This isn't just any cookery book. It is Mastering the Art of French Cooking , first published in 1961, and it's a book that is a statement, t of culinary intent, but of aspiration, a commitment to a certain sort of good life, a certain sort of world-view; a votive object implying taste and appetite and a little je ne sais quoi. Julia Child was like Amelia Earhart, or Elear Roosevelt: she was a hero who'd gone out there and made a difference. Her books are a triumph, and also a trophy. (AA Gill, The Times ). 'Mastering any art is a continuing process ...' In this book Julia Child and Simone Beck help cooks everywhere master the full repertoire of classic French dishes. Their recipes range across soups from the garden and bisques from the sea, famour fish stews from Provence and Normandy, to suckling pig and charcuterie, baguettes and croissants, and through a huge variety of desserts to petit-fours, all accompanied by clear step-by-step instructions and 458 illustrations.
Julia Child revolutionised cooking in the US and this was the cookbook that launched her career. A native of California and a Smith College graduate, Julia Child studied at Paris's famous Cordon Bleu, and worked under various distinguished French chefs. In 1951 she started her own cooking school in Paris, L'Ecole des Trois Gourmandes, with Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle and the three women started compiling this cookbook. Mastering the Art of French Cooking was published in 1961 and was an instant hit. Julia Child consequently began appearing on the television series The French Chef, which aired for many years all over the United States, and many more books and TV series ensued.