In and Out

I find Julia Child’s recipes to be unnecessarily fussy. It’s an endless succession of “put the pot in the oven, then take it out. Then put it in again, then take it out. In, out, in, out.”

I’m starting to suspect Julia Child was lacking in the department in which ladies who cook extremely well don’t usually experience any lack.

I’ve been feeling like I don’t cook enough because of our weekly support of local businesses through carryout, so I decided to cook my own birthday dinner for tomorrow.

10 thoughts on “In and Out”

  1. Happy Birthday!

    I forget where it was, but I read an article by a professional chef about Julia Child. Her take was that Julia was trained in a style of cooking that goes to great lengths to achieve slight improvements in flavor and that it’s not really a good book for home cooking. She said she uses Julia for inspiration, but rarely follows the recipes in full detail because she can simplify most of them with only minor sacrifices in terms of quality. I had been toying with buying The Art of French Cooking when I read that and decided to spend my money on something else instead.

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    1. That’s a really great insight. I can understand how these minute adjustments can make a difference but I’m not sure I have the palate to appreciate them enough to justify the fuss.

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    2. ” Julia was trained in a style of cooking that goes to great lengths to achieve slight improvements in flavor and that it’s not really a good book for home cooking”

      Well her contribution wasn’t so much in feasibility or practicality but to get Americans to take cooking a bit more seriously. A large portion of the country was pretty basic in the kitchen (and still is AFAICT). Back before things like PBS were widely available I read/heard references to her for a long time before ever seeing her show. When I did finally see it, the food seemed kind of too complicated but she was a lot of fun.

      “I’m not sure I have the palate to appreciate them enough”

      I’m sure I don’t, I like bold, strong flavors rather than the kind of flavor that’s coaxed out by half a teaspoon less salt and four grains of fennel in a muslin bag dropped in the broth for exactly 17 minutes….

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  2. As a bachelor who thinks that cooking is an annoying but necessary chore if I want to eat at home, I’ve found over the years that VIRTUALLY ALL published recipes have multiple unnecessary steps in them that can be eliminated without an appreciable difference in outcome quality.

    As for final appearance of the meal, who cares what it looks like if it tastes good?

    Yes, I’ll be cooking my own birthday dinner on Sunday.

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