Posts Tagged Julia Child
The weekend is a good time for grazing. This is a summary of some of the delightful Blog articles I have been reading during the week. I invite you to graze through these, and also through the archives of the creative writers who wrote them.
Food canning equipment, tool carts, compost bins, growing kits, cider and fruit presses, the Squeezo Strainer, food dehydrators, juicers, smokers, cold frames, greenhouses and so many more innovations contribute to making our lives organized and healthier and to turning our homes and properties into an oasis where the living is good.
All of these things exist because we are creative and because we have a unique ability to adapt to our environment. In truth, foodies, homesteaders and gardeners who write about their experiences are telling the ongoing story of our inventive spirit. On their pages, every tool and appliance is like a paint brush; ready to express a new vision.
You can access the entire Weekend Highlights series to date by clicking on that category in the sidebar at left.
I wrote about Julia Child earlier this week, in honor of her 100th birthday. Food lovers, chefs, amateur cooks and even gardeners know exactly who this great dame of fine cuisine was. Even those who have never seen her television shows have a precise idea of who we are talking about.
There are timeless pioneers. Their teachings and example remain with us through the ages, as steadfast and immutable as our deepest traditions. For writers, bloggers, gardeners and lovers of the cooking arts, they inspire our explorations and musings, sometimes closely, sometimes from the deep recesses of the sub-conscious mind.
Earlier this week, I also posted a spur-of-the-moment invitation on our Facebook page asking fellow bloggers to write an article about Julia and promised to include their posts in today’s review. I wish I had posted my invitation directly on this blog since not all of you are on Facebook.
The Sustainable Sweet & Savory Gourmet responded, saying, “I am up for a challenge.” On Wednesday, Julia’s birthday, she offered, Ode’ To Julia… “Bon Appetit,” an unexpected angle as the author’s first encounter with Julia Child occurred when she was a child. Yet this little girl watched and watched repeatedly and felt inspired to try and try, confidently, and with the carefree heart of a child who is not so much concerned with the results as with the joy of replicating, even pretending.
“My earliest memories of Julia Child was on Saturday and Sunday mornings; after cartoons, Solid Gold & Soul Train…’ begins the author. “Channel 9 (PBS) would host a series of cooking shows that included Jacques Pepin, Martin Yan, and of course…Julia Child!… I’d then try to recreate what I saw on TV, producing what my mom called a “stinky mess” in the kitchen… At the age of 8, watching these shows of Julia and friends on PBS gave me a little extra confidence to try something new… “
Reading the author’s perspective brought many thoughts to mind. As adults, do we not sometimes, perhaps often, take recipe books and instructions manuals too seriously? What if we approached more of our daily duties with the spirit of the child who imitates a great chef or a great musician or a great architect? What I mean is that we sometimes fail to get in the spirit of the moment and in the spirit of those who have come before us, our mentors, whoever they may be. It is as though we merely follow instructions, when we could settle in the mood and confidence of the master instead. [Read Ode’ To Julia… “Bon Appetit.”]
Who else mentioned Julia this week? O Julia, Julia! Wherefore art thou Julia? Ha, yes…
Foodimentary reminds us that August 15, Julia Child’s birthday, is also National Lemon Meringue Pie Day.
And there, smack in the middle of a list of memorable August 15th events and birthdays, “1912 – Julia Child was born. American cooking authority, cookbook author, TV Cooking show host, etc. During World War II, she also worked for the OSS from 1941-1945 (The OSS is the forerunner of the CIA).”
She stands amongst other remarkable legends: John Torrey (1796), first professional botanist in the New World; Crisco is introduced by Procter & Gamble in 1911; Sgt. Edward Dzuba (1943) receives the Legion of Merit award because of his talent to use food scraps in unusual and appetizing recipes.
People who leave their mark by way of their works and teachings may appear to stand alone, but in fact they are part of a continuum of industry and creative thought, marking history like sudden high notes on a music score. In doing so, they create the spark that ignites our own music and inspires our own accomplishments. Not all of us become famous, but we all make an impression. The only difference between them and those of us who feel “ordinary” by comparison, is that they dare. We need only dare.
In my search for this particular review, I checked every single blog we follow for entries dated August 15th. Not everyone has time to write in the middle of the week, but those I did find had an interesting twist.
Made by Mike offers, Beef Bourguignon – Way Back Wednesday. Do not let the title fool you, this tasty little article begins thus, “Today marks Julia Child’s 100th birthday. To celebrate, I’ve gone back in my archives to February 2010 to reintroduce you to the Everyday Food magazine version of her classic Beef Bourguignon. I’ve wanted to make this since seeing Julie & Julia…”
You’ll appreciate the Julia-related resources Mike offers to his readers. This is his thoughtful way of honoring a great and fascinating woman.
