Filed under: Food and Recipes, General, Travels | Tags: Julia Child, Mastering the Art of French Cooking
Julia Child. I remember watching her when her show was still on PBS (or maybe it was reruns of her show) and thinking she was crazy – always sploshing wine over her counter, literally hacking a chicken to bits in front of a camera, and the way she crouched over the stove simmering sauces the entire time. I thought it was all a little ridiculous. That’s before I knew about food, before I found cooking as a great love in my life. I can look back upon those moments of watching her now and appreciate her vigor and passion for what she loved to do the most.
About a month ago, I was stuck in the Memphis Airport, waiting to catch the last flight of the day out to Washington, DC and out of sheer boredom, downloaded Julia’s My Life in France. What unfolded was me, sitting on the plane, laughing (yes laughing) outloud at a book. Now, this behavior is perfectly normal as long as I am at my house alone, but I was surrounded by a good number of complete strangers. I’m sure I ensued many strange looks. I was amazed to learn of Julia’s story, how she started off as a person that really knew nothing of cooking (like me!) and evolved into this iconic figure forever attached to the food world.
Yes, you’re wondering, have I seen THE movie? Of course…and then immediately drove to buy her cookbook afterwards. The movie was lovely; it made me happy. I can say that it wasn’t the best cinematic film ever. There were parts of the movie that were slightly lackluster…but it spoke to a connection with food, and how food brought these people and lives together. That’s it for me.
I’ve also visited Julia’s kitchen on that same trip to DC. I’ve been there staring at all her kitchen gadgets and her pots and pans, eyeing her counters and stove, and combing through her shelves full of cookbooks. And yes, at the Smithsonian, they describe why Paul was outlining all those pans in the end of the movie!
What has evolved out of Julia, her book, the movie, and her cookbook is a greater appreciation of cooking history, those who have influenced food today, and those who appreciate (just like me) how food can bring people together and make them happy – and that, quite frankly, makes me happy.
I won’t be sharing recipes from this book. If you love to cook, go buy it for yourself! The sheer volume of knowledge of Julia Child is slightly overwhelming, but it is one of the most thorough and instructional cookbooks that I own. One, that is sure, to stay with me for quite some time.
If you do own Julia’s book. I highly suggest the pork chops master recipe on 386 with the Lemon Juice and Herb Marinade found on page 376. More importantly, you must make the Gratin Savoyard on 524, do NOT omit any butter, eat in bliss, and immediately send yourself to the gym the next day (as I did).
In the words of Julia: Bon Appetit!
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