“This is a book for the servantless American cook who can unconcerned on occasion with budgets, waistlines, time schedules, children’s meals, the parent-chauffeur-den mother syndrome, or anything else which might interfere with the enjoyment of producing something wonderful to eat.”
~From the Foreword of Mastering the Art of French Cooking
Since Julie & Julia came out on dvd, I’ve been itching to get my fingers on my own copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking. I thankfully got a copy for my wedding, and now that school is winding down a bit, I’m ready to dig in.
I kicked off the beginning of my adventure by reading Julie & Julia. For your info, I did not enjoy the book. It was not as charming as I expected. The movie was 100x better, but the book did excite me about making a few recipes from the cookbook.
After I finished reading Julie & Julia, I was ready to pull out the Book. I curled up on my bed and started reading. I was surprised that the first 75 pages had nothing to do with recipes. It is about equipment (which I’m missing most of), definitions (Matt was cracking up at my pronunciation of the French words. It was so much fun.), ingredients, measuring, temperature, cutting, wines, and two introduction. Just from reading those pages, I have realized that I learned a lot and have even more to learn from Julia.
Random Sidetrack Story (Feel free to skip)
Why It is bad for me to Read a Cookbook
By Michele Nielsen
It was our second week of being married. We had just returned from our honeymoon, and Matt was already back at work. School was not starting for another week, so I had a bit of time before school started. I did not know what to do. Our home was clean, everything unpacked, so I thought, “Huh, lets try out all my new kitchen stuff!”
I opened up my brand new copy of James Beard’s American Cookery and flipped through the book. I saw the bread section, and for some crazy reason I decided to make bread. At this point, I had only successfully made one batch of bread, but I must have thought with my new married status, I received homemaking super powers.
I flipped open to the bread section of the book and read…
"In 1857 Mrs. Sara Hale wrote in her huge cookbook, Receipts for the Millions: “To make good bread or to understand the process of making it is the duty of every woman; indeed an art that should never be neglected in the education of a lady. The lady derives her title from ‘dividing and distribution bread’; the more perfect the bread the more perfect the lady.”"
I read on to the recipe and then began to make it. I carefully measured everything and followed the recipe to a T. I even had a friend come over and supervise to make sure I did not do anything stupid. After I finished kneading it, my friend left -- fairly certain that I had avoided all disaster.
I set my timer and went to read a book. When I came back an hour later, the bread had not risen…at all. I was horrified!! (Normally I wouldn't even blink at messing up a recipe, but for some reason this was extra devastating.) I called Matt up almost in hysterics, “Honey, I’m the least perfect women ever!! Why did you marry me? I am such a failure. I’m so sorry.” (It was pretty pathetic.)
Matt was completely confused. We had only been married for two weeks, what could I possibly done that would make me so distressed? He calmed me down, and I explained to him what the book said and what had happened. He paused for a second before saying, “Did you let the water sit for a minute before adding it?”
“Uh...no. That wasn’t part of the directions.”
“That’s your problem.
has a lot of chlorine in the water. You gotta let it sit a while so it can flash off.” Provo
And that is why I married a chemist. He fixes everything, even water.
When he came home, he told me that I should stop reading sexist cookbooks, so I do not feel bad when something goes wrong.
Back to me reading Julia Child’s book, I remembered that reading things other than the recipes in the cookbook was not necessarily the best idea. I read it anyway and came up on the quote I put at the beginning. I laughed.
Unlike failing as a perfect woman, I had already disqualified myself for who can cook French Cooking. While I rocked at not having a servant and we do not have kids, I do have a waistline I would like to keep, along with time schedule and a strict budget. I pointed this out to Matt, and he reminded me not to read cookbooks again. I figured even without meeting Julia’s requirements, I was going to give this a try.
Today I made the first recipe! Potage Parmentier (aka. Leek and Potato Soup).
It was easy, cheap, and yummy. I'm happy with it.
Booyah for the first recipe checked off...500 and something to go? (I not sure, if I'm going to make all the gross stuff)