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Mar 27, 2007 09:05 AM

Mastering the Art of French Cooking question

This is probably a dumb question but here it goes............this cook book has peaked my curiousity but when I look it up I see Vol 1 and 2 plus there seems to be many different printings. Which is the one that everyone talks about? Do the recipes change in the different editions?

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  1. Volumes one and two are companions to each other. Both volumes equal the whole. People referencing JOC may be talking about recipes from either volumes. They were published sequentially but are not different editions per se. More people seem to have volume one. I've never heard any preference for different editions/printig on the boards.

    There are other related JC titles, many related to her PBS shows or later work. They often include reprints from the JOC.

    3 Replies
    1. re: JudiAU

      Just an editorial remark here--you mean MAOFC or something like that. JOC is "Joy of Cooking" which has also been published in two volumes in the mass market paperback edition.

      BTW, I don't think MAOFC has been changed from printing to printing. There may have been anniversary editions and such, but content probably is 99.9% unchanged.

      1. re: raj1

        except for one clarification, the newer editions have julia using and praising the food processor (and i think, standmixer) to make things. she sorta lightened up a bit with the later editions.

        1. re: eLizard

          When was Julia not light? Hahaha.

    2. To add to JudiAU's comments, I've heard that if you can find it, early editions are preferred, but I've never heard anyone say what the differences are. Read Julie Powell's "Julie & Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously" as an amusing, modern-day intro to using "Mastering the Art of French Cooking."

      3 Replies
      1. re: ballulah

        I have an edition that was published in the mid-1960s. I refer to it often. There was a "40th Anniversary" edition published in 2001. It doesn't seem to be much changed, but has comments from chefs like Alice Waters. By the way, I can't recommend "Julie & Julia". I found it was more about Julie and less about the food. It just shows that someone who writes an interesting blog is not necessarily a good writer of books.

        1. re: Seattle Rose

          The best book about the making of MTAOFC would have to be Julia's own "My Life in France" published last year. It's a memoir on the books. As I recall, the first volume represented the three chefs decision on what just "had" to be included, since they ran into more pages of manuscript than the publisher would use. Vol 2 followed a few years later, after Vol 1 proved so successful. Although I like MTSOFC, I find myself using Julia's "The Way We Cook Now" almost every week.

          1. re: TNExplorer

            I couldn't agree with TNE more. Just finished "My Life in France"--it illumintes everything we (or at least I) know about Julia--the two MTAOFC's, why the recipes included were chosen, what she did, how she did it, why she did it. And what a great read--I truly felt as though Julia were right next to me, explaining her life.

      2. To add on to what others have said, I do not believe the recipes have been changed over time in either Volume 1 or Volume 2. Introductions have been added over the years, but the text has remained the same.

        The two volumes cover different subjects, with most of the basics (soups, sauces, eggs, luncheon dishes, fish, poultry, meat, vegetables, cold buffet (i.e. mousses and terrines), and desserts) covered in the first volume, while the second volume expands upon these areas and covers more advanced/exotic preparations, including baking and breadmaking.

        Oh, and to follow up on another poster's comment re. the Julie Powell book on her blog, The Julie/Julia Project, the book itself didn't get the best reviews, but the blog is still online and it's a great read. Here's a link:

        2 Replies
        1. re: DanaB

          I luckily got hold of a small UK-only Penguin paper 2 vol.MAOFC.Never seemed to be available in Canada or the U.S. in this small format, probably due to Knopf's reluctance to tamper with a money spinner. Another Child book worth getting if MAOFC is too much is The Way to Cook.Love Child but saw Powell's work as a sad bit of celebrity worship of someone for whom celebrity never really paid as it could have.

          1. re: Kagemusha

            Julia never sought the celebrity she was accorded. She was an excellent example of a "real" star, as opposed to one created by the media. As she said many times, if it hadn't been her, it would have been someone else, because at the time her French Chef series came along, US was hungry for someone to bring fine cooking into the home kitchen. Being one of those that she taught to cook via her books and tv show, her explanations always were so clear and her manner so straightforward that she made even the most complicated preparations seem doable.

            My favorite of all her books is "From Julia Child's Kitchen," the first book where she mainly "cooked American" but incorporated the French sensibility she had learned at LCB. If you want a truly fail-safe roast turkey recipe, I highly recommend hers from that book!

