Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home
Have there ever been two better-known
TV personality chefs in the United States than Julia Child and Jacques
Pepin? She started the TV chef revolution in the US and he expanded
on her wonderful idea. They talk, tease, compare notes, and share
the spoons to taste their food.
Their recipes are classics. These recipes
are elegant with just good basic food. There are no strange ingredients;
everything seems kind of familiar and very appealing.
Though with all Julia Child cookbooks
you need to not think about how much fat you are eating. Instead
think about the real dairy advocate, Julia Child. She has a love
of butter and it doesn't seem to have affected her life. Think about
the left bank of Paris, you are at least not smoking, something
much worse then the butter in the Croque Monsieur.
The book is filled with the two chefs
interplaying on each other with their own preferences and skills.
Many of the recipes are presented with a comparisons on technique
or theory: Jacques' omelet, if you dare to try, is a magician's
piece of work, delicately folded with only a practiced turn and
tap. Julia's omelet is a more quotidian affair, but still with a
proper elegance. If you're tired and hungry, Julia's omelet is the
way to go. If, on the other hand you are trying to impress that
special person in you life, attempt Jacques'.
One of my favorite comparison's recipes
is the contrast between the two potato salads. Julia's Potato Salad
is all-American: mayonnaise, celery, hard-boiled eggs, chopped pickle,
and even some bacon. It is creamy with just a light vinegar bite.
The type of salad you had at all those family reunions as a kid
and hated, but you now miss.
While Jaques' version of potato salad
is nicely updated. Jacques' salad begins with elegant fingerling
potatoes and dresses them with fresh herbs, Dijon mustard, olive
oil, and white wine. The flavor has a simple intensity with distinct
flavors of each ingredient with out mushy appearance you associate
with potato salad.
What this book excels at is simple
techniques, classic recipes, and good ingredients to make basic
classic food. Something to always remember is that with most good
French food, the better the ingredients the better your results.
So you will want to make an extra trip to the bakery or farm market
before you make dinner.