Chocolate & Zucchini Forum Index >> Back to Chocolate & Zucchini <<

 
 FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups 
 ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages 
 RSS feedLast posts feed   RegisterRegister   Log inLog in 

Mastering the Art of French Cooking vs. I Know How to Cook
Goto page 1, 2  Next
 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Chocolate & Zucchini Forum Index -> Resources
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
harpospeaking



Joined: 13 Sep 2005
Posts: 194
Location: San Diego, CA

PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 7:06 pm    Post subject: Mastering the Art of French Cooking vs. I Know How to Cook Reply with quote

I don't own either of these books, but I am in the market for buying a comprehensive and fairly traditional encyclopedia type French recipe cookbook.

Can anyone who owns copies of these books give me any feedback on either one or both? "I Know How to Cook" has a definite edge with Clotide's contributions, but I'm not at all familiar with either book.
_________________
"Help! Help! I'm being repressed!" --- Monty Python and the Holy Grail

http://onegirlonehouse.wordpress.com
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Rachel



Joined: 22 Oct 2006
Posts: 296
Location: Santa Barbara, CA

PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 7:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is a bit of a cheat, as I don't own either book myself, but since my mom has both volumes of Mastering the Art of French Cooking and one of my closest friends (a Frenchman) owns Je sais cuisiner (the pre-Clotilde version) and I've spent a fair bit of time looking at both, here's my two cents.

If, like me, you enjoy reading cookbooks and are fascinated by culinary history, then... get both! Julia Child is a more interesting read, but both of them give you a very interesting picture of the evolution of French cooking as well as a snapshot of a particular era (and, in the former case, American cooking habits as well). But in terms of actual usefulness? I'd go for I Know How to Cook in a heartbeat. This might be a gross oversimplification, but Mastering the Art is, essentially, restaurant cooking (not surprising when you consider that Child was Cordon Bleu-trained) whereas I Know How to Cook is home cooking (not that there aren't complicated and time-consuming recipes in there too). So I'd say that while I'm more likely to read and dream over Mastering the Art, I'm also a lot more likely to cook a meal from I Know How to Cook.

Hope that helps - I'm curious to know what others think.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
harpospeaking



Joined: 13 Sep 2005
Posts: 194
Location: San Diego, CA

PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 11:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the feedback Rachel. I do love reading cookbooks for sheer pleasure, and if that were the case, then I'd buy both books. I'm trying, however, to be more frugal and I want to pick the book I'll really really use. It sounds like your vote is for "I Know How to Cook."
_________________
"Help! Help! I'm being repressed!" --- Monty Python and the Holy Grail

http://onegirlonehouse.wordpress.com
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
minty



Joined: 17 Jul 2006
Posts: 140

PostPosted: Sat Oct 03, 2009 5:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

as a French woman in her thirties, I always saw my mum refer to I know how to cook (Mathiot) when I was young, and used it myself too
this was in the 80s
it is easy to use, and the recipes are very practical

as for the Julia Child's, I bought it out of interest after having read the book on which is based the movie, a year ago or so - result : it's not French cuisine, but French cuisine for Americans !!

so I would definitely go for I know how to cook

yet, If you can speak French, I would advise "Le grand livre de la cuisine d'aujourd'hui" by Valerie-Anne Giscard d'Estaing - it's great, with pictures and lots of useful infos about the products, methods and quantities, for instance, at the beginning
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
harpospeaking



Joined: 13 Sep 2005
Posts: 194
Location: San Diego, CA

PostPosted: Sun Oct 04, 2009 6:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for your feedback, minty.

Could you elaborate a little on what you mean when you say that Julia Child's "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" is French cooking for Americans?

I've traveled to France numerous times and have cooked in Paris once. The main difference I've experienced between French cooking and cooking French food in America is mainly the ingredients and the volume vs. weight approach to measuring ingredients. Also, I noticed that in Paris, the sellers of produce and meat are wonderful resources on how to cook the ingredients you buy.

Thankfully, I do speak and read French, so I'll be sure to buy "Le grand livre de la cuisine d'aujourd'hui" on my next trip to France. Thanks for the tip!
_________________
"Help! Help! I'm being repressed!" --- Monty Python and the Holy Grail

http://onegirlonehouse.wordpress.com
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
minty



Joined: 17 Jul 2006
Posts: 140

PostPosted: Mon Oct 05, 2009 4:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think I don't actually mean "for Americans" - I mean "for people who wants to spend hours in the kitchen doing something that could be just as good if done in ten minutes" is what I mean, if you get my drift

It's all very well to spend hours baking an "opera" or a "piece montee" for a special occasion, but French people don't spend their lives in a kitchen !
believe me, I can cook a mean ratatouille or prepare buffets for 15 people, but what I aim at is maximum taste and minimum time ... Wink
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
harpospeaking



Joined: 13 Sep 2005
Posts: 194
Location: San Diego, CA

PostPosted: Mon Oct 05, 2009 9:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for elaborating, minty.

