A blog by the staff of the Thomas Ford Memorial Library
Let’s start the second half of the year with something big.
What kind of cookbook is it?
Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home is a companion book to a televised cooking series from two of the world’s most famous chefs, Julia Child and Jacques Pepin. Child considered Pepin as the true professional who worked in fine restaurants and herself as a serious home cook. The program sought to blend their two approaches to cooking to teach home cooks to think in the kitchen.
Do the cooks agree on the recipes?
While this innovative cookbook is not “Battle of the Chefs,” the chefs do have their differences. In many of the two-page spreads, a recipe or two is placed in the center flanked by Child’s comments on the left and Pepin’s on the right. If they think more needs to be said, the two may take several pages, such as the six pages they take to explain basic omelets.
Can you easily make the recipes?
Funny you should ask. Part of the idea of the program was that good cooks can make up the recipes as they go. The pair brought in David Nussbaum to watch the episodes and read their descriptions and write up workable recipes with measurements. In your kitchen you can aim to replicate as best you can. In the process you should learn methods that will serve you for years to come.
What is special about this cookbook?
Who is more trusted than Julia Child and Jacques Pepin? In addition to authority, the book is filled with instructive photographs and easy-to-read recipes. Many of us can put the volume at arms length and still refer to the ingredients list.
What are your favorite recipes from this cookbook?
I would like to travel back in time and have Child make me some of her hash-browns (p. 158). Then I’d like Pepin to whip up an order of salmon fillet en papillote with zucchini, carrot, and Shiitake mushrooms (cooked in a bag constructed of parchment paper, p. 222).
Review by Rick