Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Julia Child: The Way to Cook DVD Set

For Christmas, I received enough cooking DVD's to keep me busy for a very long time.  Among them was a re-release from Knopf called The Way to Cook by Julia Child.  I'm already a pretty huge fan of Julia Child but watching these has solidified my admiration for her as a teacher. They were first published on VHS in 1985 and are a collection of short 5 to 15 minutes segments on the basics of French cooking.  I find Mastering the Art of French Cooking a little overwhelming because the instructions are so specific and the recipes take pages of text and hours to interpret.  Even though Julia's original publication is a milestone achievement for American cooking, I use it more as a reference than a practical manual in the kitchen.

What I like about the DVD set is that Julia takes each task down to a bare minimum goal, such as sautéing mushrooms, stuffing a turkey, or chopping an onion.  While the results of each segment are delicious on their own, she also presents them as building blocks toward larger recipes. She's teaching technique and applicable skills here more than just showing you how to cook a single recipe as many cooking videos do. Instruction, as always, is given in a no nonsense matter-of-fact way making the ideas presented approachable and easy.  I'll be watching these DVD's over the coming months relentlessly, and I'm excited about the prospects ahead.  Check out these videos if you're in a culinary slump, or just want to broaden your horizons.

Please let me know about some of your favorite cooking DVD's in a comment below.

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