Julia's Casual Dinners: Seven glorious menus for informal occasions

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9780375403378: Julia's Casual Dinners: Seven glorious menus for informal occasions
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Planning a large buffet for the holidays? An informal dinner? A barbecue? Julia offers a Buffet for 19 (featuring oysters and Turkey Orloff), a Chafing-Dish Dinner, and an Indoor/Outdoor Barbecue of butterflied lamb on the grill and homemade pitas. These menus--and four others--are packed with instructions on planning ahead, checking out staples, drawing up a shopping list, timing the meal, varying the menu, and creatively using leftovers. Instructive color photographs serve as a guide, showing ingredients, step-by-step procedures, and the finished dishes.

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Review:

For elegant food for informal occasions, try Julia's Casual Dinners, the third volume in her four-part retelling of Julia Child and Company and Julia Child and More Company. But don't let the term casual fool you. These meals are only relaxed in relation to Child's other food; the dishes here are not necessarily easy, cheap, or quick to prepare. For example, the picnic menu includes pâté en croute, which is expensive, time consuming, and must be made at least a day in advance. A picnic, however, is a casual occasion--and what a picnic it is! Child's basket contains a layered gazpacho salad, a fish terrine (in three layers with salmon, sole, scallops, and watercress), fresh vegetables, cheeses, three kinds of bread, spice cookies, and the above-mentioned pâté. Not all the menus are so ornate, however; the "Informal Dinner" of asparagus tips in puff pastry, veal roast, and sautéed spinach and zucchini seems simple by comparison. As usual, Child has suggestions that make intimidating entertaining appear possible, if not downright easy. For example, her "Buffet for 19" is carefully scripted, from when preparations should begin down to the location of the oyster bar and the timing of each course. Informal dining Julia Child-style may be a bit ambitious for some, but these meals will delight (no matter what your definition of casual is). --David Kalil

About the Author:

Julia Child, the grande dame of American cooking, was born in Pasadena, California. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Santa Barbara, California.

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