Monday, August 31, 2009

In the Kitchen with Julia & Jacques


After strolling through the Mar Vista Farmers Market yesterday and sweating buckets, I was ready to leap into my air-conditioned car when I realized I was parked right in front of Sam Johnson's Bookshop. I'm addicted to browsing bookstores and I can spend hours in one and I've always wanted to visit this secondhand bookshop but their limited hours made it hard. It was finally open yesterday and boy am I happy I stopped by.

I snapped up hardcover copies of Baking with Julia based on Julia Child's PBS series and written by Dorie Greenspan and the 1976 edition of La Technique: An Illustrated Guide to the Fundamental Techniques of Cooking by Jacques Pepin.

Isn't this Danish Braid lovely? I can't wait to try and bake something out of Baking with Julia.

Baking with Julia has a really good intro to baking basics and there are huge sections devoted to breads, cakes (including instructions for a wedding cake), sweet and savory pastries & tarts and a smaller section on morning pastries & breads. Croissants, Brioche, Chiffon Cake and Pecan Sticky Buns here I come!

Oh, and French Apple Tart of course. I've tried making this in the past and I've never really succeeded. I hope Julia will provide me the magic touch.

La Technique is a practical and comprehensive guide to the techniques of cooking. Every technique is accompanied by extensive photos and instructions.

It'll teach you everything from how to hold a knife, how to decorate butter and fruits to trimming a rack of lamb. And Pepin illustrates different ways you can prep fish, chicken, beef, vegetables and even desserts.

With this book, I feel like I'm in good hands. When I come upon a recipe in the future that calls for deboning a whole chicken, I won't be as clumsy anymore and I just love the step-by-step photos. I don't think there's a book on the market right now that has such good illustrated instructions.

Go check out Sam Johnson's Bookshop. It has a great selection of secondhand books and a sizable cookbook section and David, the guy who runs the place, truly loves and breathes books. I had so much fun chatting with him about cookbooks and restaurants, both of which he knew a lot about.

Sam Johnson's Bookshop
12310 Venice Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90066
(310) 391-5047
Open Mon-Sat 11am to 6pm and Sun 12pm to 5pm

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