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Inspired by the movie Julia & Julie

After the movie Julia & Julie came out, it made me wonder...if you were going to cook through all of the recipes in a cookbook in one year, which one would you pick?

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  1. The one with the most butter. I went to the Le Creuset outlet in Yemmassee and got my a pot!

    1. Funny, I had a similiar thought after seeing this movie. I'm tempted to cook my own way through Julia, but being newly single that's probably not a good idea for my waist line!

      1. I decided to start with Beouf Bourguignon. I followed it exactly, no shortcuts, and it was amazing. A lot more work than your average stew, but this is not your average stew! Totally worth the time and steps involved. I'm not sure which recipe I'm trying next. I know I can't do the whole book...I love me some butter, but I can't bring myself to use that much! My husband doesn't care for french food, or many vegetables, so I'm out of luck getting him to try any of it.

        1 Reply
        1. re: ChrissyMc

          I made that last week. You're right--it's not your average stew. My husband ate it three times. By choice.

        2. Did you mean which Julia Child cookbook? in which case the answer is "Cooking with Julia" which is more fun that the original (sorry, but fun does come into it!)

          Or did you mean which of any cookbook? in which case, the answer is either of Liz Hodgeman's 'Beat This!' or 'Beat That!' books...also because they are fun....and delicious...and have a great deal of butter involved!

          1. TigerLLO, great post!! I think everyone who enjoyed that film was wondering the same thing after seeing it. I would pick The Silver Palate Cookbook.

            1 Reply
            1. re: apple342

              Me, too. The Silver Palate recipes are easy, and yet there's always something special about them.

            2. That's an easy answer for me this year....Bon Appetit Y'All by Virginia Willis. I've already cooked about 40 of her recipes from that book and more will be made during the September COTM run. It's an outstanding collection of Southern recipes with a French "inclination."

              1 Reply
              1. re: Gio

                I propose for the title of your book and movie, "Gio and 'Ginia. Y'all!"

                40 is a lot of recipes! Do you know how many the book has in total?

                I have complete confidence that you'll finish cooking through BAY'A in no time, even if you haven't officially declared it as a project the way Julie did! You're well on your way, and now that it's COTM, you'll have a lot of company cooking through it. I can't wait to pick out a couple of recipes to start with. Late summer is the time of year where there's a lot of overlap between what the fresh produce that is available in the South, and what's available in the Upper Midwest where I live, so, the timing should be perfect. Should be fun! I hope a lot of people are able to join in.

                As for me, it would be Mai Pham's Pleasures of the Vietnamese Table. I just love the stories in that book and everything I've tried from it has been great. I don't think I've tried 40 recipes from it, but I've tried a lot. And, a lot of the recipes fit into or are easy to adapt around my dietary considerations.

                However, let me tell you, even if I wanted to pursue such a project (which I wouldn't, since the idea has been "done"), I know it would take a toll on my dear husband, who, is so grateful when a new COTM rolls around each month as he's so sick of whatever book I've been cooking so intensely from for a month. In fact, we usually get bored after two weeks. So, I can't imagine trying to do it all in one year.


              2. IF I were to do that--unlikely as I am way too multi-focused (sounds better than un-focused)--I too would probably choose The Silver Palate Cookbook or The New Basics.

                If I were to blog about it, however, I would take cover, to protect myself from all the slings and arrows and general outrage that might be directed at my lack of seriousness, shoddy skill, shallowness, stupid youth (I wish--for the youth, that is), sheer nerve, sacrilege, self-absorption, supreme unworthiness to cook and blog on this planet. This is something I learned from all those Julie-haters out there.

                But it is Sheila and another Julee who are my Julia. I have learned a lot from Child and her books over the years but it is Lukins and Rosso who taught me to cook. It was the first cookbook I purchased, and I've cooked many, many, many of the recipes over the years. Many have become staples in my repertoire, and I even won my husband's stomach, and possibly his heart, with one Chicken Monterey, a story he still recounts (he had never been around anyone who really cooked so he was quite awed). My original SP is taped and tattered. When we first spotted the 25th anniversary edition in a bookstore, I picked it up and showed DH, and he promptly took it from me and added to the stack he was about to purchase.

                8 Replies
                1. re: nomadchowwoman

                  That is such a sweet story about the 25th anniversary edition. You still kept the original one, though, right? Are the recipes the same in both?


