Our New York, California, and Texas campuses are all located in the heart of vibrant culinary regions, and each one offers you a unique, locally-inspired, and unforgettable experience. We hope to see you soon! A multi-day, life-changing immersion into the world of food, CIA Boot Camp is so much more than a cooking class. Turn your curiosity into brand-new skills!
Get inspired when you spend a few hours or a full day exploring your love of food in our kitchens and bakeshops. Fun awaits, no matter what your culinary interest or skill level. Bring a friend or come meet new ones! Taste, discuss, repeat. Embark on a journey of tasting, pairing, and discovery with our experts. Our demonstration-style classes are perfect for all ages and skill levels.
Fun and engaging, classes range from chef demonstrations to wine tastings to food and wine pairing exercises. Explore the local flavors of our campuses as the demonstrations captivate and educate you, all at the same time! Our first stop was in Chicago, where Simca and I both had friends, and we did interviews and cooking demonstrations in private houses and for the Chicago Tribune. Then we went on to Detroit, and when in San Francisco we were asked to do a demonstration at one of the big department stores. The wife of the owner, in a fit of exuberance, had purchased dozens of madeleine pans—the kind you use for those shell-shaped little French cakes made famous by Marcel Proust in Remembrance of Things Past.
But nobody there was familiar with them. Simca, of course, knew all about madeleines, so we made them by the score during our demonstrations, the audiences gobbled them, and the store sold so many pans it had to order more. The demonstration in my hometown of Pasadena, California, was in the theater of a private club where there were no cooking facilities. However, we had managed to procure a portable stove and cooktop, buckets for water, and a six-foot demonstration table, and were able to produce a quite complicated menu.
Looking back on the menu, I am amazed that we managed such sophisticated food in such minimal conditions. The morning went off very well, but then we were to repeat the performance for the afternoon demonstration. While Simca and I had to stay onstage signing cookbooks and receiving the audience, my Paul, who always volunteered to do anything that was needed, was left alone to clean up—a sticky, fishy, chocolatey mess. And where did he wash the dishes? When Simca had arrived in New York before our tour, Judith Jones, our young editor at Knopf, asked us whom we would especially like to meet.
I had always wanted to know James Beard, and Simca wanted to see Dione Lucas, since they had mutual friends in Normandy. We fixed a date in December, when we were to have finished our tour. We had numerous telephone calls with Dione during our trip, and one endless conversation between Simca and our future hostess involved a pay telephone at Disneyland, and multiple quarters supplied by Paul. The menu was finally agreed upon. Dione was to prepare the first course, her renowned filets of sole in a splendid classical white wine sauce, and the dessert.
We were to provide the wines—fortunately, Simca had a cousin in the business. We were also to supply the guest list. The three of us professional neophytes, however, had no friends in the New York food establishment, although we knew some of the names. So we turned to nice James Beard, who entered into the project with his usual enthusiasm.
He found a printer to produce the menus in record time. He made out the place cards, arranged the seating, and even opened the wine just before the guests arrived. Kind James Beard got there early and introduced us and our Knopf friends, Judith Jones and Bill Koshland, to all the guests as they arrived. It was a wonderful dinner, everyone had a good time, and no one left until after midnight.
That was our beginning. They inaugurated an art program and a science program, and I was asked about trying out a cooking session. I had already done a book review with them, which involved, besides talk, the then highly unusual methods of making a tossed French omelet and the beating of egg whites in a big copper bowl. We agreed to try out three pilot programs, which appeared in the summer of The station put us in the charge of Russell Morash, then a young producer of science programs, now the well-known master of This Old House, The Victory Garden , and other successful series.
They also gave me Ruth Lockwood as associate producer—she had been with the Eleanor Roosevelt series. Ruthie and I worked closely together, with Paul in attendance, to block out three half-hour shows. The first was shown on a Monday in July, at p. The evening was so hot and humid, and we had no air-conditioning, that we set the television out in the garden, turned on a large fan, and watched while dining with friends. Our other two shows in succeeding weeks gathered an appreciable audience even for that time of year. Although Dione Lucas had hosted the first full television cooking series, she had been off the air for several seasons, and we had the only one at that time.
We agreed, and The French Chef was launched, following the general ideas in this book. Why The French Chef , since I am neither the one nor the other? The first reason was that I always hoped we would have some real French chefs on the shows. We never managed that until later on. The second and more important reason: The title was short, it described the shows as real French cooking, and, of equal significance, it fit on a single line in the TV guides.
WGBH-Boston asked us to do thirteen more, we continued on, and the television shows certainly helped the book. We even made the cover of Time magazine at one point. This fortieth anniversary edition is essentially the same book that first came out in , which was reedited in to bring it up to date, especially because the food processor had appeared in American kitchens. Before the arrival of that incomparable machine, we did have the electric blender and heavy duty mixer, but the food processor revolutionized many otherwise almost hopelessly onerous tasks such as the making of fish mousses and quenelles.
It simplified such often tricky procedures as pie doughs, and made fast work of routine dog work like mushroom dicing, cheese grating, bread crumbing, and onion slicing. Mastering the Art of French Cooking is just what the title says. It is how to produce really wonderful food—food that tastes good, looks good, and is a delight to eat. According to me, if you are thoroughly skilled in French techniques, because the repertoire is so vast, you have the background for almost any type of cuisine.
