On My Shelf: Mastering the Art of French Cooking Volume 1

Recently I’ve noticed more and more people are asking me for cookbook recommendations because I bake and cook a lot. Which is true. I always have a recommendation – so my lovely and wonderful Big Sister asked me to start posting quick reviews here. I’m starting with Julia because she is one of my personal heroes and she is the reason that I challenge myself in the kitchen.

I’m starting with Mastering the Art of French Cooking because it is THE cookbook to have in your kitchen if you are only going to have one or two. You can learn everything from how to coddle an egg to what happens when you break a hollandaise from this illuminating book. Though mostly credited to Julia Child it was also assisted along be Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle (though if you read My Life in France you can see just how much of the book Louisette actually wrote). I have been cooking from this book for a very long time (My mom owned a copy and I remember flipping through it when I thought the whole book large) and always find it useful – from key illustrations in things like trussing a chicken to well written instructions this book is a great glimpse into the world of French food. Even if you’re not a cook you should read it for gorgeous illustrations and engaging writing. It is a book that talks to you like a friend sharing their favorite recipe. Everything is presented in an unpretentious and thoughtful way that is easily digestible and logically laid-out. A must read for any food aficionado and a must have for any home cook, because is their anything more magical than boeuf bourguignon on a cold winter night? My favorite recipes from Mastering the Art of French Cooking are Boeuf Bourguignon, Mayonnaise, Hollandaise, and Crepes.

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