In 1961, Craig Claiborne, the New York Times food editor (and the first man to hold such a post among American newspapers), reviewed a just-published volume from Alfred A. Knopf: Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle and Simone Beck. Claiborne described the volume (priced at $10) as “probably the most comprehensive, laudable and monumental work on the subject” of French cuisine written in English.
He praised the the recipes (“glorious”), noted the six pages devoted to the preparation of a cassoulet (“not a wasted syllable”), and complimented the line drawings (“[they] supplement and speak more eloquently than words”). And he predicted that the book, almost a decade in the making, would “probably remain as the definitive work for nonprofessionals.”
And indeed, he was right.