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review 2016-08-28 12:46
Anyone Can Learn From This
Perfect French Country Cooking - Anne Willan

As far as French Country Cooking goes this is a great book for someone new to the cuisine. Anne Willan has created a library of how-to cookbooks that make cooking new dishes easier by using clear language and lots of explanatory pictures. For example, the Terrine de Champagne in other books seems overwhelming and so flippin’ complicated but I was able to let two teenagers take the lead and make us a darn good appetizer for our picnic. The Cassoulet with Quick Confit was tasty enough that the French family we invited were content. We also tested the Gratin de Racines D’Hiver, it was outstanding! Another plus with this book and the entire series are the “Variations”. Most of the recipes have alternatives because honestly in the real world do we all have duck on hand. Well, I mean besides me. We normally skip the dessert section in cookbooks but they wanted to try to make the alternative Clafoutis aux Prunes instead of with cherries. The pictures gave them confidence.  We had a wonderful end to out meal. I gifted the book to the twins teens and I know I’ll be well fed when I visit them. 

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review 2016-05-13 23:34
My Life in France
My Life in France - Julia Child,Alex Prud'Homme
Mastering the Art of French Cooking - Julia Child,Simone Beck,Louisette Bertholle
Julie and Julia : 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen - Julie Powell

From Goodreads: In her own words, here is the captivating story of Julia Child’s years in France, where she fell in love with French food and found ‘her true calling.’

From the moment the ship docked in Le Havre in the fall of 1948 and Julia watched the well-muscled stevedores unloading the cargo to the first perfectly soigné meal that she and her husband, Paul, savored in Rouen en route to Paris, where he was to work for the USIS, Julia had an awakening that changed her life. Soon this tall, outspoken gal from Pasadena, California, who didn’t speak a word of French and knew nothing about the country, was steeped in the language, chatting with purveyors in the local markets, and enrolled in the Cordon Bleu.

After managing to get her degree despite the machinations of the disagreeable directrice of the school, Julia started teaching cooking classes herself, then teamed up with two fellowgourmettes, Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle, to help them with a book they were trying to write on French cooking for Americans. Throwing herself heart and soul into making it a unique and thorough teaching book, only to suffer several rounds of painful rejection, is part of the behind-the-scenes drama that Julia reveals with her inimitable gusto and disarming honesty.

Filled with the beautiful black-and-white photographs that Paul loved to take when he was not battling bureaucrats, as well as family snapshots, this memoir is laced with wonderful stories about the French character, particularly in the world of food, and the way of life that Julia embraced so wholeheartedly. Above all, she reveals the kind of spirit and determination, the sheer love of cooking, and the drive to share that with her fellow Americans that made her the extraordinary success she became.

Le voici. Et bon appétit!



I don't remember a time in my life where I didn't have at least a rudimentary sense of who Julia Child was, yet, I have no idea how. I don't remember my Mom watching Julia's cooking shows on television when I was growing up. I certainly know that Mastering the Art of French Cooking was not one of the (many) cooking books my Mom had around the house. But Julia Child had that presence. You didn't have to actively watch or read her to know who she was. 


Then, when I was in my 20's I read Julie and Julia (which annoyed me) and saw the movie which was actually pretty enjoyable (RIP Nora Ephron). It was the movie that piqued my curiosity of who Julia Child was.


I loved My Life in France. I had no idea what to expect. Maybe an entire memoir related to the kitchen? That was my best guest...but to my joy, My Life in France was so much more. It was Julia. It was her before she even picked up a spoon. It was her during her time at Cordon Blu, and it was her with her soul mate, Paul Child. I absolutely fell in love with her in reading My Life in France. She was such a personality.


I probably will never pick up a copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking...hell, I've never even been to a French restaurant but it did give me the courage to do more in the kitchen at work. While I was in the middle of reading this, I was tasked with cooking up a turkey breast at work. I have never made anything like that, but I asked myself...what would Julia do and found decent directions and cooked that bird. Granted...Julia probably would have slathered the thing in butter-and I choose a healthier olive oil, but still...Julia Child came to my rescue.

