I bought this book for myself several years ago. It seemed like I should add it to my collection of Julia Child's cookbooks. It's easy to make the case that this is one of the most important cookbooks ever written. It's publication changed the course of America's relationship with food.
Julia Child published more than a dozen cookbooks. This was the first. It's a how to on some of the most traditional French dishes. The instructions go into great detail and many of them are lengthy dishes to make. They don't come together quickly, yet each one I have made has been well worth the effort and time.
If you're a Julia Child fan like I am, this book is worth adding to your collection merely for the historical significance. I don't think that it is a stretch to say that the publication of this book changed the face of publishing, food writing, and blazed a path for women all in the same stroke. It's iconic in every sense of the word.
If you do add this cookbook to your collection, I hope that you'll take the words from the foreword to heart, "Anyone can cook in the French manner anywhere, with the right instruction." This is your "right instruction" in the words of Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle, and Simone Beck.
I also hope that you'll plan to make the legendary Boeuf Bourguignon on page 315 on a chilly winter's day. It's the recipe that convinced a young Judith Jones (another legendary woman in the food writing world) that this book which had been passed on by other publishers and editors needed to be published and shared with the world. Without it, Julia might have given up, might have stopped writing recipes at her typewriter altogether. What a loss that would have been.
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