Julia Child would have been 100 years old this year. Like a lot of people who love food and cooking, I’ve always been a little bit fascinated by Julia. She was larger than life in a lot of ways, and she led a really interesting life. A feminist ahead of her time, she not only had a remarkable career, but she also had one of the sweetest love stories ever told with her husband, Paul. She had a lot in common with Ina Garten – both former government bureaucrats, both in love with Paris, both loved cooking for their friends and families. If you haven’t seen Julie & Julia, please do. It’s a sweet, sweet story, and it will make you want to cook something delicious.
I recently celebrated my own birthday, and received these fantastic books from my family:
Bon Appétit: The Delicious Life of Julia Child by Jessie Hartland (2012, Schwartz & Wade)
As Always, Julia: The Letters of Julia Child and Avis DeVoto by Joan Reardon (2010, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
I could not be more delighted with my gifts. The first is an adorable children’s book about Julia’s life, including her childhood. Did you know she was a prankster? The second is a collection of letters between Mrs. Child and her long-time friend, Avis DeVoto, and how the two collaborated to make Mastering the Art of French Cooking accessible to American audiences. I picked up both volumes of Mastering the Art of French Cooking at a used book sale several years ago, paying $2/each. The real prize of those particular copies is the old-book smell, and the handwritten recipes tucked inside, in the former owner’s handwriting, presumably written down from one of the TV series featuring Julia Child. I’m digging these out and pouring over them, along with the new books, just in time to celebrate Mrs. Child’s would-be birthday next month with other PBS-watching cooks.
There’s a lot of overlap between the recipes of the Barefoot Contessa and The French Chef, so I thought I might as well kill two chickens with one stone and attack some recipes on The List while we’re celebrating.
So, what are your favorite Julia Child recipes? I know the classic recipe would be boeuf bourguignon, but it seems like that would be too heavy for summer, even in Minnesota. Anything where I could use fresh, local ingredients would be ideal. Maybe zucchini vichyssoise? A salad? Fish?