I am nearly through the Julie Child autobiography My Life in France and I can't help but think that she was a little nuts. Despite that she says she's writing for the average North America home cook, some of her recipes are insanely complicated and difficult, such as this one for bread:
Transform a home oven into a simulated baker's oven, with a hot surface for the bread to bake on, and some kind of simple but effective steam-generating contraption. These elements are necessary for one to get just the right rise and just the crisp crust of true French bread. Eventually Paul's Yankee ingenuity solved the first problem, when he slid a tile made of asbestos cement onto the oven rack to heat up with the oven: a perfect, affordable baking surface. But creating the all-important burst of steam, which forms the crust, was more difficult. Eventually we discovered that, by placing a pan of cold water in the bottom of the oven, and dropping a very hot brick (or stone or metal ax-head) into it, one could produce the perfect steam-puff. Eh voila! We had created the first successful recipe ever for making French bread ... in a home oven. What a triumph!Right. I'll get right on it.