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Julia Child The Way to Cook

Do you have this book? Is it good, instructive and basic? It seems interesting. I just got it as a gift.

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  1. I LOVE this book; my copy is battered and besmirched. The layout -- with many photos from the cook's point of view -- was very innovative for the time. And I like the lower-fat renditions of some of the dishes, without the "preachiness" we'd get from lesser lights than Julia.

    Very good book. Where I turn when I need to know how to do something fast.

    7 Replies
    1. re: jmckee

      Me too. I taught myself to cook using it, and almost 20 years later, still use it quite often.

      1. re: MMRuth

        Same here! Instruction and inspiration in one highly accessible package. Got it through a book club for some ridiculously low price (in hardcover, no less), and it has paid for itself a hundred times over.

      2. re: jmckee

        I'm Asian so I'm not very familiar with French/American cuisine. I love all of her shows, but wonder if the book is accessible for me?

        1. re: pearlyriver

          It is very clearly written and not at all like "haut"--the emphasis is on what she really likes, and that's down-to-earth. It's a different perspective from the very first two volumes of Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

          1. re: penthouse pup

            Plus there are a lot of photos to go along with the clear directions on the techniques.

          2. re: pearlyriver

            It's cooking -- not necessarily French, except for the emphasis on technique. I think you'd do just fine with it.

        2. I gave it to all my kids and to my grandson's wife. I use mine all the time, even now. The recipe for caramel sauce is simply outstanding. It is my basic how-to book.

          1. Excellent book. Wonderful for learning a new technique, thanks to detailed instructions and photos, and then recipe adaptations to expand your abilities once the basic technique is mastered. Enjoy!

            1. Have this book but don't know where to start. Any recommendations on fav recipes from TWTC?


              2 Replies
              1. re: lulou23

                This book was her post-French take on cooking--more from an "American" perspective, and often with simplifications over the older (but obviously invaluable) "Mastering the Art of French Cooking."
                Why not pick the kind of meal you like generally, and then see her take: is it chicken you're after? Her recipes for stews are easy and excellent...Fish? Her advice about sole is flawless, her insights about lobster are helpful, her chapter on red meat reflects her tastes in cooking things without fuss. Don't expect anything about Italian cuisine or "ethnic" (Indian, Thai, etc)...It's all rather "down-home" and not in any way intimidating (at least that's how I look at it, having used the book since its publication twenty years ago.)

                1. re: lulou23

                  I recently made her split pea soup again and it was easy and tasty. (I was given a bone-in ham, already thawed).

                2. Have never used it much, but everything I've tried has been quite good.

                  @lulou23: the zinfandel of beef is an old favorite and a good place to start...as long as you have some time to spend in the kitchen. Definitely a weekend dish. IIRC, it's best if you go a little short on the tomatoes to really focus the wine. And the variation is even better...mushrooms and pearl onions?

                  I think I usually do it on some mashed potatoes with a few roasted garlic cloves worked into them. A side of green beans sauteed with minced shallots and ground almonds pairs well.

                  1. The Way to Cook was one of the cookbook of the month back in September of 2007, so you'll find some recipe reports/recs on it:

                    A couple of my favorites are Chicken and Mushroom Roulades http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/4463...

                    and Lobster à l'Américaine

                    1 Reply
                    1. Love it. The potatoes dauphinoise recipe is my absolute favorite potato recipe. It is decadent and delicious, always a crowd pleaser (once the temperatures drop a bit).

                      1. I'm a cookbook collector, & out of the hundreds (maybe even thousands by now) cookbooks I own, this remains my HANDS DOWN FAVORITE.

                        Both instructive/basic, yet has infinite appeal for experienced cooks. One of the very best basic/mainstream cookbooks one can own. I've used mine so often it's literally in pieces.

                        Can't recommend this book strongly enough to anyone - regardless of experience.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Bacardi1

                          Oh - & ever since this book first came out, the recipe for "Steam-Roasted Goose with Port Wine Gravy" became our annual tradition for Christmas dinner. It turns out a no-fuss no-muss PERFECTLY roasted goose every time. Have never had a Christmas without it.

                        2. this is the last of her cookbooks that actually sound like her. after this point they seemed to be written by ghost writers with her input but just didnt seem to have her voice.

                          though to be fair she was almost eighty when it was published.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: hyde

                            I'm so glad to see the revival of this topic, especially for the reason you mention - yes, this book is pure, distilled Julia. I can't help but hear her voice when I read it, unlike most of the other cookbooks with her name. It's wonderful, and I always come back to it.

                          2. Have never used this cookbook, but vividly remember watching Julia when she first came on tv... in B&W, on public television. Remember her dealing with washing greens of some sort. She had them in a collapsible metal basket and was dunkinig up and down in a sinkful of water. She started talking about how to dry the greens so salad wouldn't be soggy... WAY before someone made a salad spinner. She shook off some of the water and proceeded to WHIP the basket over her head... throwing water EVERYWHERE! You could actually see the water running down the camera lens! TOO funny, but effective?!?

                            1. Brilliant book, one of my automtatic wedding gift books. Best pot roast EVER.

                              1. I realize this thread is about her book The Way to Cook, but I have to post something funny I saw on her Cooking with Master Chefs TV program. The guest chef was a guy named Jimmy Sneed and he was stuffing a turkey leg. As he was boning out the turkey leg and thigh he was describing how to scrape the meat off the thigh bone and then as you got down to the join between the leg and thigh you had to take the knife and 'circumcise' the leg bone. On the show both of them were sort of leaning over the turkey leg and when Sneed said that you could see Julia stop watching, lift her head up, look at Chef Sneed and say "circumcise"? He said, "it's a technical term". They both chuckled and went on with the recipe.

                                The other time Julia made a funny comment was when Martha Stewart was on the program and making a wedding cake. As she was cracking eggs she went on and on about how good the eggs were that her chickens laid. Julia said, "next time, bring some". Julia's 100th birthday would be next week, on August 15th.

                                1. There's a roasted turkey recipe in this book that we love. I think it's called "Laid Back Turkey." You bone the turkey, broil the meat side, then flip it on top of some stuffing, skin side up, and roast it. It does require a bit of prep work, but cooks really quickly. I used to make it all the time but now I have at least one vegetarian at the Thanksgiving table so I keep the stuffing separate.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: AmyH

                                    We've made that one before. Based on that dish, one of our guests suggested that we open a restaurant. It is absolutely worth making.

                                  2. Great, great cookbook and one of my go-to faves! Is this the one with the hard-cooked egg technique that calls for bringing to a boil and setting aside (lid on) for 17 minutes? I am at work and don't have my copy with me today...if so, for that tip alone this is THE book. But I also treasure it for it's attitude, practicality and imagination.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: LJS

                                      Agree!! I love the way it's set up - a basic recipe, & then all of the variations you can make from that one basic recipe. Whether you're a beginner or experienced cook, you can have a field day with the basic chicken saute recipe alone.

                                    2. I bought mine at a yard sale. I am going to make the free form apple tart this weekend. I like the classic desserts and illustrations. PBS is having a three hour special on Julia Child next Aug 15.