Mastering the Art of French Cooking - Vol. 1 : Anyone can cook in the French manner anywhere, wrote Mesdames Beck, Bertholle, and Child, "with the right instruction." And here is the book that, for forty years, has been teaching Americans how. "Mastering the Art of French Cooking is for both seasoned cooks and beginners who love good food and long to reproduce at home the savory delights of the classic cuisine, from the historic Gallic masterpieces to the seemingly artless perfection of a dish of spring-green peas. This beautiful book, with more than one hundred instructive illustrations, is revolutionary in its approach because: - It leads the cook infallibly from the buying and handling of raw ingredients, through each essential step of a recipe, to the final creation of a delicate confection. - It breaks down the classic cuisine into a logical sequence of themes and variations rather than presenting an endless and diffuse catalogue of recipes; the focus is on key recipes that form the backbone of French cookery and lend themselves to an infinite number of elaborations--bound to increase anyone's culinary repertoire. - It adapts classical techniques, wherever possible, to modern American conveniences. - It shows Americans how to buy products, from any supermarket in the U.S.A., that reproduce the exact taste and texture of the French ingredients: equivalent meat cuts, for example; the right beans for a cassoulet; the appropriate fish and shellfish for a bouillabaisse. - It offers suggestions for just the right accompaniment to each dish, including proper wines. Since there has never been a book as instructive and as workable as "Mastering the Art of French Cooking, the techniques learned here can beapplied to recipes in all other French cookbooks, making them infinitely more usable.
This is not a cookbook, but rather, a course and reference guide on French cuisine. It starts out with the most basic definitions of terms and essential equipment before delving into progressively more difficult techniques. Simple, unelaborated recipes are presented first, followed by variations that allow the budding chef the opportunity to use creativity, rather than recipes, to properly and imaginatively cook in the French style. The illustrations are helpful, although somewhat dated in appearance, but consider when this was written. I find myself coming back to this book again and again as a point of reference and springboard whenever I need a little inspiration. This book is absolutely essential for anybody's kitchen.