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Is Julia Child's "The Way to Cook" accessible for a beginner?

I adore watching Julia Child on TV and was considering purchasing "The Way to Cook." I'm a beginning cook and while it's supposed to teach the foundation of cooking, some reviews say it's not really a beginners book. Is this true? My library doesn't have it and the last bookstore I went to didn't either, so I can't peruse it. What do you all think?

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  1. A very revered CH taught herself to cook using that book.

    1. I think it is a very good book for a beginning cook. Julia give clear instructions and the recipes are very good. Unless someone is a complete stranger to a kitchen and does not know how to boil water, it should be a really good foundation book.

      1. I think it is a great book for that purpose, but I'd take it out of the library and work with it to see for yourself.

        1. You can ask your library to get it from another library.

          7 Replies
            1. re: ChiliDude

              And even more appropriate, given that the OP's a librarian, yes?

              1. re: ellabee

                I am a librarian. Our ILL budget (mailing costs) has been cut, so that's why I was putting off doing that.

                1. re: kdlalib

                  I bet that's true in libraries across the country, with all the cuts. {sigh}

                  1. re: ellabee

                    Unfortunately it is. A library about an hour from me laid off their entire staff in December. The library in our capital has to close 2 weeks a year to meet their budget. It's a sad situation.

                    1. re: kdlalib

                      OT but our little library system in Oregon closed for TWO YEARS and is now being operated by one and a half paid staff and the rest volunteers. ILL went away YEARS ago.

                      1. re: c oliver

                        Isn't it sad?! Our library has been slightly protected because our revenue is derived from property taxes. However, as a town department, we compete with public works, the water dept, and the police. They're cutting our budget AGAIN this year. If it's a choice between the library's desires and that of public works and the police, we'll always lose.

          1. It's an excellent book!

            1. It is OUTSTANDING for the beginner. It teaches technique, it groups recipes by cooking method rather than main ingredient, it offers variations, and it shows everything in photographs taken from the cook's point of view. It's not so much a book as a cooking school. I recommend it most highly.

              2 Replies
              1. re: jmckee

                That sounds great! Technique is exactly what I need. Thanks!

                1. re: jmckee

                  Agreed - I have this book, use it often and it is a good book for a beginner. My only gripe is that to my taste, many of Child's recipes are a bit bland, but I also feel that way about many of Mark Bittmans' and many other Western European/American writers of "traditional" Western food.

                2. Check the index on amazon to see if the types of recipes are what you are looking for. Also, the book is quite heavy and large so that may be a deterant depending on your space.

                  1. Oh yes - great step by step instructions!

                    1. From someone who's been cooking since she was a little sprout, this is my hands-down FAVORITE cookbook.

                      Perfect & easily understood explanations for beginners, yet interesting & savvy enough for experienced cooks. One very nice feature is the "Master Recipe", followed by several variations. Another is Julia taking a somewhat lighter & healthier approach to a number of her original classic recipes.

                      Whether beginner or old hand, one can have a lot of fun with this book.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Bacardi1

                        Thanks! That's exactly what I wanted to know. For some reason, I'm enamored with Julia Child from watching her show and reading books about her. However, I've never cooked any of her recipes. I thought Mastering the Art of French Cooking would be a bit too intimidating for a newbie.

                        1. re: kdlalib

                          I agree with you. "Mastering. . ." can be a bit intimidating for anyone, not just a newbie - lol! It's not that the recipes are all that difficult, but many of them have a LOT of steps & can require a good deal of patience.

                          I have nearly all of Julia's cookbooks except for the recent ones where she was cooking with other chefs, & "The Way To Cook" is still my favorite.