I think that when Julia Child wrote "Mastering the Art of French Cooking," she wanted to bring that French restaurant experience to the American home in neighborhoods where French restaurants, bakeries and other shops weren't plentiful. So, that meant that if you wanted to taste some of these dishes and desserts, you had to make it from scratch. I think she was also writing at a time where running a household was a full-time job for married women and mothers.

Things have definitely changed. As a working woman also in her 30s, I too would pass on making an elaborate dessert or dish if I could run out and buy something of superior quality elsewhere. I would love, however, to spend hours in the kitchen. I'll have to take a day off of work to do that. Wink
_________________
"Help! Help! I'm being repressed!" --- Monty Python and the Holy Grail

http://onegirlonehouse.wordpress.com
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
minty



Joined: 17 Jul 2006
Posts: 140

PostPosted: Wed Oct 07, 2009 7:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I didn't mean I would buy something elaborate - I usually cook for my supper parties by myself (from 2 to 20 guests)
but I would just do easier recipes - actually, I usually mostly invent the recipes ! Wink
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
harpospeaking



Joined: 13 Sep 2005
Posts: 194
Location: San Diego, CA

PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2009 1:29 am    Post subject: Hey, what a coincidence! Reply with quote

Here's an interview with Clotilde where the interviewer is making a comparison between Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking and Ginette Mathiot's I Know How to Cook.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=114328568

It provides a little bit of insight on the historical significance of I Know How to Cook.
_________________
"Help! Help! I'm being repressed!" --- Monty Python and the Holy Grail

http://onegirlonehouse.wordpress.com
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
David



Joined: 30 Sep 2004
Posts: 1855
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2009 4:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh my i can't believe I have to buy yet another cookbook! (not that I mind actually lol) This sounds delightful--and speaks my own language. Thanks for the link!
_________________
Vivant Linguae Mortuae!!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
harpospeaking



Joined: 13 Sep 2005
Posts: 194
Location: San Diego, CA

PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2009 6:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I actually did the very thing I said I wouldn't do and bought both books. Thanks to a generous coupon from my local Borders bookstore, I snagged Julia Child's Mastering for about the same price as Amazon's.

I Know How to Cook is very much the French version of the Silver Spoon. I like to use it to study French cooking and the French use of ingredients. There's a very neutral tone to the recipes, ingredient lists are short and the recipe instructions are brief paragraphs as well. It's a lot like an encyclopedia of French cooking. If you have an ingredient and you want to know the French way of preparing that ingredient, I Know How to Cook is the book you need.

Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking emphasizes instruction and technique and was probably meant to demystify the art of French restaurant cooking for the average American homemaker. It probably enabled the trend of bringing restaurant style dishes into everyday homes. What I love about Mastering the Art of French Cooking is Julia Child's writing. Her personality and her you-can-do-it tone are the real highlights of this book. I probably won't cook a good portion of the recipes in it, but it will make me appreciate the preparation of certain French dishes more. Just knowing a little bit about technique will also make you appreciate these dishes even more.

Just a side note --- in comparing these two books, I wonder if, culturally speaking, Americans are more apt to try and recreate a dish they eat in a restaurant whereas with French home cooks, there seems to be a divide between the simplicity of meals cooked at home and the more elaborate ones enjoyed in restaurants. The very fact that Julia Child wrote a book to demystify French restaurant cooking for the average American homemaker touches on this subject.

What do you think?
_________________
"Help! Help! I'm being repressed!" --- Monty Python and the Holy Grail

http://onegirlonehouse.wordpress.com
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Deste



Joined: 17 Aug 2005
Posts: 307
Location: Far, far away

PostPosted: Fri Feb 26, 2010 6:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd like to recommend Susan Herrmann Loomis, Cooking at Home on Rue Tatin or Lulu's Provencal Table by Richard Olney which are probably my favorites of this nature.

Since this is my last post here, I raise my glass and wish you well!

Salut!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
georgia



Joined: 16 May 2006
Posts: 456
Location: california

PostPosted: Fri Feb 26, 2010 5:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Deste...really? Last, as in "last one ever"? If so, I wish you well. I, for one (among many, I'm sure) will miss your thoughtful, erudite posts.

Be well.
_________________
So far, so good.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
gingerpale



Joined: 23 Jan 2006
Posts: 1324

PostPosted: Sat Feb 27, 2010 1:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh dear, you just reappeared after a long absence.
You posted once (about giving up meat) "never say never". But if you're gone, best wishes to you!
Rosemary
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Barbara



Joined: 13 Nov 2004
Posts: 899
Location: Gold Coast Australia

PostPosted: Sat Feb 27, 2010 12:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good luck Deste.
_________________
Barbara
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Chocolate & Zucchini Forum Index -> Resources All times are GMT + 1 Hour
Goto page 1, 2  Next
Page 1 of 2

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group