The other, her first book, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, is a softcover edition from the 1980s, but a classic nonetheless.
Originally published over 40 years ago, it contains 547 recipes and recently catapulted a blogger to fame through the book and movie "Julie and Julia" (the first major motion picture based on a blog).
Having spent time in France, I totally understand how the French (and Julia Child) take food so very SERIOUSLY. Enjoying dinner is an evening's total entertainment, and preparing dinner is much, much more than the means to an end; it is a well respected art.
Racing through over 500 recipes in less than a year, as Julie Powell did, trivializes the deep traditions contained in the art of French cooking. It's like turning a multi-course feast into a hot dog eating contest.
My own passion for French cooking was spawned in the 1970s, apprenticing in commercial kitchens in Paris. For a year-and-a-half as a teenage apprentice, I was allowed to do little more than prep vegetables. Peeling endless piles of carrots, onions and potatoes, and cleaning more leeks and mushrooms than I can count, I stirred a sauce only ONCE, and made vinaigrette only a handful of times. Like Julia, I didn't attend culinary school until I was older (in my 40s, she was 37). I still had the passion, but also the maturity to appreciate how professional training could complement that passion.
This is the first time I have actually owned the book, and I'm keeping it. It represents a labor of love, and many years of her hard work and dedication. I will probably never make all of the recipes it contains, but will savor and appreciate every recipe, description and helpful hint in the spirit in which it was intended.