Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home
No grand secret in this admission: when I really embrace a place or product, I can’t wait to share the good news. When available on television, the fabulous cooking duo of Julia Childs and renowned Chef Jacques Pépin have entranced us.
One need watch but one episode of Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home to appreciate how much Monsieur Pepin must miss his cooking accomplice, Julia, who died in 2004.
So many elements in the show are appealing. The in-depth look at each chosen subject – meat or fish or potatoes – is enormously rich in information, covering everything from what to look for in cuts of meat to the chemical reactions that impact cooking (don’t you know that’s why wine is a central part of their repertoire!)
It’s doubtful that you will sit with pen and paper to record the recipes, as the friendly banter and demonstrations between the two capture your attention. And besides, “sprinkle some sea salt” and “add some Vermouth” are not exactly precise directions.
No problem. Not only are DVD’s of the shows available, but a companion cookbook that is one of the finest I have ever seen. In-depth chapters cover soups and eggs, salads and sandwiches, potatoes and other accompanying dishes and vegetables, a wide selection of fish, fowl and meats and the pièce de résistance – desserts.
The book’s photography is excellent in illustrating the steps of cooking, methods of garnishing, preparation of meats and poultry and even directions for serving and carving. And then there are those little extras, like Julia explaining how to rid your hands of onion odors and Jacques showing us how to quickly peel garlic.
Both are geniuses in their arena and play off one another in a very entertaining way on the show – a bit like Maurice Chevalier’s duet with Hermione Gingold in Gigi.
“We met at nine. We met at eight.
I was on time. No, you were late.
Ah, yes, I remember it well.”
Jacques doesn’t worry about de-veining shrimp; for Julia it’s absolutely a must. Jacques always, always has his eye on special presentation of meals (could all of those years in Lyons and other restaurants be the reason?) Julia ‘collars’ her soufflés – not so with Jacques.
Trust me on this: if you love cooking; you’ll love the show and recipe book. If you don’t love cooking, you just might change your mind, after watching these cum laude chefs! Bon Appétit.
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