Mastering The Art of French Cooking - Julia Child
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Mastering the Art of French Cooking is a two-volume French cookbook written by American Julia Child, and Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle both of France. The book was written for the American market and published by Knopf in 1961 (Volume 1) and 1970 (Volume 2).
The book was the result of a collaboration among the three authors (as well as illustrator Sidonie Coryn and Child's husband Paul) and the impetus for Child's long and successful career as one of the pioneering television chefs. Originally published in 1961 after some early difficulties (which are recounted in great detail in Julia Child's memoirs My Life in France as well as Child's introduction to the 2003 edition), Mastering volume 1 (ISBN 0-375-41340-5) was a broad survey of French flavors and techniques, and grew out of the work the three women had done for their Paris cooking school, "L'École des trois gourmandes" (whose logo Child wore as a badge throughout the production of her first TV series, The French Chef); volume 2 (ISBN 0-394-40152-2), released in 1970, expanded on certain topics of interest that had not been covered as completely as the three had planned to in the first volume (particularly baking and charcuterie). Taken together, the two volumes are considered one of the most influential works in American cookbook history, and Child in particular has long been accorded near-universal respect in the cooking world, in part due to these books' influence.
Volume 1 covers the basics of French cooking, striking as much of a balance as possible between the complexities of haute cuisine and the practicalities of the American home cook. Traditional favorites like boeuf bourguignon, bouillabaisse, and cassoulet are featured, as are extensive instructions on how to prepare vegetables in a manner more appetizing than the practices of the American kitchen of the 1960s. This volume has been through many printings and has been reissued twice with revisions, first in 1983 with updates for changes in kitchen practice (especially the food processor), and then in 2003 as a 40th anniversary edition with an introduction giving a history of the book.
Some classic French baking is also included, but baking got a much more thorough treatment in Volume 2, which was published in 1970 after Bertholle had gone on to other projects. Also covered is breadmaking, which Child and Beck studied under Professor Raymond Calvel, at the time one of France's recognized experts on bread, and charcuterie. Coryn's illustrations in the second volume were built on photography work done by Paul Child.