In other words, and at the risk of creating mayhem in some circles, I think you are better as an Italian, Mexican, or even Chinese cook when you have a solid French foundation. There is certainly nothing particularly difficult about the basics. It is a question of getting started, and of learning how to pick the best and freshest ingredients, and of knowing, reading, seeing, or being shown how to hold the knife, chop the onion, peel the asparagus, make the butter and flour roux , and above all of taking it seriously.
If you are not used to slicing potatoes by hand or peeling, seeding, and juicing tomatoes you will be slow and a little clumsy at first. However, once you decide you are really going to do it right, you will find that with surprisingly little practice you are mastering the techniques. The recipes here are thoroughly detailed since this is a teaching book. How about eight pages on making a simple omelet? You are learning by doing, and if the dish is to turn out as it should, no essential direction can be left out.
How far, for instance, should the chicken be from the heat element when you are broiling it? Five to six inches. Or how fast should the oil be beaten in when you are making the garlic-and-mustard coating for a roast leg of lamb? Drop by drop. Every detail takes up space, making some actually quite simple recipes look long. Certainly one of the important requirements for learning how to cook is that you also learn how to eat. Just like becoming an expert in wine—you learn by drinking it, the best you can afford—you learn about great food by finding the best there is, whether simple or luxurious.
Then you savor it, analyze it, and discuss it with your companions, and you compare it with other experiences. In the s, when this book was conceived, and on into the s, we in this country pretty well ate as we liked with little or no attention paid to lashings of the best butter and the heaviest cream.
You will note this indulgence here, especially in sauces, where you reduce them with cream or where you swirl in fresh butter a generous tablespoon at a time to render them smooth, shining, and luscious. I have not changed any of these original proportions or directions, because this is the way the dishes were conceived. However, do use your own judgment as to how much or how little of the enrichments you care to use, since the amounts will not interfere with the basic recipe. In my case, for instance, I have been known to substitute a modest teaspoon for the generous tablespoon.
What a happy task you have set for yourself! The pleasures of the table are infinite. I had been an editor at Knopf for about three years, working primarily on translations of French books. But it was no secret that I had a passion for French cooking, so I was the logical person to read it. The manuscript had been sent down from Cambridge by Avis de Voto, who worked as a scout for the Knopfs. She was the wife of the historian and writer Bernard de Voto, who had had a lively transatlantic correspondence with Julia on the subject of knives as a result of a piece he had done in The Atlantic Monthly.
Avis soon became involved when she heard that Julia was working on a cookbook in Paris with Mesdames Beck and Bertholle, and she offered to try to find an American publisher. Well, it so happened that I did. As I turned the pages of this manuscript, I felt that my prayers had been answered. I had lived in Paris for three and a half years—at just about the same time the Childs were there, although our paths had never crossed—and most of what I learned then about cooking I absorbed from the butcher, the baker, the greengrocer, and the fishmonger.
When I returned to the States, I realized how totally inadequate the few books that dealt with French food really were. They were simply compendiums of shorthand recipes and there was no effort to instruct the home cook. Techniques were not explained, proper ingredients were not discussed, and there was no indication in a recipe of what to expect and how to rectify mistakes.
So the home cook, particularly an American home cook, was flying blind. Yet here were all the answers. I ran home to make the recipe—and my first bite told me that I had finally produced an authentic French boeuf bourguignon —as good as one I could get in Paris. This, I was convinced, was a revolutionary cookbook, and if I was so smitten, certainly others would be. I also enlisted the help of a senior colleague, Angus Cameron.
He had been an editor at Bobbs-Merrill when Joy of Cooking was published and he loved to say that he had enough larceny in his soul to know just how to pitch a book. The rest is history. In the fall of we published Mastering the Art of French Cooking incidentally, Alfred Knopf, when I told him the title we had settled on, said if anyone would buy a book by that title, he would eat his hat , and after Craig Claiborne pronounced the book a classic, the book went into a second printing before Christmas.
Of course, when Julia went on television the following summer as the French Chef all of America fell in love with her. But everything she taught on camera was grounded in this seminal book—understand what you are cooking, do it with care, use the right ingredients and the proper equipment, and, above all, enjoy yourself. The reason? Because the authors emphasize technique—not the number of recipes they can cram into a volume, nor the exotic nature of the dishes. Reading and studying this book seems to me as good as taking a basic course at the Cordon Bleu. It is not a book for the lazy but for the cook who wants to improve, to take that giant step from fair-to-good accomplishment to that subtle perfection that makes French cooking an art.
I swear that I learned something from this manuscript every few pages. As to recipes, they have very intelligently selected the dishes that are really the backbone of the classic cuisine. Attached is the table of contents. The approach is to introduce the general subject first: what to look for in buying, best utensil to use, timing, testing for doneness, tricks to improve. Then there is usually a master recipe, presented in painstaking detail, followed by variations, different choices of sauces for embellishing the same dish.
There is a good deal of text devoted not to cuisine lore but to practical detail; you are seldom directed to do something without being told why. The authors are perfectionists, opinionated, and culinary snobs in the best sense—that is, they will approve of a frozen short cut, when time demands it, but they tell you how to add some tastiness to the packaged good. The fact is that it enhances other French cookery books because one can apply techniques learned in it in order to use effectively the recipes offered so sketchily, by comparison, in all the other books, and it should be so promoted.
I think this book will become a classic. This manuscript is an astonishing achievement and there is simply nothing like it.
