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Sales of “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” sizzle following success of “Julie & Julia”

Written By Scott Joseph On August 15, 2009

The popularity of the movie “Julie & Julia” has sparked a renewed interest in the cookbook at the center of the story, the 1961 “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” by Julia Child with Louisette Bertholle and Simone Beck. The book, now in its 49th printing, shot to the number one spot on Amazon.com’s list of 100 best-sellers following the movie’s August 7 opening. It also has the top spot at Barnes & Noble’s online list.

The movie is actually based on two other books: the memoir “My Life in France,” which Child wrote with her grand nephew Alex Prud’Homme, and “Julie & Julia” by Julie Powell, which is based on a blog by Powell that chronicled her project to cook all 524 recipes in “Mastering” within the span of one year. Both “My Life” and the Powell book have also seen spikes in their sales numbers, but nothing like the 300 percent jump of the 48-year-old cookbook.

Still considered a classic, Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” was a breakthrough in that it was directed at an American audience that to that point was not well-versed in French cooking.

Royalties from the sales of the cookbook go to the Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts, which supports culinary education programs and scholarships.

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