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review 2014-02-04 03:15
Julie and Julia
Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously - Julie Powell

This was both what I expected and not what I expected based on what I heard about the book when it came out and then again when the movie version came out.  I expected it to be about a woman who was a confirmed foodie who loved Julia Child’s cooking and decided to try making all of the recipes in one of Julia’s cookbooks at the woman’s home in a year. What I didn’t expect was she had no real interest in cooking in general beforehand and certainly not in cooking anything as complex as the recipes in Julia’s Mastering French Cooking.  I’m not even sure I can definitely say why Julie Powell started the project in the first place, even after listening to her book.  She was having a crisis of …. what?  Sort of a can’t figure out what to do with my life kind of crisis, I think.


Julie Powell had just found out that she has polycystic ovary syndrome, and so her doctor recommended having a child soon if she was going to.  She was working as a secretary temp at a government agency in New Jersey even though she and her husband had moved to New York originally for her to try to be an actress.  She was going to turn thirty in just a few months.  Suffice it to say, she felt her life had gone nowhere really in her twenty-nine years on earth.  So she stole her mother’s cookbook and decided to cook each recipe in the next year.  There seems to be no real purpose to this except to accomplish it.  Which she did but not without lots of drama as would be expected in a kitchen as crummy as hers and without any more cooking expertise than she had.


I admire that she persevered through this project when I would never have done so.  For one thing, those of us who do not live in large cities would have had a heck of a time finding some of the ingredients.  Even Julie had a hard time with some of them and she was shopping in New York.  Plus the time involved in making most of the recipes is way, way beyond what I am willing to spend.  I also admire her husband for his understanding and support given the expense as well as hours the recipes took.  My husband would not be that understanding, nor would I if the shoes were reversed (so no criticism of my husband at all here).  Plus she blogged about all of this as she did it, so kudos to her for all the time spent on the project.  I can tell she is not a reader as I am, or she would never have given up all that time she could have been reading to cook. 


I have to wonder how interesting the movie is since I enjoyed the book but not enough to see a two hour movie about the same.  I’m quite sure Julia Child must play a much larger role in the movie than she does in the book since in the book she is only talked about.  Overall the book was enjoyable if you like memoirs and cooking.  I listened to the audiobook in which Julie Powell is the narrator, and she does a good job especially when relating the frustrating parts of the food prep.  I learned one thing about French pronunciation.  I have always pronounced crepe as rhyming with drape, but the French pronounce it as rhyming with step.  And so that is how Julie says it which was very weird until I looked it up.  I’ll stick with the English pronunciation I think.

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review 2011-11-25 00:00
Love, God, and the Art of French Cooking
Love, God, And The Art Of French Cooking - James F. Twyman When author James Twyman takes his new lady friend to a bed and breakfast, he expects to start a more serious relationship. What he doesn't expect is that she will get mad at him, take the car and desert him. Nor does he expect to learn so much while sitting in the kitchen with B&B owner Roger Dufau while that gentleman cooks.Yet, that's exactly what happens. Twyman learns lessons about life and food in the process, as he discovers Dufau is a philosopher as well as a chef.The book shows us Twyman's personal growth as he decides to remain at the B&B rather than go home immediately. Under Dufau's tutelage, he learns a great deal about what he has been seeking ... and no small amount about food.Having experienced a similar journey as I took up French cookery, I was entertained and moved by this book. Highly recommended -- and not just for people who are interested in food.(Review based on uncorrected advance proof.)(Readers who would like to investigate my own journey with French cooking and life lessons are invited to check out 2010 Hindsight: A Year of Personal Growth, In Spite of Myself.)
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review 2010-03-28 00:00
On Rue Tatin: Living and Cooking in a French Town
On Rue Tatin: Living and Cooking in a French Town - Susan Herrmann Loomis Another moving-and-starting-over book, this one set in a French town in Normandy. Loomis, her husband, and her young son buy a convent and convert it into a home.French things I learned from this book: One must, at times, be quite stern with the French in order to make a point; amazing recipes; fresh food is everywhere; more French words.
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