Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home
By Child, Julia

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.

Review by Priscilla Meredith 2003