Life’s Too Short to Fold Fitted Sheets by Lisa Quinn – The Help Desk Book Blog
I think we should have this confidence and venture it with the knowledge that others will have to look to their laurels when this one is available. She brought forth a culture of American ingredients and gave us all the confidence to cook with them in the pursuit of flavor. By doing so, she greatly expanded the audience for all serious food writers. Her demystification prepared that public for the rest of us. She was also the antithesis of the women I saw cooking, all of whom had serious June Lockhart aspirations. Julia, on the other hand, turned imperfection into a hoot and a holler.
She seemed to teach cooking, but she was really celebrating the human, with all its flaws and appetites. I was a goner the first time I heard her voice, which happened to be while I was a cook in a feminist restaurant that served nonviolent cuisine. Worse, I might still be afraid of being less than perfect. Cooking through Mastering the Art of French Cooking , I learned how to cook without fear because I got over fearing failure. Julia Child gave an entire generation this gift—and dinner, too. Mastering the Art of French Cooking was one of the most influential books in twentieth-century America.
It was the book, more than any other, that, combined with her television shows, taught Americans how to cook simple and not-so-simple classic French dishes. Like Julia herself, the book is a classic, a catalyst in the refinement of American culture. My own copy of Volume One a edition is so worn that the duct tape holding it together looks natural.
They still are. The Soubise, on its own, that glorious mixture of melting onion and rice, has never left my repertoire. I was in heaven. All this technique that I knew nothing about all laid out in English! The first cookbook my mother purchased for our home was Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Always warm and gracious, still working hard sharing her knowledge and love of life, Julia continues to be an inspiration to all who are privileged to know her and choose to be part of this profession.
Julia is a dear friend and a great cook—the grande dame of cooking, who has touched all of our lives with her immense respect and appreciation of cuisine. Through the years her shows have kept me in rapt attention, and her humor has kept me in stitches. She is a national treasure, a culinary trendsetter, and a born educator beloved by all. Trying to avoid the current fashion for exaggeration, let me just say that this volume not only clarified what real French food is, but simply taught us to cook. Child is one of the great teachers of the millennium: She is intelligent and charismatic, and her undistinguished manual skills are not daunting to her viewers.
An entire generation of ambitious American home cooks is instantly born. We have redone numerous recipes here to include the processor, but had it been around when we began, we would have had a host of dishes created because of it. No-stick pans were not available then. All-purpose flour needed sifting, and that required a cumbersome measuring system, which we have eliminated here.
Rice is now enriched and takes shorter cooking, and we have revised a number of meat-thermometer readings. Little details here and there wanted fixing, little remarks now and then needed updating, and a few drawings have been added or improved. On the whole, however, it is the same book, written for those who love to cook—it is a primer of classical French cuisine. And no wonder that cuisine has always been and will always remain so popular, said a friend of ours; it just makes such wonderfully good eating!
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Bramafam and Santa Barbara February Written for those who love to cook, the recipes are as detailed as we have felt they should be so the reader will know exactly what is involved and how to go about it. This makes them a bit longer than usual, and some of the recipes are quite long indeed. No out-of-the-ordinary ingredients are called for.
And these techniques can be applied wherever good basic materials are available. We have purposely omitted cobwebbed bottles, the patron in his white cap bustling among his sauces, anecdotes about charming little restaurants with gleaming napery, and so forth. Such romantic interludes, it seems to us, put French cooking into a never-never land instead of the Here, where happily it is available to everybody. Anyone can cook in the French manner anywhere, with the right instruction.
Our hope is that this book will be helpful in giving that instruction. Although you will perform with different ingredients for different dishes, the same general processes are repeated over and over again. In the sauce realm, the cream and egg-yolk sauce for a blanquette of veal is the same type as that for a sole in white-wine sauce, or for a gratin of scallops. Eventually you will rarely need recipes at all, except as reminders of ingredients you may have forgotten. All of the techniques employed in French cooking are aimed at one goal: how does it taste?
The French are seldom interested in unusual combinations or surprise presentations. With an enormous background of traditional dishes to choose from Ways to Prepare and Serve Eggs is the title of one French book on the subject the Frenchman takes his greatest pleasure from a well-known dish impeccably cooked and served.
A perfect navarin of lamb, for instance, requires a number of operations including brownings, simmerings, strainings, skimmings, and flavorings. Each of the several steps in the process, though simple to accomplish, plays a critical role, and if any is eliminated or combined with another, the texture and taste of the navarin suffer. One of the main reasons that pseudo-French cooking, with which we are all too familiar, falls far below good French cooking is just this matter of elimination of steps, combination of processes, or skimping on ingredients such as butter, cream—and time.
Cooking is not a particularly difficult art, and the more you cook and learn about cooking, the more sense it makes. But like any art it requires practice and experience. The most important ingredient you can bring to it is love of cooking for its own sake. A complete treatise on French cooking following the detailed method we have adopted would be about the size of an unabridged dictionary; even printed on Bible paper, it would have to be placed on a stand. To produce a book of convenient size, we have made an arbitrary selection of recipes that we particularly like, and which we hope will interest our readers.
Many splendid creations are not included, and there are tremendous omissions. Where are the croissants? Why only five cakes and no petits fours? No zucchini? No tripe? No green salads? No pressed duck or sauce rouennaise? No room! All of the master recipes and most of the subrecipes in this book are in two-column form. On the left are the ingredients, often including some special piece of equipment needed; on the right is a paragraph of instruction. Thus what to cook and how to cook it, at each step in the proceedings, are always brought together in one sweep of the eye.
