Mastering The Art of French Cooking

Who is Mastering the Art of French Cookery For?

Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cookery appeals to both the experienced cook and the complete beginner. It is very much a French cookery book 'translated' for the American audience. You will soon be mastering French recipes with complete confidence.

Sometimes when we think of French cuisine we just see it as 'difficult'. Mastering the Art of French Cookery was one of the first cookbooks to really break down the barriers and make the American cooking pubic aware that this really was something we could do in our own homes.

It is amazing to think that the book was first published in 1961. And now this classic French cookery book is enjoying a whole new audience with the release of the new movie Julie and Julia staring Meryl Streep.

This fully revised Mastering the Art of French Cookery brings the classic cook book up to date so that it is relevant for the modern American kitchen. Much more than just a book with French recipes in it this is a true cookery class.

The new version is a whopping 752 pages. The art of cooking is for many a lost art with cookery classes being rare in schools and our modern lifestyle has lead many to think that cooking just isn't for them or they don't have time to make a meal from scratch. This book truly dispels that myth and provides a great grounding for both the beginner and experienced cook.

Julia Child takes you from buying ingredients, to the technique of cooking to the finished product. One thing that is really good about this updated version is that the book explains how to substitute ingredients for things that you actually will find in your grocery store. This is accessible French cookery which anyone can do.

The explanations for each recipe are detailed and easy to follow. Mastering the Art of French Cookery really does achieve what it sets out to. Anyone from beginner to more experienced will find this is a recipe book that they will use again and again - and it may just change the way you think about the art of preparing meals.

Julia Child Cookery Show

Julia Child

Julia Child was born in Pasedena California on August 15th 1912. She went to Smith College and graduated with a bachelors degree in English. She moved to New York and worked in publishing and advertising.

After the bombing of Pearl Harbor she joined the Office of Strategic Services. The OSS was the forerunner of the CIA. Julia Child herself revealed in her 2002 autobiography that she was involved She was posted to Sri Lanka and China. Amongst other duties Julia worked on a project to perfect a shark repellant to stop sharks exploding underwater mines. Ultimately she worked for the OSS chief General William J Donovan. Was Julia Child a spy? Well she worked for an organization which was set up to gather intelligence. Perhaps we ought to leave it to our own imagination as to whether or not she can be given the title of spy! Some of the detail of the work of the OSS was revealed in 2008 but the works of this secret organization are largely still shrouded in secrecy.

She married Paul child in 1946 whom she had met whilst working in Sri Lanka. He joined the United States Foreign Service and they were posted to Paris - therefore the French connection began. Julia studied at the Le Cordon Bleu culinary school and learnt the art of French cookery from the very finest in France.

Julia met Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle who were writing a French cookery book tailored towards the American cook. It took more than a decade of work before The Art of Mastering French Cookery was published for the first time in 1961.

The French cook book written for American was a huge success and has become part of cooking history.

The popularity of the book lead to television fame with The French Chef airing from 1963. Several more television series followed including Coking With Master Chefs, and Baking With Julia.

Julia Child lived out the final years of her retirement in Santa Barbara California. She died on August 13 2004 aged 91.

Meryl Streep in Julie and Julia

Julie and Julia The Movie

Julie and Julia was released on August 2009 staring Meryl Streep and Amy Adams. The movie is based on Julia Child's book My LIfe in France.

The movie contrasts and follows the lives of Julia Child and Julie Powell the blogger who began to document online her quest to make all of the 524 recipes in Mastering the Art of French Cooking. An intriguing idea for a movie - the first one to be released based around a blog. Julie and Julia has opened to mostly positive reviews.

Julie and Julia Staring Meryl Streep

Mastering the Art of French Cookery Volume 2

Often sequels and second books can be disappointing but this is not the case with Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cookery Volume Two. This cookery book enhances Volume 1 and provides even more detailed recipes with easy to follow instructions. 

A particularly good feature of Volume 2 is the excellent chapter on baking and pastry. The dessert section is very tempting too - particularly the chocolate truffles.

French Cookery - Is It Healthy?

Julia Childs can be credited with bringing the art of French cookery to the American public. Still today remains the myth that French cookery is in some way difficult or unhealthy because of it's use of butter and cream. But isn't this really missing the point? You may have heard the phrase The French Paradox. This is the so called paradox that whilst the French diet is high in saturated fat their incidence of heart disease is low.

There are many possible scientific explanations. The French lifestyle, consumption of red wine,and the low consumption of trans fat and hydrogenated fat in the French diet. Of course the proper examination of this subject needs rather more than this limited space - but the point is not to be put of the concept of French cookery simply because of it's use of butter and cream. The French eat well in general as a nation. The preparation and eating of fine cuisine is a way of life for the French, and it most certainly can be in the United States. Particularly when we have Julia Child's cook books and other excellent French cookery books to guide us.

But perhaps we should really think of this. Julia Child died just 2 days short of her 92nd birthday. She was obviously doing something right with her diet!

Have you used Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking? 5 comments

Uninvited Writer profile image

Uninvited Writer 7 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario

What an excellent hub! I love Julia Child. I'm going to see Julie and Julia on Friday. It looks great.

Julia Child was such a great lady and what a character :)

Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

My husband and I just saw the movie yesterday and enjoyed it. We have had her original book for 30 + years and have used some of the recipes. Great and timely idea for a hub on Julia Child's life.

Smireles profile image

Smireles 7 years ago from Texas

Great hub! I have been Julia Child for more years than I care to remember. My cookbook collection was acquired directly as a result of her impact on my life.

Pamela Laird profile image

Pamela Laird 7 years ago

Great up--saw the movie and loved it!!

deerinheadlights profile image

deerinheadlights 7 years ago from deep in the heart of Texas

very informative, as I am now obsessed with Julia (see my hub). What an awesome lady Julia was. I am awaiting this cookbook in the mail and was glad to read your review.

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