                  1. re: nomadchowwoman

                    That is a great story and I agree, I too found that I felt less intimidated using their book.
                    My first of theirs was Good Times, it too is a mess, I actually fell asleep outside, left it in a lawn chair, and the next am the sprinklers got it. I just dried it out and although its pretty fat, I still use it.

                    The recipes that got me recognition was the Seafood Lasagne, and Broiled Oysters wtih Arugula puree and Champagne Sabayon.
                    I did switch a few things, like spinach for the arugula, and in the lasagne I did not add the little neck clams. There is so much seafood in that dish it's just not needed.
                    But the flavors are terrific,and both were impressve enough to gain the respect of a chef that was over for Christmas dinner.

                    Is the 25th edition a new/different cookbook (new recipes) or is it the Silver Palace CB republished?

                    1. re: chef chicklet

                      Same recipes.
                      I also love the Good Times cookbook, and it's got the scars to prove it! I have not tried the recipes you mention, but the seafood lasagne especially sounds intriguing so I'm going to put it on my to-try list. From GT, I have made the coffee blonde brownies a gazillion times, long since committed it to memory. I'm not a big sweets eater, but everyone always asks for these.
                      But I'm going to open up GT in a little bit and get some ideas for the next few weeks.

                    2. re: nomadchowwoman

                      It is so nice to see that others feel the same way about The Silver Palate and their GT cookbook! Very special books to me and certainly some "good times" have been had making the wonderful recipes of Julee and Sheila. Raspberry Chicken might be my all time favorite. There are *so*many gems !! I , too, got the 25th anniv, although I still use the old original.

                      1. re: nomadchowwoman

                        After reading your reply, I decided to order The Silver Palate Cookbook. I loved your story! My newest cookbook addition should be delivered anyday. Yay!

                        1. re: ChrissyMc

                          The original carrot cake recipe in the Silver Palate ckbk is the best, so don't miss it; they changed it in subsequent books.

                          1. re: ChrissyMc

                            OMG, I just read that Sheila Lukins died yesterday.

                            1. re: nomadchowwoman

                              OMG!! Just read that also!! Shocked! Esp after we have all been chatting about how special and dear these books have been to us and I'm sure, to many others.

                        2. I played this game with myself when I was reading Julie Powell's blog in real time.

                          And the answer then is the answer now: None. I'd have to live about ten life-times to cook selected recipes in all the books I have (and those I no doubt will acquire). And that's just "selected" recipes...ones that sound good. I don't have one book where every single recipe sounds like a dish I want to eat. So I don't see spending time or $$ to make food I'm not particularly excited about.

                          That said, the one cookbook that gave me pause before saying "no, I just couldn't do this," was "The Splendid Table" by Lynn Rosetto Kasper.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Old Spice

                            I LOVE "The Splendid Table." It is my favorite Italian cookbook, even over any by Marcella Hazan. I am absolutely crazed for TST's mushroom lasagne. And many others.

                          2. I would be hard-pressed to choose a cookbook other than Mastering the Art of French Cooking to do a cook-thru.

                            I've always had a soft spot in my heart for The Joy of Cooking -- especially the pre-1984 versions -- but doing a cook-thru with that would be duplicitous and overwhelming. Beside, one would have to get a hold of a groundhog! (For those unfamiliar with "The Joy," they *indeed* give instructions for cooking stuff like groundhog, squirrel, and lots of other cool stuff in the same vein.

                            1. I would probably do one of the Fannie Farmer books. Those were the ones my grandma always directed me to if I needed a recipe for something.

                              That sounds fun actually.......

                              I've had another idea to do a sort of cook-through with cheese. Documenting attempts to make macaroni and cheese with every single type of cheese I can get, just to see what happens. I've already played around a bit, but just with cheddars.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: Popkin

                                Ive been cooking through Charmaine Solomon's complete Asian and more lately, through Larrousse Gastronomique but I admit I do skip those recipes that call for groundhogs, squirrels and other such beasts!

                              2. Beard on Bread would be fun, and a manageable project.

                                1. I know Jeff Smith has fallen out of favor, but I would start at the top and cook through the three cookbooks....

                                  The Frugal Gourment on Our Immigrant Ancestors
                                  The Frugal Gourmet Cooks Three Ancient Cuisines
                                  The Frugal Gourmet