coming, and feeding dieters. Some of Julia's suggestions border on lifestyle choices. For example, when throwing a cocktail party, she suggests "more cheer for fewer people"--lots of food (served in the kitchen, to promote a casual atmosphere), lots of wine, and not too much booze. Ample color photos make even complex dishes such as Ham Pithviers--homemade puff pastry with ham filling--seem possible (if a bit ambitious for a cocktail party). It's a special occasion indeed when the average home cook will set aside a weekend to make cassoulet, but just reading Julia's recipe is mouthwatering fun. With tips on shopping, presentation, cleaning up, and leftovers, Julia offers graceful solutions to daunting party problems. --David Kalil


Julia's Delicious Little Dinners : Six perfect small dinner parties to share with family and friends.

Having a dinner party? Want to kick it old school? Julia Child's Julia's Delicious Little Dinners might just be the cookbook to help it all come together. Built around six dinners for six, this is not one of Julia Child's encyclopedic volumes on cooking. Instead, it's a lesson in menu planning--Julia lays out menus for different occasions, seasons, and tastes, carefully describing the entire process of planning a meal. Whether you're cooking roast beef for the boss or having rabbit and leek pie with friends, this book is ready to assist with whimsical suggestions on wine, presentation, and the pacing of courses. With an abundance of large pieces of meat and quaint little garnishes, the fare here leans toward the traditional. Julia's inclusion of dishes like Chicken Livers in Aspic seems refreshingly archaic in this era of "fusion cuisine." Nonetheless, the beautiful and very helpful technical photographs (depicting everything from butchering beef rib roasts to cleaning a leek) will dispel any doubt that this is a contemporary cookbook for the adept home cook. --David Kalil


Julia Child: Home Cooking With Master Chefs

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Julia's Casual Dinners : Seven glorious menus for informal occasions

For elegant food for informal occasions, try Julia's Casual Dinners, the third volume in her four-part retelling of Julia Child and Company and Julia Child and More Company. But don't let the term casual fool you. These meals are only relaxed in relation to Child's other food; the dishes here are not necessarily easy, cheap, or quick to prepare. For example, the picnic menu includes pâté en croute, which is expensive, time consuming, and must be made at least a day in advance. A picnic, however, is a casual occasion--and what a picnic it is! Child's basket contains a layered gazpacho salad, a fish terrine (in three layers with salmon, sole, scallops, and watercress), fresh vegetables, cheeses, three kinds of bread, spice cookies, and the above-mentioned pâté. Not all the menus are so ornate, however; the "Informal Dinner" of asparagus tips in puff pastry, veal roast, and sautéed spinach and zucchini seems simple by comparison. As usual, Child has suggestions that make intimidating entertaining appear possible, if not downright easy. For example, her "Buffet for 19" is carefully scripted, from when preparations should begin down to the location of the oyster bar and the timing of each course. Informal dining Julia Child-style may be a bit ambitious for some, but these meals will delight (no matter what your definition of casual is). --David Kalil


Julia's Breakfasts, Lunches, and Suppers : Seven menus for the three main meals

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Julia Child's Cooking Essentials

Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home is the companion volume to Julia Child and Jacques Pepin's new PBS series of the same name. The setup works like this: the two opinionated TV cooks confront different ingredients on each show, then make their way through to the finished dishes that make up a meal. The recipes reveal themselves along the way.

What's most important here--and it shows up in the cookbook--is that there is no one way to cook. The point of the book isn't to follow recipes, but to cook from the suggestions. And Julia and Jacques have many, many suggestions when it comes to home cooking in the French style. And many tips, for that matter.

On the other hand, sometimes you want some rules. And that's where Julia's The Way to Cook comes in. Julia blends classic techniques with common-sense American cooking for a wonderfully instructive volume. Once her master recipe is conquered, cooks can employ the techniques learned in a number of variations. We've put both books together for a terrific gift set that will thrill cooks (and particularly Julia Child fans) of every level. Give this to your sister-in-law and then wait for the dinner invitations to start rolling in.

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