Master recipes are headed in large, bold type; a special sign, , precedes those which are followed by variations. Wine and vegetable suggestions are included with all master recipes for main-course dishes. Our primary purpose in this book is to teach you how to cook, so that you will understand the fundamental techniques and gradually be able to divorce yourself from a dependence on recipes.
We have therefore divided each category of food into related groups or sections, and each recipe in one section belongs to one family of techniques. Fish filets poached in white wine , are a good example, or the chicken fricassees or the group of quiches. It is our hope that you will read the introductory pages preceding each chapter and section before you start in on a recipe, as you will then understand what we are about. For the casual reader, we have tried to make every recipe stand on its own.
Cross references are always a problem. If there are not enough, you may miss an important point, and if there are too many you will become enraged. Yet if every technique is explained every time it comes up, a short recipe is long, and a long one forbidding. Most of the recipes in this book are calculated to serve six people with reasonably good appetites in an American-style menu of three courses.
We hope that we have arrived at quantities which will be correct for most of our readers. If a recipe states that the ingredients listed will serve 4 to 6 people, this means the dish should be sufficient for 4 people if the rest of your menu is small, and for 6 if it is large. Our years of teaching cookery have impressed upon us the fact that all too often a debutant cook will start in enthusiastically on a new dish without ever reading the recipe first. Suddenly an ingredient, or a process, or a time sequence will turn up, and there is astonishment, frustration, and even disaster.
We therefore urge you, however much you have cooked, always to read the recipe first, even if the dish is familiar to you. Visualize each step so you will know exactly what techniques, ingredients, time, and equipment are required and you will encounter no surprises. Recipe language is always a sort of shorthand in which a lot of information is packed, and you will have to read carefully if you are not to miss small but important points. Then, to build up your over-all knowledge of cooking, compare the recipe mentally to others you are familiar with, and note where one recipe or technique fits into the larger picture of theme and variations.
We have not given estimates for the time of preparation, as some people take half an hour to slice three pounds of mushrooms while others take five minutes. Pay close attention to what you are doing while you work, for precision in small details can make the difference between passable cooking and fine food. You may be slow and clumsy at first, but with practice you will pick up speed and style. Allow yourself plenty of time. Most dishes can be assembled, or started, or partially cooked in advance.
If you are not an old campaigner, do not plan more than one long or complicated recipe for a meal or you will wear yourself out and derive no pleasure from your efforts. If food is to be baked or broiled, be sure your oven is hot before the dish goes in. A pot saver is a self-hampering cook. Use all the pans, bowls, and equipment you need, but soak them in water as soon as you are through with them.
Clean up after yourself frequently to avoid confusion. Train yourself to use your hands and fingers; they are wonderful instruments. Train yourself also to handle hot foods; this will save time. Keep your knives sharp. O UR FRIENDS , students, families, and husbands who have gracefully and often courageously acted as guinea pigs for years are owed a special thank you from the authors.
But there are others toward whom we feel particular gratitude because of help of a different kind. The Agricultural Research Service of the U. Department of Agriculture has been one of our greatest sources of assistance and has unfailingly and generously answered all sorts of technical questions ranging from food to plastic bowls. We are also greatly indebted to Le Cercle des Gourmettes whose bi-monthly cooking sessions in Paris have often been our proving grounds, and whose culinary ideas we have freely used. We give heartfelt thanks to our editors whose enthusiasm and hard work transformed our manuscript-in-search-of-a-publisher into this book.
Finally there is Avis DeVoto, our foster mother, wet nurse, guide, and mentor. She provided encouragement for our first steps, some ten years ago, as we came tottering out of the kitchen with the gleam of authorship lighting our innocent faces. Other Books by This Author. Introduction to the Anniversary Edition. A Note About the Authors. Kitchen Equipment.
How to Measure Flour. Two Omelette-making Methods. How to Beat Egg Whites. Puff Shells. Forming Quenelles.
How to Truss a Chicken. Chicken on a Spit. Filet of Beef. The Bone Structure of a Leg of Lamb. How to Prepare Whole Artichokes. How to Prepare Artichoke Hearts. How to Prepare Fresh Asparagus. How to Peel, Seed, and Juice Tomatoes. How to Line a Dessert Mold with Ladyfingers. Decorative Designs for Fruit Tarts. Baba Mold. Savarin Molds. How to Ice a Cake. Good equipment which will last for years does not seem outrageously expensive when you realize that a big, enameled-iron casserole costs no more than a 6-rib roast, that a large enameled skillet can be bought for the price of a leg of lamb, and that a fine paring knife may cost less than two small lamb chops.
One of the best places to shop for reasonably priced kitchen-ware is in a hotel- and restaurant-supply house where objects are sturdy, professional, and made for hard use. For top-of-stove cooking you want to switch from very high indeed to very low heat with gradations in between, which a restaurant gas range can provide if you have the space and gas pressure for one.
Otherwise a good modern electric cooktop is far better than weak domestic gas burners. Electric ovens give more even heat for pastry baking especially meringues than gas, which has surges of heat. Gas is desirable for broiling, but electricity does well especially if you have a rheostat heat control setting. One of each is ideal! Pots, pans, and casseroles should be heavy-bottomed so they will not tip over, and good heat conductors so that foods will not stick and scorch.
