Having seen the Movie, "Julie and Julia", I then read Julia Child's autobiography "My Life in France". What was I to do but by THE book, "Mastering the Art of French Cooking vol I"?
I don't intend to make all the recipes, but I made the first two and fell in love with Julia's style. Lots of information and the why and wherefore of what she tells you to do.
I highly recommend that any cook, beginner or chef, have this book if for only the first 40 or so pages. The recipes are all bonus.