Monday, October 11, 2010

Lucky Finds: Vintage French Cookbooks Via My Mother

A lot of you guys already know how much I love the movie Julie and Julia and pretty much anything to do with Julia Child in general. (Yeah, I know. Me and pretty much everyone else who considers themselves a foodie or runs a food blog, right?)

I have, of course, read Julia's My Life in France. That and the movie are where I really learned to truly appreciate the whole process behind Mastering the Art of French Cooking and the development of her career as a food expert. Julia's tales of how she fell in love with food, fell in love with cultures different from her own, and ultimately learned to cook relatively late in life (her late 40's) were so rich and descriptive -- a true pleasure to read.

Then there was how passionate and positive she was about pretty much everything that happened during her journey. Her attitude really remained the same whether she was talking about a triumph or a setback. Like a lot of people -- including Ms. Julie Powell of Julie and Julia fame -- I naturally tend to let setbacks infuriate me, so I really feel Julia Child has taught me a lot that extends way beyond cooking basics. I would love to be just like her someday, the kind of person that inspires other people to do and be their best regardless of what they are looking to accomplish.

Anyway, after learning so much about Julia's Mastering, I naturally began to wish I had a copy to browse through. It's been on my to-buy list for a while now, but I really haven't had new cookbooks in the budget lately. It turns out my mom has a paperback copy she actually bought in France years and years ago back in the 60's though. That's it above along with another book on French provincial cooking she gave me to look at.

This is even one of the editions that still has the original artist's drawings in it!! Really, I was thrilled and consider it a real treat to see those, especially since I'm an artist myself.

I've always wanted to know more about French cooking in general. Growing up in California, I certainly know my share about Mexican food. I've also been borderline obsessed with anything to do with England for years, so I know lots about British cuisine as well. France is a relatively new obsession though. I'm still in the process of learning about its history, it's culture, it's language, and especially its culinary point of view. I really can't wait to try some of the recipes.

The advice on proper cooking techniques will be a big help as well. I've always wanted to get better at making certain foods (like omelets, for example -- more egg experiments for me!) and executing more advanced techniques. This is totally the book I'd like to learn it from, too.

Don't even get me started on how cool it is to me that this copy of Mastering belongs to my mother. Julie Powell's copy that she cooked from for her blog belonged to her mother as well. This copy actually came from France, too. Much, much better and more special than buying my own copy with no personal history or nostalgic value!
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