With the exception of heavy tin-lined copper expensive to maintain , enameled iron or stainless-steel-lined heavy aluminum is our choice. The smooth surface does not discolor foods, and it is easy to clean. Stainless steel with a cast aluminum bottom, on the other hand, is good, as the thick aluminum spreads the heat. Glazed earthenware is all right as long as it has not developed cracks where old cooking grease collects and exudes whenever foods are cooked in it. Pyrex and heatproof porcelain are fine but fragile. Thick aluminum and iron, though good heat conductors, will discolor foods containing white wine or egg yolks.
Because of the discoloration problem, we shall specify an enameled saucepan in some recipes to indicate that any nonstaining material is to be used, from enamel to stainless steel, lined copper, pyrex, glazed pottery, or porcelain.
Copper pots are the most satisfactory of all to cook in, as they hold and spread the heat well, and their tin lining does not discolor foods. A great many tourist or decorative types are currently sold; these are thin and glittering, and have shiny brass handles.
The interior of the pot is lined with a wash of tin, which must be renewed every several years when it wears off and the copper begins to show through. A copper pot can still be used when this happens if it is scrubbed just before you cook with it, and if the food is removed as soon as it is done. If cooked food remains in a poorly lined pot, some kind of a toxic chemical reaction can take place. It is thus best to have the pot re-tinned promptly. In addition to re-tinning, there is the cleaning problem, as copper tarnishes quickly. There are fast modern copper cleaners available.
Rub the mixture over the copper, using steel wool if the pot is badly tarnished, then rinse in hot water. The tin lining is cleaned with steel wool and scouring powder, but do not expect it ever to glitter brightly again once you have used the pot for cooking. All cleaning, alas, removes infinitesimal bits of the tin lining. Never let a copper pot sit empty over heat, or the tin lining will melt. For the same reason, watch your heat when browning meats in copper. If the tin begins to glisten brightly in places, lower your heat. Since our first edition, pans with no-stick surfaces have appeared everywhere, and modern improvements have made their surfaces increasingly more resistant.
We are enthusiastic about no-stick cookie sheets, cake pans, muffin tins, and especially no-stick frying pans. Any of the following items come in enameled cast iron:. Oval casseroles are more practical than round ones as they can hold a chicken or a roast of meat as well as a stew or a soup. Round and oval baking dishes can be used for roasting chicken, duck, or meats, or can double as gratin dishes. Saucepans in a range of sizes are essential.
One with a metal handle can also be set in the oven. Besides the usual array of pots, roasters, vegetable peelers, spoons, and spatulas, here are some useful objects which make cooking easier:. A knife should be as sharp as a razor or it mashes and bruises food rather than chopping or cutting it. It can be considered sharp if just the weight of it, drawn across a tomato, slits the skin.
No knife will hold a razor-edge for long. The essential point is that it take an edge, and quickly. Plain rustable steel is the easiest to sharpen but discoloration is an annoying problem. Good stainless steel knives are available in cookware and cutlery shops, and probably the best way to test their quality is to buy a small one and try it out. If you cannot find good knives, consult your butcher or a professionally trained chef.
Knives should be washed separately and by hand as soon as you have finished using them. Tarnished blades are cleaned easily with steel wool and scouring powder. A magnetic holder screwed to the wall is a practical way of keeping knives always within reach and isolated from other objects that could dull and dent the blades by knocking against them.
A wooden spatula is more practical for stirring than a wooden spoon; its flat surfaces are easily scraped off on the side of a pan or bowl. You will usually find wooden spatulas only at stores specializing in French imports. The rubber spatula, which can be bought almost anywhere, is indispensable for scraping sauces out of bowls and pans, for stirring, folding, creaming, and smearing. Wire whips, or whisks, are wonderful for beating eggs, sauces, canned soups, and for general mixing.
They are easier than the rotary egg beater because you use one hand only. Whisks range from minute to gigantic, and the best selections are in restaurant-supply houses. You should have several sizes including the balloon whip for beating egg whites at the far left; its use is illustrated. Bulb Baster and Poultry Shears. The bulb baster is particularly good for basting meats or vegetables in a casserole, and for degreasing roasts as well as basting them.
Some plastic models collapse in very hot fat; a metal tube-end is usually more satisfactory. Poultry shears are a great help in disjointing broilers and fryers; regular steel is more practical than stainless, as the shears can be sharpened more satisfactorily. The drum sieve, tamis , is used in France when one is instructed to force food through a sieve. The ingredients, such as pounded lobster shells and butter, are placed on the screen and rubbed through it with the pestle.
An ordinary sieve placed over a bowl or a food mill can take the place of a tamis. Two wonderful inventions, the vegetable mill and the garlic press. This marvelous machine came into our kitchens in the mid-seventies—fifteen years after the first edition of this book! No serious cook should be without a food processor, especially since respectable budget models can be bought very reasonably.
Small mortars of wood or porcelain are useful for grinding herbs, pounding nuts, and the like. The electric blender, meat grinder, and food mill take the place of a mortar and pestle in many instances. A heavy-duty electric mixer makes light work of heavy meat mixtures, fruit cake batters, and yeast doughs as well as beating egg whites beautifully and effortlessly.
Its efficient whip not only revolves about itself, but circulates around the properly designed bowl, keeping all of the mass of egg whites in motion all of the time. Other useful attachments include a meat grinder with sausage-stuffing horn and a hot-water jack which attaches to the bottom of the stainless steel bowl. BEAT , fouetter To mix foods or liquids thoroughly and vigorously with a spoon, fork, or whip, or an electric beater. When you beat, train yourself to use your lower-arm and wrist muscles; if you beat from your shoulder you will tire quickly. BLANCH , blanchir To plunge food into boiling water and to boil it until it has softened, or wilted, or is partially or fully cooked.
