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Two legendary cooks invite us into their kitchen and show us the basics of good home cooking.
Julia Child and Jacques Pépin are synonymous with good food, and in these pages they demonstrate techniques (on which they don’t always agree), discuss ingredients, improvise, balance flavors to round out a meal, and conjure up new dishes from leftovers. Center stage are carefully spelled-out recipes flanked by Julia’s and Jacques’s comments—the accumulated wisdom of two lifetimes of honing their cooking skills. Nothing is written in stone, they imply. And that is one of the most important lessons for every good cook.
So sharpen your knives and join in the fun as you learn to make:
• Appetizers: from traditional and instant gravlax to your own sausage in brioche and a country pâté
• Soups: from New England chicken chowder and onion soup gratinée to Mediterranean seafood stew and that creamy essence of mussels, billi-bi
• Eggs: omelets and “tortillas”; scrambled, poached, and coddled eggs; eggs as a liaison for sauces and as the puffing power for soufflés
• Salads and Sandwiches: basic green and near-Niçoise salads; a crusty round seafood-stuffed bread, a lobster roll, and a pan bagnat
• Potatoes: baked, mashed, hash-browned, scalloped, souffléd, and French-fried
• Vegetables: the favorites from artichokes to tomatoes, blanched, steamed, sautéed, braised, glazed, and gratinéed
• Fish: familiar varieties whole and filleted (with step-by-step instructions for preparing your own), steamed en papillote, grilled, seared, roasted, and poached, plus a classic sole meunière and the essentials of lobster cookery
• Poultry: the perfect roast chicken (Julia’s way and Jacques’s way); holiday turkey, Julia’s deconstructed and Jacques’s galantine; their two novel approaches to duck
• Meat: the right technique for each cut of meat (along with lessons in cutting up), from steaks and hamburger to boeuf bourguignon and roast leg of lamb
• Desserts: crème caramel, profiteroles, chocolate roulade, free-form apple tart—as you make them you’ll learn all the important building blocks for handling dough, cooking custards, preparing fillings and frostings
• And much, much more . . .
Throughout this richly illustrated book you’ll see Julia’s and Jacques’s hands at work, and you’ll sense the pleasure the two are having cooking together, tasting, exchanging ideas, and raising a glass to savor the fruits of their labor. Again and again they demonstrate that cooking is endlessly fascinating and challenging and, while ultimately personal, it is a joy to be shared.
About the Author
Julia Child was born in Pasadena, California. She graduated from Smith College and worked for the OSS during World War II; afterward she lived in Paris, studied at the Cordon Bleu, and taught cooking with Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle, with whom she wrote the first volume of Mastering the Art of French Cooking (1961). In 1963, Boston’s WGBH launched The French Chef television series, which made Julia Child a national celebrity, earning her the Peabody Award in 1965 and an Emmy in 1966. Several public television shows and numerous cookbooks followed. She died in 2004.
Jacques Pépin is the author of twenty-one cookbooks, including the best-selling The Apprentice and the award-winning Jacques Pepin Celebrates and Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home (with Julia Child). He has appeared regularly on PBS programs for more than a decade, hosting over three hundred cooking shows. A contributing editor for Food & Wine, he is the dean of special programs at the French Culinary Institute in New York City. Before coming to the United States, he served as personal chef to three French heads of state.
“Julia Child paved the way for Chez Panisse and so many others by demystifying French food and by reconnecting pleasure and delight with cooking and eating at the table. She brought forth a culture of American ingredients and gave us all the confidence to cook with them in the pursuit of flavor.” —Alice Waters, Chez Panisse
“Julia is . . . the grande dame of cooking, who has touched all of our lives with her immense respect and appreciation of cuisine.” —Emeril Lagasse, Emeril’s Restaurant
“Julia has slowly but surely altered our way of thinking about food. She has taken the fear out of the term ‘haute cuisine.’ She has increased gastronomic awareness a thousandfold by stressing the importance of good foundation and technique, and she has elevated our consciousness to the refined pleasures of dining. Through the years her shows have kept me in rapt attention, and her humor has kept me in stitches. She is a national treasure, a culinary trendsetter, and a born educator beloved by all.” —Thomas Keller, The French Laundry
“Julia freed the American public from their fears of cooking French. By doing so, she greatly expanded the audience for all serious food writers. Her demystification prepared that public for the rest of us. I believe that the television shows based on that landmark book did even more to encourage reluctant cooks to try their hands . . . much to our benefit.” —Mimi Sheraton