            She became a friend and mentor to me after I got into the business, and I can also say that she was as generous and expansive in real life as she always seemed on her shows.

        2. I've had both volumes for years, and for whatever reason, I've used volume 1 much more than volume 2. MTAOFC certainly deserves much of the credit for the cook I've become. There was simply nothing like it back in the day. If it were published today, I'm not sure how it would stack up; most of us have a broader focus these days than simply French cuisine. On the other hand, all the technique is useful no matter what you're cooking. I wonder, if Julia were a young, budding chef today, what kind of book she would write.

          3 Replies
          1. re: pikawicca

            Me too, I refer to V.1 much more than V.2. In fact, I don't think I've made one thing out of V.2. Anyone have a must-try recipe from V.2?

            I'm still happy to have both to be more "complete." I found my books at a used bookstore for a very good price, and I see them at used stores all the time. Check in your local used bookstore or online.

            1. re: Carb Lover

              V2 seemed like the expansion book. The main thing I got from it was bread- amazing detail and discussion

              1. re: Carb Lover

                The Potatoes Anna and some of the other vegetable recipes are wonderful - I also remember a zucchini something that was delicious. I treasure having the two volume index because it is so complete.

                I second the "bread instruction" advice from another poster - it is quite complete.

            2. Some of these responses have gone off track from Suzie's question. If you want a complete Mastering the Art of French Cooking you have to buy both volumes. I don't think that recipes are duplicated ... readers of recipes in Vol. 2 that use a component from Vol. 1 are referred to Vol. 1 for the instructions to produce that component. The index to Vol. 2 includes all recipes from Vol. 1.

              While new editions of a book might change substantially (this is certainly true of medical, scientific, and legal texts and some textbooks that must be updated to reflect changes in the discipline), various printings of the same edition are usually unchanged, except for correcting errors found after publication.

              When a book is published a certain number of copies are printed ... this is the first printing. If sales warrant, additional copies will be printed ... these will be the second printing, the third printing, etc. A successful book might go through dozens of printings. I have a copy of Fannie Farmer from the 1930s that lists all of the printings (and the size of each printing) on the copyright page. It's a testament to the book's enduring popularity.

              Other posters who mentioned that the two volumes are completely separate but make up a whole are correct. Seattle Rose refers to her edition published in the mid-60s. This is probably the first edition. Volume 1 was published in 1961; Vol. 2 in the late '60s. I suspect that the only difference between the first edition and the 40th anniversary edition is the addition of Alice Waters' introduction that she refers to. References to stand mixers and food processors, which would be Julia Child's updating to include equipment that was fairly uncommon or nonexistent (not lightening up) when the first volumes were first published, might have been introduced in 2001 or in 1983 when a revised edition was published. The cover of the 2001 edition is tacky ... Julia Child's name has been made much larger than her co-authors.

              5 Replies
                1. re: Timowitz

                  ahhh, but over the years she did "lighten up," imho. Perhaps it was a poor word choice with respect to food processors and stand mixers. I believe later in life and recipe she didn't see the need for clarifying butter anymore, for example.....

                  1. re: eLizard

                    >>ahhh, but over the years she did "lighten up," imho.<<

                    In later books, such as The Way To Cook, Julia did give a nod to "lighter" preparations and the use of EVOO over butter in some cases. However, I do not believe that the proportions of the recipes were ever changed in later editions of Mastering the Art of French Cooking. None of the later versions were ever introduced, saying "new," "updated," "revised," etc. The table of contents in the 40th Anniversary edition of Volume 1 has identical page numbering to that of my 1964 edition. I don't have the newer version, so haven't done a recipe by recipe comparison, but to get back to the original poster's question, I think the later versions are identical, except for some additions to the chapter on "kitchen equipment" which in later editions discusses non-stick pans and food processors, and who wrote the introductions.

                    1. re: DanaB

                      I have my mother's Mastering the Art. I love it because it has all kinds of penciled notes in it, some of them funny. The first 2 things I made from it were clafouti with apples and cognac and the lamb roast with mustard and soy sauce coating. Both magnif. I still use those recipes.

                      1. re: oakjoan

                        Oakjoan, we had the lamb w/ mustard sauce-soy sauce tonight and loved it as much as we did 40 years ago.