Food is also blanched to remove too strong a taste, such as for cabbage or onions, or for the removal of the salty, smoky taste of bacon. BOIL , bouillir Liquid is technically at the boil when it is seething, rolling, and sending up bubbles. But in practice there are slow, medium, and fast boils. A very slow boil, when the liquid is hardly moving except for a bubble at one point, is called to simmer, mijoter.
A spoon dipped into a cream soup and withdrawn would be coated with a thin film of soup. Dipped into a sauce destined to cover food, the spoon would emerge with a fairly thick coating. This is an important step in the preparation of all meat sauces from the simplest to the most elaborate, for the deglaze becomes part of the sauce, incorporating into it some of the flavor of the meat. Thus sauce and meat are a logical complement to each other. To remove accumulated fat from the surface of a sauce, soup, or stock which is simmering, use a long-handled spoon and draw it over the surface, dipping up a thin layer of fat.
It is not necessary to remove all the fat at this time. When the cooking is done, remove all the fat. If the liquid is still hot, let it settle for 5 minutes so the fat will rise to the surface. Then spoon it off, tipping the pot or kettle so that a heavier fat deposit will collect at one side and can more easily be removed. It is easier, of course, to chill the liquid, for then the fat congeals on the surface and can be scraped off.
To remove fat from a pan while the meat is still roasting, tilt the pan and scoop out the fat which collects in the corner.
Use a bulb baster or a big spoon. It is never necessary to remove all the fat at this time, just the excess. This de-greasing should be done quickly, so your oven will not cool. If you take a long time over it, add a few extra minutes to your total roasting figure. After the roast has been taken from the pan, tilt the pan, then with a spoon or a bulb baster remove the fat that collects in one corner, but do not take up the browned juices, as these will go into your sauce.
Usually a tablespoon or two of fat is left in the pan; it will give body and flavor to the sauce. Another method—and this can be useful if you have lots of juice—is to place a trayful of ice cubes in a sieve lined with 2 or 3 thicknesses of damp cheesecloth and set over a saucepan. Pour the fat and juices over the ice cubes; most of the fat will collect and congeal on the ice. As some of the ice will melt into the saucepan, rapidly boil down the juices to concentrate their flavor. For stews, daubes , and other foods which cook in a casserole, tip the casserole and the fat will collect at one side.
Spoon it off, or suck it up with a bulb baster. Or strain off all the sauce into a pan, by placing the casserole cover askew and holding the casserole in both hands with your thumbs clamped to the cover while you pour out the liquid. Then degrease the sauce in the pan, and return the sauce to the casserole. New Edition Note: An efficient degreasing pitcher now exists: pour in the hot meat juices and let the fat rise to the surface. Pour out clear juices—the spout opening is at the bottom of the pitcher; stop when fat appears in the spout.
To fold also means to mix delicately without breaking or mashing, such as folding cooked artichoke hearts or brains into a sauce. A sprinkling of bread crumbs or grated cheese, and dots of butter, help to form a light brown covering gratin over the sauce. Macerate is the term usually reserved for fruits, such as: cherries macerated in sugar and alcohol. Marinate is used for meats: beef marinated in red wine.
A marinade is a pickle, brine, or souse, or a mixture of wine or vinegar, oil, and condiments. NAP , napper To cover food with a sauce which is thick enough to adhere, but supple enough so that the outlines of the food are preserved. This may be done in a mortar, a meat grinder, a food mill, an electric blender, or through a sieve. This is a most important step in saucemaking.
Plain butter cannot be heated to the required temperature without burning, so it must either be fortified with oil or be clarified—rid of its milky residue as described on this page. If it is damp, a layer of steam develops between the food and the fat preventing the browning and searing process. Enough air space must be left between each piece of food or it will steam rather than brown, and its juices will escape and burn in the pan. TOSS , faire sauter Instead of turning food with a spoon or a spatula, you can make it flip over by tossing the pan.
The classic example is tossing a pancake so it flips over in mid-air. But tossing is also a useful technique for cooking vegetables, as a toss is often less bruising than a turn. If you are cooking in a covered casserole, grasp it in both hands with your thumbs clamped to the cover.
Toss the pan with an up-and-down, slightly jerky, circular motion. The contents will flip over and change cooking levels. For an open saucepan use the same movement, holding the handle with both hands, thumbs up. A back-and-forth slide is used for a skillet. Give it a very slight upward jerk just as you draw it back toward you. The following list is an explanation of the use of some items:. As this is difficult to find in America, we have specified smoked bacon; its taste is usually fresher than that of salt pork.
It is always blanched in simmering water to remove its smoky taste. If this were not done, the whole dish would taste of bacon. Place the bacon strips in a pan of cold water, about 1 quart for each 4 ounces. Bring to the simmer and simmer 10 minutes. Drain the bacon and rinse it thoroughly in fresh cold water, then dry it on paper towels. BUTTER , beurre French butter is made from matured cream rather than from sweet cream, is unsalted, and has a special almost nutty flavor. Except for cake frostings and certain desserts for which we have specified unsalted butter, American salted butter and French butter are interchangeable in cooking.
But technically any butter, salted or not, which is made from sweet, unmatured cream is sweet butter. When ordinary butter is heated until it liquefies, a milky residue sinks to the bottom of the saucepan. The clear, yellow liquid above it is clarified butter. It burns less easily than ordinary butter, as it is the milky particles in ordinary butter which blacken first when butter is heated. It is also the base for brown butter sauce, and is used rather than fat in the brown roux for particularly fine brown sauces.
