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Mar 25, 2009 06:14 PM

The best French cookbooks?

My husband. who is a former Italian chef, is looking to begin doing classic French cooking at home. What are the best cookbooks for French cuisine?

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  1. Maybe Mastering The Art Of French Cooking Volumes 1 (Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle, Simone Beck) & 2 (Julia Child) to start? That's what I go to.

    1. Julia Child's "Mastering the Art of French Cooking", Patricia Wells' "Bistro Cooking", Jacques Pepin's "La Technique"

      1 Reply
      1. re: Amuse Bouches

        Agree totally with always_eating and amuse bouches - those cookbooks should get him thru the course. I went almost all the way thru Julia's cookbooks and still make a lot of things from them. Can't go wrong.

        1. I would also suggest looking at Olney's books, and Elizabeth David's books about French cooking. The latter have very useful bibliographies, including French cookbooks (both those in English and those in French) that she recommends. I agree though that to learn classic French cooking, the Julia Child books, because of the specificity of the instructions, is probably the way to go.

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          1. re: MMRuth

            I agree with MMR's suggestion of Elizabeth David's books. Wonderful.

            Another favorite, although it's limited geographically, is Paula Wolfert's Cooking of Southwest France.

            I also love Robert Courtine's Hundred Glories of French Cooking and Julian, of course. Courtine's book covers many of the most famous French dishes.

            Oh, and don't forget the Roux Brothers' books.

          2. In addition to the books mentioned above, I would also consider James Peterson's "Glorious French Food" and Madeleine Kamman's "The New Making of a Cook."

            Although I think Mastering the Art of French Cooking belongs in any cook's library, those books were written at a time when many ingredients that are now easy to find were not. Her cassoulet, for example, assume you're neither going to be able to purchase nor want to make your own confit and that's certainly no longer the case.