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Mastering the Art of French Cuisine: Most Pivotal Recipes?

post #1 of 7
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I've ben asked to do a Julia Child series based on Mastering the Art of French Cuisine (quelle surprise!). Julia has always been my hero and I have my own favourites, but I'm curious to know what are your favourites from that book and why? Which recipes are pivotal and essential? Which ones changed your gastro-life? Which are most fun to you?
post #2 of 7
The only ones that I can point to as specific life improvements ;) are the chocolate mousse (vol 1, page 604) and the Reine de Saba (vol 1, page 677). Which is kind of funny, because I've never been much of a dessert person. Otherwise, it was just the instructions and the confidence she instilled. It meant that when I went to culinary school many, many years later, I already knew a lot of the vocabulary and techniques, because she had explained them all thoroughly.
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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post #3 of 7
Julia Child? Who's that? She wrote a book?

After my wife and I saw the movie recently and I've talked about it to some folks, I've been in the somewhat embarrasing position of having to admit I don't have a copy of this book.

But I was at Lowes getting some hardware the other day, they almost have thier Christmas displays fully finished. Maybe a few hints in the wife's ears will yield some results.


mjb.
Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
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Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
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post #4 of 7
I'm with Suzanne- the Reine de Saba cake. It's not beyond a home cook's ability. The length of some of the directions is daunting for some in this new world where so many people's attention quotient hits a new low with every new cell phone app.

One of these days I'll gird my loins (so to speak) and take on the puff pastry recipe.

Good luck, Anneke!

Mezz
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post #5 of 7
Speaking as a home cook, whose abilities improve exponentially every time I read Julia's books....

Most essential recipe---how to make an omelette. Also loved her omelette show from her PBS French Chef series (I have the DVD collection).

Most pivotal (for me) recipe---her variations on charlottes, including how to make ladyfingers. I had struggled with charlottes for a while, until I rediscovered Julia's instructions.

Mezz and Suzanne, the Reine de Saba cake is also included on one of the DVD's from her French Chef series. I'll have to try that next.
post #6 of 7
For me it's the simple things like chicken breast with cream (p268) and it's variations. Or braised onions. I can make a bechamel suace in my sleep, I've done it so mant times but there's something about following Julia's instructions that makes it special.
post #7 of 7
Yes, I agree with you all. And the reine de saba was a discovery, and especially the butter/chocolate frosting - a butter ganache i guess. I put that on brownies at christmas and cut them in small diamonds and people think it's an extremely refined cake. The frozen saint cyr is amazing, though I make it as just ice cream, the creamiest ever, and no crystals despite the fact that you don;t have to stir it while it freezes.
Quiche, quiche crusts, in particular, and oh yes, all the soups - cream of spinach with the rice blended in to give it thickness but also texture, pumpkin soup, fish soup, the simple and the more elegant mushroom, the potato soups, hot (celestine) and cold (vichysoise), ONION soup (!) and others i can;t remember (hmm, will have to get back into soups - this is making me hungry).
BRAISED BELGIAN ENDIVE! which can then become also the base for a quiche.

I must admit that i am rarely inclined to cook French, and if i have to do a chicken I won;t do it her way, neither the fricassee all'ancienne nor the roast chicken as she does it. Not a particular fan of stewed foods and I prefer my own recipes.
But just reading her recipes teaches you so much technique that you can apply and reapply (like peeling broccoli stems so they cook evenly and not too much) and watching her chop made me understand the trick and i could and still can chop and slice faster than most household machines.

Julia Child, the best.
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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