Friday, September 01, 2006

10 Things I Learned From ... Julia Child

I suppose this is another 10 Things that's long overdue. Between nasty Chinese meals and work I haven't had a chance to think of a proper 10 Things until now. Julia Child is the Ur-Mother of all television cookery and her good natured love of cooking and food is infectious. I think her school marmish accent led folks to think that the recipes in Mastering the Art of French Cooking, would be hoity toity. But if you read the book, the recipes are completely straightfoward and easy to master. She was such a great television presence because on paper, she would be such a horrible television presence - big boned, squinty, with kind of crazy hair.

Ten Things I Learned From Julia Child

1. How to make cream puffs. This was one of the first things I made from Mastering the Art of French Cooking. What seems like a elegant dessert really just requires some vigorous stirring.

2. Additionally, how to make pastry cream that goes into the cream puffs.

3. Don't be afraid of butter. While the woman doesn't reach Paula Deen levels of butter love, she uses quite a bit of butter. Rather than reduce the level of butter in a dish, she just recommended eating that dish less.

4. Always have a catchphrase. I loved how she always ended her shows with a cheery, "Bon Appetit." I think there was a week I would try and start every meal with that same cheery "Bon Appetit." Sadly I didn't have the gravitas to pull off the Frugal Gourmet's "I Bid You Peace."

5. Free to and me. Julia was seriously the first grownup in my life who didn't have children or wasn't planning on having children. For a little Asian kid, that was mindblowing.

6. Things go wrong in a kitchen. One of the things she always asked her guests was if X went wrong with their dish, how would you fix it. Coming from a long line of excellent cooks who made things from memory and therefore things that were foolproof for them, I didn't know things went wrong in the kitchen.

7. There are some things too complicated to make. She had one lady who made crosissants. There were twelve million steps.

8. Sole en papaiotte. Sooo good. Soooo moist.

9. Keeping the ingredients cold when making pastry. She said it first on tv.

10. Chill the heck out. What was wonderful about Cooking with Julia was that things went wrong in her kitchen. THings fell off the cutting board and onto the floor. That didn't get in the way of Julia's good time and she took every disaster with good cheer.


Anonymous said...

That was great. I have less experience with Julia than you. Here is my list of my top seven snappy catch phrases that just didn't catch on . . .

1. Let's get yummy!
2. From fork to plate to mouth, I bid you a well-balanced journey.
3. This is J saying, eat well and share with others.
4. Until next week morselhounds!
5. Cooked with love and eaten with gusto, here's to a great meal.
6. Next time, you're cooking! Y'all make me something good!
7. Good night and good duck.

ScottE. said...

As I'm coming late to Julia Child, the most recent thing I learned in MY LIFE IN FRANCE...the unconditional love she had for her husband Paul, and that if it weren't for him and her willingness to move around with him after they were married, we probably wouldn't be having this blog discussion.

I wish I could have known Julia in person.

OH, and rumor has it that there might be a movie in the works about her?!!?!?!

DC Food Blog said...

Who would you cast as Julia Child? The only person I can think of is Kathy Bates or Camryn Manheim.