Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Mastering the Art of French Cooking

Funny, I feel somewhat like a copycat. I feel like I've taken the idea of someone else's and copied it, verbatim. But, alas, I'm not a true copycat.

The idea I'm speaking of is Julie Powell's; the author of "The Julie / Julia Project" which laid the foundation of the Julie & Julia movie (which I'll shamefully admit I've watched at least 3 or 4 times since Christmas Day). Julie Powell cooked her way through Julia Child's famed cookbook, "Mastering the Art of French Cooking". This same cookbook has experienced a long-standing love in my family for many years. And I'm older than Julie Powell, so there.

I've been studying Julia Child's masterpiece for several days, reading it like a book. Cookbooks contain a plethora of information and Julia's is no exception. She diligently worked to bring the simplicity of French cooking to American cooks, and at the same time, helped to teach the simplicity of the most divine of cuisine - French. There's nothing stuffy or complicated about French cuisine, but rather taking an ingredient and exploring the almost endless possibilities. For example, eggs.

And with that I'm trying my hand at mayonnaise today. I'm committed to following the recipe word for word, after reading word for word multiple times. Eggs happen to be one of those ingredients that lay the foundation for so many food gems, like mayonnaise, Hollandaise, and gateaus (cakes). And since I'm only using the egg yolks for the mayonnaise, I'll use the whites to make meringues. It's a clear, dry day here today so it should be ideal.

Typically I try to photograph the process of recipes. But there's tremendous pressure selfishly applied to capture the greatest essence and state of a recipe. We'll just have to see about that.

There's certainly one thing I've discovered over the course of reading "Mastering the Art of French Cooking". I can't find recipes for the Crock Pot, or cupcakes, or frozen meatballs. And that's precisely what I love most about this cookbook. No fancy ingredients (with the exception of sweetbreads and foie gras), and simple technique. I can't wait.

And with that, off I go to the kitchen to make mayonnaise. And later, cupcakes.

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