This is a companion volume to the PBS series of the same name. An obviously very generous friend of mine gave this autographed copy to me as a gift, and it's one of the best cookbooks I own. Mr. Pépin and Ms. Child offer complementary recipes for appetizers, soups, salads, main courses, desserts -- sometimes two interpretations of the same dish, other times two different recipes for the same ingredient. Comments from Julia and Jacques about process, technique, and so forth (every now and then they disagree with one another) flank the recipes -- Julia's perspective to the left of the page, Jacques to the right.
One of the book's strengths is the amount of basic cooking knowledge
imparted (these two know quite a bit!), with how-to photo-demos for
cutting meats; filleting fish; trussing and carving chickens; making
everything from galantines to gravlax. The recipes are written in
easy-to-follow fashion, but these are not one-pot, dinner-in-minutes
instructions; the meals to be reproduced are sophisticated and often
require some semblance of kitchen skills. But...the theme of the book
is that recipes needn't be strictly followed, and J & J cook up
loads of ideas for preparing each dish. There are 150 recipes and 328
color photos issued throughout the 448 pages.
Plus you can't go wrong with the inimitable Julia Child and her unique
perspectives, such as this rather famous one on roasting chicken: "Not
everything I do with my roast chicken is necessarily scientific. For
instance, I always give my bird a generous butter massage before I put
it in the oven. Why? Because I think the chicken likes it -- and, more
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important, I like to give it."
The book lists for $40, but you can pick up a new hardcover for less on Amazon -- which ranks this book at number 17,385 (a new record-high for the cookbooks in our series).
Tomorrow: A recipe apiece from Julia and Jacques for Tomatoes Provençale.
Julia and Jacques Cooking At Home
Published by Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.
Photographs by Christopher Hirsheimer
Copyright A La Carte Communications