Not Mastering the Art of French Cooking

I recently bought a copy of Julia Child et al.‘s Mastering the Art of French Cooking (50th anniversary edition boxed set), the cookbook that made Julia Child a household name (at least among the aspirational middle class). I’ve been scanning it for potential recipe pointers, saying to myself, “Nope — that one’s got mushrooms. No arthropods, no veal, no duck, no cognac.” It feels slightly sacrilegious, but I’ll get over it. There’s still more than enough to try out, and I’m only halfway through volume 1. Obviously there’s no way to get around the wine, though, but at least it’s used in large enough quantities that it’s not a problem to get rid of the unused portion.

No recipe posts today as I’m traveling this week. I did try making a quadruple batch of pie dough from the Four & Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book (enough for two double-crust pies), which did not go well. The Elsens said that this was the minimum quantity they would consider making in a food processor. My food processor is not a small one, but the flour alone filled the work bowl to the rim. Their recipe calls for about three times the liquid as is required, as well. I think in the future when a recipe calls for a standard all-butter pâte brisée, I will ignore their recipes and go for one of Kenji Lopez-Alt’s (either the vodka one he did for Cook’s Illustrated, although that one calls for shortening which I don’t use, or the non-alcohol version he developed at SeriousEats. There should be plenty of opportunities coming up this fall — I’m planning on making half a dozen or so pies. Reminder: I’m still taking requests!

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