Need to shell an egg? Try doing it Julia’s way

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The Book

Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom: Essential techniques and Recipes from a lifetime of cooking

Author(s)

Julia Child with David Nussbaum

Year

2005

What it says on the back cover

Once you have mastered a technique, you hardly need to look at a recipe again

The perfect vinaigrette is so easy to make that I see no reason whatsoever for bottled dressings

Meats, poultry, and fish – each dish is unique but so many of them cook in almost the same way

When you serve fine, fresh green vegetables, you want to show off their color

It behooves us to choose eggs carefully and to treat them right

When you have mastered a number of frostings and fillings, cake making becomes just an assembly job.

What made me pick up this book?

Years ago I recall watching a lady on the television with a rather odd accent that I could not quite work out  but the food that she made seemed simple and straight forward that looked good enough to  for me to eat and make.

I enjoyed watching her as she would hold the the wings up of a goose and how she would liberally fill the bird with what sounded like a very tasty stuffing.  Much later I read one of her earlier books “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” which she co wrote with two other women. I thought the food sounded great but as it wasn’t my book, I carefully turned the page and read some of the best recipes for French food. Taking note of some of the dishes and hoping I may come across a book of hers of my own.

About the book

This book is filled with many different approaches to cooking much in the way that Terence Conran (read my review on the Conran cookbook) describes how to prepare food. For over 4o years Julia Child (who l later discovered was an American who trained in Cordon Bleu in France) offered practical advice to many a housewife or foodie.  Her cooking became infamous as  did that voice of hers and over the years Julia’s cooking became more refined as she discovered new ways of dealing with problems in the kitchen that could be easily solved and being put together in this one book.

If there is one Julia Child book you should buy, this should be it. It is modern as it is fresh. Julia kept up with trends of cooking and gave us a modern twist to some of our old and trusted favourite foods. Divided into seven sections- Soups and Two Mother Sauces, Salads and their dressings, Vegetables, Meats, Poultry and Fish, Egg Cookery. Breads, Crepes and Tarts, Cakes and Cookies.
The recipes from this cookbook come from an assortment of her various cookbooks that she wrote  over the years. Perhaps this could have been also titled Julia Child’s Concise Recipe book.

Is this book worth buying?

This is  a very good all round book for any cook and would make an ideal book for a novice who is just learning. Solutions to everyday problems can be found including the most informative description I have found to shell an egg perfectly (which apparently came from the State of Georgia Egg Board) to creating an Eggplant pizza.

Although some recipes and techniques may be taxing for some cooks, Julia’s aim was perhaps to teach how to do things the correct way, rather than cut corners and take shortcuts in our cooking. Once we have mastered these, she is correct in saying may never need to look at another recipe again and although Julia is no longer with us today, her memory and her love for food lives on in the hearts of many who remember her as the one of our earliest domestic goddesses and her legacy lives on.

Julia died in Santa Barbara, California, USA in 2005, making this her last cookbook. The photographs were taken by her husband Paul.

Five stars

“The versatile poached egg! Serve it hot in an artichoke cup or crowned  with bearnaise atop a tenderloin steak, or glittering in aspic, or gracing a curly endive salad, or buried in a souffle, or dressed as a Benedict or simply sitting in a warm crisp, buttery piece of toast for breakfast. It’s a graceful oval, whose white is softly set and whose yolk is thickly liquid” (Child, 2005).
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2 thoughts on “Need to shell an egg? Try doing it Julia’s way

  1. As a kid in the U.S. I, too, remember watching reruns of Julia, the chef with the kooky voice on PBS. As an adult I read her (auto)biography “My Life in France” and loved it. I read the whole thing cover to cover on one flight from L.A. to Europe. This cookbook seems like the perfect accompaniment to her biography and my own kitchen. Thanks for bringing it to my attention! Funny story, her favorite Mexican restaurant in Santa Barbara was a taco stand with limited seating. When I ate there it made me laugh. The place was so simple and the food so good. She was so down to earth. It made me like her even more!
    –Alicia Bien

    1. Thank you for stopping by Alicia 🙂 It was her voice that grabbed my attention at first as I was not sure exactly where she came from and was very surprised to hear that she was an American. I must see if I can find her autobiography that you mentioned as it was great to see the film Julie and Julia when it came out. Her Mexican restaurant sounds great, how lucky you are to have gone there. I agree she seemed very down to earth and not phased by her success as a cookery author and chef. I am sure that she would have been a great role model to many aspiring foodie and chef in the United States and beyond. I was very happy when I found this book at a Book sale in perfect condition.

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