Culinary History Collection


Current Editor: Cynthia D. Bertelsen

Issue 4 Spring 2003


Book Reviews
by Sandy Bosworth

Julia's Kitchen Wisdom by Julia Child with David Nussbaum

Required reading? Absolutely? Learn food preparation and cooking techniques from Julia Child.

Julia's Kitchen Wisdom by Julia Child with David Nussbaum provides answers to many of our food preparation questions. For example, have you ever want to know:

Solutions to these questions and other "best" cooking techniques are discussed in each chapter of Julia's Kitchen Wisdom. A master recipe is used to illustrate each technique in this book. Julia suggests that one should add your own ideas to these recipes to create fantastic entree, vegetable, bread, soup, or dessert.

I have chosen three items that Julia is enthusiastic about to share with you:

  1. Hydroponic lettuce (found in a bag with the root attached)
    Julia suggests that one way to keep washed greens fresh is to clean them, to pack the leaves loosely in a plastic bag with some sheets of paper towel, and to refrigerate.
    The greens will stay fresh for two to three days.

  2. Meat, poultry, and fish
    The technique of sautéing is the quickest and easiest way to cook all meats. Julia's directions for sautéing are: "You pat it dry, plop it into a hot pan, cook it rapidly on one side, then the other, until it is nicely browned and just done."
    She includes an excellent recipe for sautéed beefsteaks and answers the question - when is it done? "Test rapidly and often, since meat can overcook very quickly. Press it with your finger. If it feels squashy, like raw meat, it is very rare. As it cooks it becomes springy-when lightly springy it is medium, and if there is no spring it is well done."

  3. Bread
    Julia describes and gives us a recipe for basic white bread. Julia discusses kneading, resting, temperature, and how to form loaves. She answers the question - when is the bread done? The loaves should feel light, they should make a pleasant thump when tapped, but they are not done until an instant-read thermometer, left in for several seconds, reads 200 degrees F. A recipe for basic white bread is used to illustrate these techniques

Julia Child doesn't miss a beat in expertly sharing the knowledge and techniques she has developed over the years.

Julia's Kitchen Wisdom
Publisher: Alfred A. Knoph 2000
Price: $19.95

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