Voilà! Happy birthday Julia… until 101!
Also Read: Julia in The Kitchen With a Blowtorch
Thank you for stopping by to read this Weekend’s Review. Please take a moment to leave a few words on the Blogs you enjoy, if you feel so inclined that is.
The French Chef, Julia Child’s iconic television show, had its debut on February 11, 1963, on WGBH, Boston, only 24 years after the first, official television broadcast and 13 years after the first color broadcast in the United States. Mrs. Child, it would seem, is a pioneer beyond the kitchen and could it be that hers was the very first reality TV show?
“Nothing is too much trouble if it turns out the way it should.”
Until the 60′s, in many cases, most sitcoms and information broadcasts were filmed live. Many a prankster has delighted in these circumstances in television studios across America. Bloopers, then, had an immediate audience. What we see on You Tube today is a variation on the theme, an afterthought, so to speak. Now, consider a live cooking show. For a perfectionist, this would leave no room for error; for Julia Child, it meant room for grace, abandon, humility and more than a pinch of humor.
“One of the secrets, and pleasures, of cooking is to learn to correct something if it goes awry; and one of the lessons is to grin and bear it if it cannot be fixed.”
How do you honor the most internationally acclaimed and recognized chef, one whose kitchen, where she filmed three of her popular cooking shows, is a permanent exhibit at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History? How do you honor the woman whose work and name are readily equated with the words icon, pioneer, classy dame and brave? Even people of my generation, who are old enough to be called “granny,” feel immensely humbled by the journey, the persona, the joy that was Julia Child. In 1966, Time Magazine dubbed her, “Our Lady of the Ladle.” Playful choice of words? Yes, but tremendously respectful as well.
The lady with the ladle holds an entire harvest in her hands, one she has shaped into a meal to fill the guests at her table with all the nourishment, all the care, all the affection, all the invigorating colors and aromas, all the loving labor that can only pour forth from a giving heart. This is not the diminutive image of the woman toiling in the kitchen; it is the personification of a level of nurturing that only a few possess.
“In this line of work…you keep right on till you’re through.”
What would it be like to do a canning project with Julia Child? Have you ever seen her show? She begins one thing, gets it going to a certain point, drops the spoon in the dish and promptly side-steps to the left to get another part of the process going. She is at once organized and carefree, creating order out of pure spontaneity… or is it the other way around?
“The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you’ve got to have a what-the-hell attitude.”
I would have loved to see Julia Child make fresh tomato sauce with a Squeezo. I can imagine her pushing the fresh tomatoes through while already distracted by the next steps of the process, her vivid, creative mind jumping ahead almost as if she could have an out-of-body experience while standing right there talking to you and I and turning the handle on the Squeezo.
“The dough takes care of itself… While you cannot speed up the process, you can slow it down at any point by setting the dough in a cooler place …then continue where you left off, when you are ready to do so. In other words, you are the boss of that dough. ”
How much of her demeanor in front of the camera applied to her entire life? How much of it applies to ours? Take the above quote, for example. We cannot speed up an idea or a project that has its own natural momentum, but we can choose to pause instead, just long enough to ensure we are still on the right track and, most importantly, just long enough to actually notice what is happening and perhaps even stand in awe.
“I don’t think about whether people will remember me or not. I’ve been an okay person. I’ve learned a lot. I’ve taught people a thing or two. That’s what’s important.”
Julia Child began her adult life with a dream to become a writer. In 1930, she enrolled at Smith College, Massachusetts, with this goal in mind. She later joined the advertising department at W & J Sloane, a prestigious home furnishings company, eventually to be fired from this position. The reason: “Gross insubordination.” Now this sounds like the mark of great, exuberant character, and a tipping point!
“I think every woman should have a blowtorch.”
Thus I see Julia Child’s abandon with food as a metaphor. It is the signature of a woman, and human being, who does not make excuses for who she is and what she creates, but rather flows with it with grace and without arrogance. She would have made a fantastic sauce with that Squeezo, and a fantastic mess to clean up in the kitchen when she was done, but everything then found its proper place again, because abandon can only arise from the heart of one who is also deeply knowledgeable and grounded.
“I don’t believe in twisting yourself into knots of excuses and explanations over the food you make… Usually one’s cooking is better than one thinks it is. And if the food is vile,…then the cook must simply grit her teeth and bear it with a smile- and learn from her mistakes.”
Finally, I leave you with this delightful excerpt from an appearance on the David Letterman Show. Happy 100th birthday, Mrs. Child. I would have loved to have known you.
Honors of notice:
1993 - First woman inducted into the Culinary Institute Hall of Fame.
2000 - France’s highest honor: the Legion d’Honneur.
Julia Child, on Biography.com (Excellent video clips)