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Julia Child

Mar 9 2012

Eggs Baked in Cream

by Patricia D

I don’t have cable television so when cable able members of my family started carrying on about Bobby Flay, Guy Fieri and Rachael Ray I had no idea what they were talking about.  In fact, when Paula Deen was a guest of the Georgia Center for the Book, I was able to get a signed copy for my aunt, who likes biographies.  I had no idea what I had done until she got the book and called me, all but squealing in delight.  My aunt, who does not like to cook, is a huge Paula Deen fan, thanks to cable.

All of these folks have made huge places for themselves in the cookbook, cookwear, take a cruise with a chef world.  To me, however, their shows aren’t nearly as much about teaching people to cook as they are pure entertainment.  Don’t take this wrong, because I assure you, when I do have access to cable you cannot pry me away from Iron Chef, and I think Guy Fieri is just darling, plus the show is okay too.  No, for me at least, the true royals in the world of television cookery are Jacques Pepin, Lidia Bastianich,  those crazy kids in America’s Test Kitchen and of course Julia Child.  I have gained so much knowledge from watching their programs over the years and even own a few of the companion cookbooks.  Jacques Pepin in particular, with his interest in healthy cooking (but not at the cost of flavor) and his frugal ways,  is my personal favorite.   His most recent book covers all his favorite recipes from a long and celebrated career, but it is the DVD in the back that was my favorite part.  He demonstrates his sublime skill as a teacher as he takes viewers through the basics of peeling vegetables, cooking eggs, deboning chicken and many other things.  Another of his books that is a personal favorite is Julia and Jacques Cooking At Home, which was the companion book to the PBS program of the same title.  The friendship between these two devotees of French cooking was so obvious it made viewing a delight and having their opinions in the book, side by side for each recipe, gives great direction to any home cook while leaving lots of room for creativity.  As for Julia Child, I have four words for you.  Eggs baked in cream.  Get your hands on a copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking (which needed no companion PBS program) bake the eggs, wolf them down and then sigh in contentment.  Beat that, Rachael.


Aug 6 2010

ShareReads: YUM!

by ShareReads

ShareReads appears on the DCPLive blog on Fridays. Each week, a different person will share a little about what they’re currently reading, and why they like or don’t like it. The heart of ShareReads will be responses from blog readers, and the window of opportunity here is wide. Feel free to respond and discuss the book or author being mentioned, ask or answer a question, or even take the conversation in a different direction: mention what you are currently reading, and how you feel about it. The point of ShareReads is to have an ongoing discussion about books and reading. Remember: posting a response also counts as an activity for the Summer Reading for Adults program.

My passion for books and my passion for food and cooking may seem disparate on the surface, but there are many similarities.  The layers and textures found in an expertly prepared meal are as enjoyable to consume as a triumphant work of fiction.  I appreciate the artistry of a well-constructed menu or dish in the same way that I recognize quality in literature.  Julia Child’s My Life in France combined these two loves for me in one perfect reading experience.  Her memoir, written with her husband’s grand-nephew, Alex Prud’homme, reflects on a life lived to the full.  She writes about France from the fresh perspective of a woman who had never been to Europe, didn’t know the language, and was amazed and entranced by the warmth and humanity of the French people.  She and her husband Paul moved to Paris, where he was assigned to work at the American Embassy, in 1948.  Shortly after arriving, they enjoyed what she considered to be a perfect meal at a small restaurant in Rouen, and this was the start of her love for French cuisine, culture, and people.  This passion led to enrolling at Le Cordon Bleu, and from there, the cookbooks, TV show, and life as a beloved food celebrity.

This book is worth reading for Child’s evocative descriptions of the culture and spirit of Paris, Marseille (where they moved after a few years), and the French countryside.  She introduces the shopkeepers, greengrocers, wine merchants, culinary instructors, and restaurant owners as dear friends and sources of inspiration.  Such a large part of her life in France and later was consumed by work on her masterpiece, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and reading about the trials and successes surrounding that process is like gaining access to a quintessential culinary event with a backstage pass.  Most of all, Julia Child’s meals—what she cooked, what she ate—are described in such loving detail, you must read for yourself to fully appreciate.

Julia Child savored life, lived it with passion, and conveys that passion in My Life in France. Enjoy, and Bon Appetit!

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Apr 21 2010

My Favorite Foodies

by Jnai W

I love Food. I’ll be the first to own the fact that my love of Food has expanded my waist line and made my butt bigger but who cares? It’s not Food’s fault.  Today I’d like to take a moment to recognize some of my favorite fellow foodies, whether they be esteemed chefs or just really good people who like to eat.  Please consider the following food appreciators:

Jamie Oliver: I’ve just gotten hooked on his new ABC show Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution.  Jamie Oliver, a.k.a “The Naked Chef” (yum!), is on a mission to save America from poor eating habits and overly-processed rubbish disguised as food. So far, based on the premiere episode, he has been met with stiff opposition from defensive locals, red-tape bound cafeteria ladies and school children who prefer breakfast pizza and strawberry-flavored milk over anything nutritious and normal colored. You’d have to watch the show to see if he can soften the cholesterol-caked hearts of the masses and start a food revolution. But you can trek down to The Library to check out books by The Naked Chef.

Nigella Lawson:  She is one of my favorite foodies and her story is rather remarkable to me. Not a trained chef or cook, Lawson is instead a journalist and food writer who began her career as a food critic.  She has long since become an icon in cookery and food appreciation in the U.K and the U.S. I like the fact that she takes a relaxed and loving approach to the culinary arts. She’s also gorgeous and sultry; truly a food romantic.

Justin Wilson: I remember as a kid watching cooking shows on PBS with my mother. Among such notable chefs as Martin Yan, Jacques Pepin and, of course, Julia Child is another favorite of mine, Justin Wilson. I remember being struck by the visage of a large man in a bow-tie and a thick, drawling Cajun accent. My siblings and I would mimic his catchphrase (“I gerr-own-tee!”) and mispronouncing Worcestershire sauce (“Whats-dis-here sauce?”). I was pleased when I noticed that the Library has several of his cookbooks, chock full of recipes for great Cajun cooking.

Top Chef:  As Bravo Television’s best reality show since Project Runway, Top Chef brings together contestants from around the country to compete for coveted prizes and the prestige of being crowned “Top Chef”.  My only gripe about this show has been the fact that, unlike standard cooking shows, recipes aren’t provided during the episode. Luckily, there are now at least 2 Top Chef cookbooks available, allowing fans to partake of some of the tasty-looking dishes.