To clarify butter, cut it into pieces and place it in a saucepan over moderate heat. When the butter has melted, skim off the foam, and strain the clear yellow liquid into a bowl, leaving the milky residue in the bottom of the pan. The residue may be stirred into soups and sauces to serve as an enrichment. This is because the condition of the foam is a sure indication of how hot the butter is. As it begins to melt, the butter will foam hardly at all, and is not hot enough to brown anything. But as the heat increases, the liquids in the butter evaporate and cause the butter to foam up.
During this full-foaming period the butter is still not very hot, only around degrees. When the liquids have almost evaporated, you can see the foam subsiding. And when you see practically no foam, you will also observe the butter begin to turn light brown, then dark brown, and finally a burnt black. Butter fortified with oil will heat to a higher temperature before browning and burning than will plain butter, but the observable signs are the same.
Thus the point at which you add your eggs to the omelette pan or your meat to the skillet is when the butter is very hot but not browning, and that is easy to see when you look at the butter. If it is still foaming up, wait a few seconds; when you see the foam begin to subside, the butter is hot enough for you to begin. Petit suisse , a cream cheese that is sometimes called for in French recipes, is analogous to Philadelphia cream cheese.
It is not sour. Commercially made sour cream with a butterfat content of only 18 to 20 per cent is no substitute; furthermore, it cannot be boiled without curdling. French cream has a butterfat content of at least 30 per cent. If it is allowed to thicken with a little buttermilk, it will taste quite a bit like French cream, can be boiled without curdling, and will keep for 10 days or more under refrigeration; use it on fruits or desserts, or in cooking.
Stir the buttermilk into the cream and heat to luke-warm—not over 85 degrees. Pour the mixture into a loosely covered jar and let it stand at a temperature of not over 85 degrees nor under 60 degrees until it has thickened. This will take 5 to 8 hours on a hot day, 24 to 36 hours at a low temperature.
Stir, cover, and refrigerate. FLOUR , farine Regular French household flour is made from soft wheat, while most American flour is made from hard wheat; in addition, French flour is usually unbleached. This makes a difference in cooking quality, especially when you are translating French recipes for yeast doughs and pastries. We have found that a reasonable approximation of French flour, if you need one, is 3 parts American all-purpose unbleached flour to 1 part plain bleached cake flour.
Be accurate when you measure flour or you will run into cake and pastry problems. Although a scale is ideal, and essential when you are cooking in large quantities, cups and spoons are accurate enough for home cooking when you use the scoop-and-level system illustrated here. For all flour measurements in this volume, scoop the dry-measure cup directly into your flour container and fill the cup to overflowing A ; do not shake the cup or pack down the flour. Sweep off excess so that flour is even with the lip of the cup, using a straight edge of some sort B.
Sift only after measuring. In first edition copies of this volume all flour had to be sifted, and we advised that our flour be sifted directly into the cup; cake flour weighed less per cup than all-purpose flour, and it was a cumbersome system all around. The scoop-and-level is far easier, and just as reliable. See next page for a chart of weights and measures for flour measured this way. They are sometimes coated with sugar so they are not sticky; at other times they are sticky, depending on the specific process they have been through.
Parsley, thyme, bay, and tarragon are the stand-bys, plus fresh chives and chervil in season. A mixture of fresh parsley, chives, tarragon, and chervil is called fines herbes. Mediterranean France adds to the general list basil, fennel, oregano, sage, and saffron. The French feeling about herbs is that they should be an accent and a complement, but never a domination over the essential flavors of the main ingredients.
Fresh herbs are, of course, ideal; and some varieties of herbs freeze well. Excellent also are most of the dried herbs now available. Be sure any dried or frozen herbs you use retain most of their original taste and fragrance. American bay is stronger and a bit different in taste than European bay. We suggest you buy imported bay leaves; they are bottled by several of the well-known American spice firms. If the herbs are fresh and in sprigs or leaf, the parsley is folded around them and they are tied together with string.
If the herbs are dried, they are wrapped in a piece of washed cheesecloth and tied. A bundle is made so the herbs will not disperse themselves into the liquid or be skimmed off it, and so that they can be removed easily. It is prepared as follows:. Stand the bone on one end and split it with a cleaver. Remove the marrow in one piece if possible. Slice or dice it with a knife dipped in hot water.
Shortly before using, drop the marrow into the hot liquid. Set aside for 3 to 5 minutes until the marrow has softened. Drain, and it is ready to use. OIL , huile Classical French cooking uses almost exclusively odorless, tasteless vegetable oils for cooking and salads. These are made from peanuts, corn, cottonseed, sesame seed, poppy seed, or other analogous ingredients.
Olive oil, which dominates Mediterranean cooking, has too much character for the subtle flavors of a delicate dish. They are used in sauces, stuffings, and general cooking to give a mild onion taste. The minced white part of green onions spring onions, scallions, ciboules may take the place of shallots. If you can find neither, substitute very finely minced onion dropped for one minute in boiling water, rinsed, and drained. Or omit them altogether. They are always expensive. If you have ever been in France during this season, you will never forget the exciting smell of fresh truffles.
Canned truffles, good as they are, give only a suggestion of their original glory. But their flavor can be much enhanced if a spoonful or two of Madeira is poured into the can half an hour before the truffles are to be employed. The juice from the can is added to sauces and stuffings for additional truffle flavor.
