There are exactly 726 pages in Julia Child’s How to Master French Cooking, Volume One. I have read them all, page by page, much like I read a gripping, riveting novel. I have studied, highlighted and jotted notes in the margins.
One night I unexpectedly landed upon the boeuf bourguignon recipe. In brackets, it says “[Beef Stew in Red Wine with Bacon, Mushrooms and Onions]. Julia Child goes on to introduce the dish: “…Carefully done and perfectly flavored, it is certainly one of the most delicious beef dishes concocted by man, and can well be the main course for a buffet dinner.”
The recipe for Julia Child's bouef borguignon appeared on pages 315-317. There are 21 ingredients and 25 steps to follow, meticulously, to recreate this dish. Preparing the boeuf bourguignon recipe is an arduous and all encompassing process: it involves cutting, simmering, sautéing, slicing, sprinkling, tossing, cooking, pouring, skimming, mixing, and serving (not necessarily in this order).
As with the most enjoyable things in life, the anticipation of that object or experience takes an excruciatingly long time. When the actual experience appears, it is fleeting and passes in the blink of an eye.
Such was the case with Julia Child’s bouef borguignon. It took 4 ½ hours to prepare—4 ½ minutes for my family to devour.