Thursday, August 13, 2009
Julia Child Tribute
This weekend we are celebrating the life of a very special person, Julia Child. While we have had such a tribute for the last 3 years, this is the first time it was received with such enthusiasm, largely due to the fact that the movie "Julie & Julia" just opened. I have to say, I am ecstatic that so many people are taking notice of this wonderful woman who changed the face of food and television. While I encourage everyone to see the movie, which is brilliant, I also encourage all of you to spend some time watching her old episodes of the French Chef, which can be seen on You Tube. In preparation for this event, I spent weeks watching old episodes, taking notes on recipes and deciding which recipes would not only be challenging for me to make, but would be interesting for people to experience. I decided on a taster menu to die for, which includes Petites Fondue Frites, Gateau D'Omelettes avec Piperades et Champignons, Saucisson de Menage and Mousse au Chocolat. The process of recreating Julia's recipes faithfully has been a lot of fun, but has also involved some ingenuity in obtaining ingredients. What I have found is that a lot of ingredients that were common when her show came on the air are no longer used or difficult to find, for example saltpeter or potassium nitrate, used to cure the sausages. I was also fortunate to get some help from a local butcher who made a special blend of pork to pork fat for my sausages as per the instructions in Julia's book "From Julia Child's Kitchen." Now for those of you who know me, I'm notorious for not following recipes. I like making things my own and being faithful to Julia hasn't exactly been easy. But, what it has been is tremendously fun and it has shown me one very important thing about her recipes and what she did so differently from others. Everything I have made as per her recipes have turned out exactly as expected. Her recipes are precise and fool proof. In this particular case, don't mess with a good thing. Julia knew what she was doing and I would never presume to second guess anything she did. That's not to say you can't get creative with recipes and add things to make them your own, but do know, if you make a Julia Child recipe as is, it will be tremendous. Most of the recipes aren't too difficult to recreate either. So I encourage all of you to take a look at this woman, her life, her recipes and her legacy. You'll gain great appreciation not only for who she was and what she meant to the world of food, but for food in general. Nobody was as passionate about good food as Julia was and nobody respected food as much as she did. We should all be so lucky to find something in life we are that passionate about. So Happy Birthday Julia and Bon Appetit!!