Manzanillo Sun article

Mastering the Art of French Cooking

2010 Book Review Freda Rumford May 2010

By Freda Rumford from the May 2010 Edition

I must own 100 cook books in one form or another in each of which there are one or two well worn pages, as well as lists of family favourites on my computer. I also look continuously on the net for other specific recipes as I can never find the one I am looking for. So I suppose I could be termed a cook book junkie. I like to read them!

It has bothered me since arriving in Mexico, that most of the modern books take short cuts using prepared ingredients not available here, such as “take a pound of phyllo pastry” or “frozen pizza” or “bread dough”, I need to make it from scratch! So when I decided that I could not live one more day without purchasing the 2 volumes of “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” by Julia Childs, even I somewhat doubted my sanity. I mean, I had hundreds of thousands of recipes, why did I need more? But I lusted after the books for several months before deciding enough was enough, I had to have them – today.

Eventually they arrived, actually a little cheaper than when I had first checked them out and opened them eagerly. Often I find cook books a disappointment but in this case it was “aye caramba”. I am so impressed that I may never use another book except my old and trusty Good Housekeeping book bought for me 54 years ago for my old British basics, or the “Sunset” book I have for cheese cakes, or the “Company’s Coming” for Nanaimo Bars or the “Best of Bridge” series for ……. Oh dear! I did say I was a junkie.

Never really a fan of Julia Childs on TV, because her voice drove me nuts and she always seemed terribly confused, I was astonished at how clear and concise the ingredients and instructions are. On the left hand side of the page are the ingredients in order of use, on the right the method of how each is to be used. Also there are suggestions for replacements should a particular ingredient not be available or disliked or even for turning it into a completely different dish. Now we are talking. Also, it is most unlikely that I will be another Julie and cook all of the recipes. But I wholeheartedly recommend this book. The methods used are explained well and it is very easy to see why the first book took seven years to prepare, it will probably take me seven years just to go through the books thoroughly. I am positive though, that they will be used often and that the results will be outstanding. I have always liked colored pictures, there are none here, but there are carefully drawn etchings which show every piece of equipment and its use for which particular task. I may have some more shopping to do!

This is a book that I would really like to discuss in a bookies night out! I find it intriguing.

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