Today is Julia Child’s 100th birthday and I must give a nod to the woman who single handily brought French food to the U.S.; the woman who the Wall Street Journal referred to as America’s kitchen fairy godmother.
Growing up in the Midwest, watching Julia cook “exotic ” meals like beef bourguignon inspired my mom, the quintessential housewife/ gourmet cook/ entertaining hostess; made a lasting impact on my culinary palette, and probably had something to do with my lifelong obsession with all things French. We even had our own version of the French Chef, Jean K. Jean was a lot like Julia- raspy voice, imposing figure of a woman, worked for the government, amazing in the kitchen. She brought Julia’s recipes and instructions our of the TV onto our table. She taught my mom to make dishes like “ glorified hamburgers”, Hot Fruit Salad and Steak Tartare. We would visit her house on Lake Mendota where she would prepare meals that to a kid growing up with casseroles were exotic and downright crazy. I had my first coq au vin at her table- a perfectly roasted chicken swimming in oil surrounded by tiny floating candles!
I am not the only American still enamored and inspired with Julia. Foodies across the country have been celebrating already.
125 restaurants in 35 states will offer special dishes as part of Julia Child Restaurant Week organized by Knopf.
Four new books have launched including Dearie by Bob Spitz and Appetite for Life by Noel Fitch
PBS has bundled Mastering the Art of French Cooking with DVDs of the French Chef.
Last but not least, Julia’s kitchen and set for her TV shows installed at the Smithsonian’s Museum of American History reopens to the public today as part of the celebration. ( Now you’ll be able to view the kitchen from all sides. )
So Thank You Julia and Happy 100th Birthday and Bon Appetit.
P.S. I just couldn’t resist. I think this says it all about Julia. Or as Julia would say “Balls!”
Courtesy of the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University.