Forum > Food

Julia Child thread: her influence, in the media, and recipes

(1/18) > >>

Not sure this will gain much or any traction here, but inspired by nattering with Barry in the for your netflix queue thread about the new Julia Child series now airing on HBO Max, recipes we like from Child's The Way to Cook, and most importantly, Barry and A's amazing Gâteau de Crêpes à la Florentine in the Weekend dinner thread, I'll add this to the Food forum.

Prior to Julia Child's arrival on the scene, "popular" American cuisine* as seen in ladies' magazines and many cookbooks was along the line of The Gallery of Regrettable Food. 

Child, Louisette Bertholle, and Simone Beck wrote Mastering the Art of French Cooking for American readers, which was published in 1961, introducing French cooking to the American kitchen in a more accessible manner. 

The fictionalized version of this is portrayed in the 2009 film "Julie and Julia."  The parts with Julie Powell (Amy Adams) were kinda forgettable, but Julia (Meryl Streep) and Paul (Stanley Tucci) Child's narrative was excellent.  This was the last movie I saw in the theatre with my mother, a Julia Child fan.

I'm not sure how far-reaching Child's true influence was outside of the East and West Coasts, but in rural flyover country, my parents were dedicated fans of The French Chef, which premiered on PBS in 1963.  HBO Max's show tells the story behind that.

I watched it with them.  My mother was a pretty good cook (although...Jello molds. Gah) and made the most out of our abundance of fruit and vegetables from our orchard and large farm garden, our chickens and eggs (free-range!), beef from our pasture-raised, grain-fed, and happy Angus and Hereford cattle, and pork from our neighbors' pigs (no factory-farming there).  As a busy farm wife with little or no access to a number of ingredients Julia used, she wasn't able to really use Child's recipes, but her appreciation of them on The French Chef was strong and inspired her to be a bit more imaginative.

My MIL gave us The Way to Cook years ago.  We often referred to it for preparing something special.  We've since branched out in a big way since then, but I still pick up The Way to Cook and read it like an encyclopedia or for pure entertainment. Child takes a great approach, providing a base recipe to master, then adds variations. 

Our go-to's on repeat out of The Way ro Cook are coq au vin, boeuf bourguignon, rack of lamb, and sole meunière.  I refer to it for other seafood recipes (although Jeremy Sewall from Row 34 has my heart now). There are plenty of things I'd love to try, like Barry's Gâteau de Crêpes a la Florentine!

Julia Child:  The Force is strong in that one. :)

Any favorites from you, or is Julia Child more of a cultural icon?  Not counting Dan Akyroyd.

*Not including the fantastic regional cuisines from Blacks across the South, Cajun, Creole, Cuban, Mexican, Cantonese etc. that were certainly present back then, just unknown among the ummmm, most of the dominant society of white America.

VP of Tea:
DH and I used to watch PBS cooking shows in our early dating days, and Julia child still was on tv those days. I also inherited The way to Cook from a friend but have to admit I was disappointed with it. It seems so dated.

I particularly like her show with Jacques Pepin, the respect they had for each other even when strongly disagreeing.

I read the biography her nephew (or maybe it was Paul’s nephew) wrote, which was good. Have never been able to make it through the earlier one. I did enjoy following the website/blog that became Julie/Julia, but not the movie.

And Barry’s gateau looks fantastic!

I'm a big fan of her ratatouille recipe. And we always like to say "some for the pot, some for the chef!" in a Julia Child voice whenever we cook with wine.

Years ago my roommate used to spot JC regularly in Cambridge. I imagine she was hard to miss!

VP, yes, there have been a lot of changes in how we cook, so I can see that there are a number of recipes in The Way to Cook that are dated, so if you're comparing contemporary cuisines (especially world cuisine), it would be disappointing.  However, The Way to Cook has classics that do not go out of style, e.g., my go-to's noted above, and Bonita's ratatouille (I wanna make that now). 

Bonita, ha!  Yeah, she had quite a presence!

Great thread!

My faves off the top

The gateau I posted
Coq au vin - I like any recipe you get to set on fire
Beef bourguignon - Christmas dinner 
Onion soup
Onion quiche
Braised celery side dish
Buttered peas

We are going to cook something new every Saturday in April. 


[0] Message Index

[#] Next page

Go to full version