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A partially used can of truffles may be frozen. The following table is for those who wish to translate French measurements into the nearest convenient American equivalent and vice versa:. There are big and little pinches. British dry measures for ounces and pounds and linear measures for inches and feet are the same as American measures. However, the British liquid ounce is. See table of equivalents and measuring directions.
To remove the smell of garlic from your hands, rinse them in cold water, rub with table salt. Repeat if necessary. See the note on garlic about how to remove the smell of onions from your hands. If you have oversalted a sauce or a soup, you can remove some of the saltiness by grating in raw potatoes.
Simmer the potatoes in the liquid for 7 to 8 minutes, then strain the liquid; the potatoes will have absorbed quite a bit of the excess salt. F RENCH COOKING requires a good deal of slicing, dicing, mincing, and fancy cutting, and if you have not learned to wield a knife rapidly a recipe calling for 2 cups of finely diced vegetables and 2 pounds of sliced mushroom caps is often too discouraging to attempt.
It takes several weeks of off-and-on practice to master the various knife techniques, but once learned they are never forgotten. You can save a tremendous amount of time, and also derive a modest pride, in learning how to use a knife professionally. For cutting and slicing, hold the knife with your thumb and index finger gripping the top of the blade, and wrap your other fingers around the handle. For chopping, hold the knife blade by both ends and chop with rapid up-and-down movements, brushing the ingredients repeatedly into a heap again with the knife.
To slice potatoes or other round or oval objects, cut the potato in half and lay it cut-side down on the chopping board. Use the thumb of your left hand as a pusher, and grip the sides of the potato with your fingers, pointing your fingernails back toward your thumb so you will not cut them. Cut straight down, at a right angle to board, with a quick stroke of the knife blade, pushing the potato slice away from the potato as you hit the board. The knuckles of your left hand act as a guide for the next slice. This goes slowly at first, but after a bit of practice, 2 pounds of potatoes can be sliced in less than 5 minutes.
To slice long objects like carrots, cut a thin strip off one side so the carrot will lie flat on the board. Then cut crosswise slices as for the potatoes in the preceding paragraph. To cut vegetables such as carrots or potatoes into julienne matchsticks, remove a thin strip off one side of the carrot and lay the carrot on the board.
Dicing Solid Vegetables. Proceed as for the julienne, but cut the strips, a handful at a time, crosswise into dice. Dicing Onions and Shallots a. Once mastered, this method of dicing onions or shallots goes like lightning. Cut the onion in half through the root. Lay one half cut-side down, its root-end to your left. Cut vertical slices from one side to the other, coming just to the root but leaving the slices attached to it, thus the onion will not fall apart. Then make horizontal slices from bottom to top, still leaving them attached to the root of the onion.
Various methods for cutting mushrooms are illustrated on this page. F OOD , like the people who eat it, can be stimulated by wine or spirits. And, as with people, it can also be spoiled. The quality in a white or red wine, vermouth, Madeira, or brandy which heightens the character of cooking is not the alcohol content, which is usually evaporated, but the flavor. Therefore any wine or spirit used in cooking must be a good one.
If it is excessively fruity, sour, or unsavory in any way, these tastes will only be emphasized by the cooking, which ordinarily reduces volume and concentrates flavor. If you have not a good wine to use, it is far better to omit it, for a poor one can spoil a simple dish and utterly debase a noble one. White wine for cooking should be strong and dry, but never sour or fruity. It has all the right qualities and, in France, is not expensive.
As the right white wine is not as reasonable to acquire in America, we have found that a good, dry, white vermouth is an excellent substitute, and much better than the wrong kind of white wine. A good, young, full-bodied red wine is the type you should use for cooking. Fortified wines, spirits, and liqueurs are used principally for final flavorings, As they must be of excellent quality they are always expensive; but usually only a small quantity is called for, so your supply should last quite a while.
Here, particularly, if you do not want to spend the money for a good bottle, omit the ingredient or pick another recipe. Dark Jamaican rum is the best type to use here, to get a full rum flavor. These wines should be the genuine imported article of a medium-dry type, but can be the more moderately priced examples from a good firm. If used in place of port or Madeira they tend to give an un-French flavor to most French recipes.
Because there are dreadful concoctions bottled under the label of brandy, we have specified cognac whenever brandy is required in a recipe, as a reminder that you use a good brand. You do not have to buy Three-star or V. P, but whatever you use should compare favorably in taste with a good cognac. And there is always that enjoyable problem of just which of the many possible choices you should use for a particular occasion.
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If you are a neophyte wine drinker, the point to keep in mind in learning about which wine to serve with which dish is that the wine should complement the food and the food should accentuate and blend with the qualities of the wine. A robust wine overpowers the taste of a delicate dish, while a highly spiced dish will kill the flavor of a light wine.
A dry wine tastes sour if drunk with a sweet dessert, and a red wine often takes on a fishy taste if served with fish. Knowledge of wines is a lifetime hobby, and the only way to learn is to start in drinking and enjoying them, comparing types, vintages, and good marriages of certain wines with certain foods. Wine suggestions go with all the master recipes for main courses. Here is a list of generally accepted concordances to reverse the process.
As this is a book on French cooking, we have concentrated on French wines. They may range from noble and full bodied to relatively light, depending on the vineyard and vintage. Sweet white wines are too often neglected. In the old days sweet wines were drunk with oysters. Local wines, vins du pays , often fall into this category.