It’s been almost thirty years since Julia Child’s Menu Cookbook was published, yet I can still remember how much I coveted it.

It came out a couple of years after The Way to Cook, a book that was, to me, so expensive, I asked my parents for it as a Christmas gift. (Happily, they obliged!)

When the menu cookbook came out, I was a struggling grad student–so a posh cookbook was definitely not on my menu of purchases. And when I graduated and started working, money was still tight. But I decided to go ahead and buy the cookbook. I’m so glad, now, that I did.

Julia Child’s voice is so clear in these books. The photography is gorgeous. It’s a pleasure just to leaf through this treasure of a book. I must confess, when I want to cook something special now, I’m almost surely going to turn to the internet, and not a book, for recipes and ideas. But when I just want to learn something, or simply appreciate the creativity and meticulousness of a legend, this is the kind of book I pull onto my lap.

This book was so clever for its time. How reassuring to have Julia lead you to the right combination of recipes for special occasions!

There’s one particular recipe in this book that I’ve made again and again, and tweaked a little so that I hope it’s OK to call it my own: Bourbon-soaked Chocolate Truffles. My adaptation appears in Betty’s Snickerdoodles & More (which is free, by the way–visit this page to learn how to download it).