Do you know Judith Jones?
The general public was introduced to iconic cookbook editor Judith Jones in the summer of ’09, thanks to the release of film Julie and Julia, a biographical feature about food authors Julia Child and Julie Powell. But those of us in the culinary world who knew the name for decades thought the portrayal of Jones in the film as Julia Child’s savior and the editor responsible for the publication of Mastering The Art of French Cooking provided a much-deserved skyrocket to national notoriety. Jones is not just one of the nation’s finest food editors; she is also the author of several original works. The two most recent are our picks for the finest of sensual food reading this fall.
The Pleasures of Cooking for One
reviewed by Amy Reiley
Jones’ latest book has a bittersweet tinge. As the book’s forward explains, the recipes in this autobiographical cookbook came out of necessity for Jones who was not sure how to cook for just herself after losing her partner, Evan in 1996. As it is for me, cooking for Jones was a sensual and sometimes romantic affair. It is a way of sharing an experience of all the senses with another. Yet Jones realized she could honor the pleasures of the table shared with her late husband by continuing to cook.
It was comments from readers about a section on cooking alone in Jones’ critically acclaimed The Tenth Muse (see below) brought Jones to the awareness that others longed to know how to indulge in the pleasures of cooking and dining alone. And so The Pleasures of Cooking for One was born.
Somewhere in the recesses of my dirty mind is a suspicion that the book’s title is a double entendre. I fear outright questioning an author of Jones’ caliber (and generation). But this is a woman not unfamiliar with the sensual side of food. I do think that deep down, a naughty little minx inside Ms. Jones chose her title for this very correlation—and for this I like the book even more!
The Tenth Muse: My Life in Food
review by: Paige Murphy
Jones invites readers into her world with her inspiring tale of the ways in which food shaped her life from her from childhood in New York through her college days in Paris.
I love the perspective on food Jones provides in this memoir. It is inspiring, the stories she shares with her readers about the many people who have influenced her life, particularly her life in food. Among the most endearing of the cast of characters she is Edie; her family’s cook of her childhood, a stern woman from Barbados who was forced to cook English style food for Jones’ overly picky mother (whose most despised flavor was garlic). Jones also shares her unique perspective of Julia Child—a relationship that began with Mastering the Art of French Cooking–is one of the book’s greatest insights. The passion for cooking and the intensity Jones feels for food comes through the pages of this autobiography in the most engaging way.
The book concludes with 50 of Judith’s favorite recipes, touched on throughout the book, including Jacques Pepin’s Boudin Blanc and James Beards Swordfish Olive Pasta. This is a great read for food industry professionals and food lovers alike.
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