Sunday, December 26, 2010

Mastering the Art of French Cooking (MtAoFC) Part 1

Everyone, or at least people my generation and before, have heard of Julia Child. Until recently I have never given her much thought. However, this year has brought be a new found respect for her in the form of my new favorite movie "Julie and Julia"

and a new favorite book "Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously" by Julie Powell.


So the day after Christmas I ventured out into the wild jungles of retail and now I am the proud owner of the two volume set of "Mastering the Art of French Cooking". This seminal work of Julia Child and her cohorts Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle changed the way Americans cook when it was first published in 1961. This newly revised, to include the invention of the food processor, is now one of my most prized possessions.


According to Julia, in the introduction to the Fortieth Anniversary Edition, "one of the most important requirements for learning how to cook is that you also learn how to eat. If you don't know how an especially fine dish is suppose to taste, how can you produce it? Just like becoming an expert in wine - you learn by drinking it, the best you can afford - you learn about great food by finding the best there is, whether simple or luxurious. Then you saver it, analyze it, and discuss it with your companions, and you compare it with other experiences."

Until this moment I have never considered that cooking could be my "thing". Ever since moving to this northern California valley town I have slowly been gaining back my cofidence in cooking that my father squashed so thoroughly with hurtful comments so long ago. My hope is to start this new year off right. Full of hope. I want to learn to be happy with what I have.

Part of this will be to start cooking my way through this famous cook book. I'm no Julie Powell and I don't have the same aspirations of making all the recipes in just one year. I just want to improve my cooking skills. I'm full of excitement for this new project to begin. Though I'm not sure where I'll find the time with all the other projects I have for my new year, but I'll try. So I'll leave you with this final thought from Julia.

"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!"

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