Cooking With Julia Child!
Happy birthday to one of the most iconic figures in food, Julia Child!
I am such a fan of her life – she was a Chef, TV Host, Cookbook Author and arguably the “first foodie” ever!
Julia would have been 109 years old today – she was born August 15, 1912 in Pasadena California.
Julia Child Remixed!
Let’s get started with a reminder of why she was so great!
In celebration of her 100th birthday a few years ago, PBS posted a terrific mashup of Julia for all to enjoy…a classic for the ages – check it out!
As you can see, she was passionate about food, life and everyone around her!
Julia wrote a great memoir that details her life in the kitchen, and her time in the bathtub with her husband as well!
My Life In France – Julia Child and Alex Prud’Homme.
Here is her terrific memoir about her life in France, which led to her becoming America’s greatest cooking personality.
Julia single-handedly created a new approach to American cuisine with her cookbook “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” and her television show “The French Chef”, but as she revealed in her bestselling memoir, she was not always a master chef.
Indeed, when she first arrived in France in 1948 with her husband, Paul, who worked for the USIS, she spoke no French and knew nothing about the country itself. But even before she could cook, Julia knew how to shock – just look at this Valentine’s Day card she sent out one year to friends!
Her memoir recounts her culinary education, from taking classes at the Cordon Bleu to her struggles with the head of the Cordon Bleu, rejections from publishers to whom she sent her now-famous cookbook, and her nearly fifty-year long marriage and love affair with her husband…
She became an icon – so much so that Dan Aykroyd parodied her on Saturday Night Live in the 70’s – one of the funniest skits ever:
And of course, Meryl Streep portrayed her brilliantly in the movie “Julia & Julia…”
That film also tells the story of her life in France and the publication of the book – engrossing to watch because Streep is incredible!
I cooked this “Boeuf Bourguignon” from her cookbook, which was featured prominently in the film – you can see the entire recipe, plus the film’s trailer, by clicking on my story here:
Here’s another connection I have to Julia:
I had the chance to actually cook on her stove…thanks to Patricia Wells!
“We’ve Always Had Paris…And Provence” by Patricia and Walter Wells.
Acclaimed Food Writer and Chef Patricia Wells was friends with Julia – and writes about that friendship!
Here is the Amazon writeup of Patricia Wells and her memoir:
“Patricia Wells, long recognized as the leading American authority on French food, and her husband, Walter, live the life in France that many of us have often fantasized about. After more than a quarter century, they are as close to being accepted as “French” as any non-natives can be. In this delightful memoir they share in two voices their experiences—the good, the bad, and the funny—offering a charming and evocative account of their beloved home and some of the wonderful people they have met along the way.”
Patricia and Walter own a home in Provence, which they open up several weeks a year for a cooking class – one that my wife Alex and I were able to attend in 2009.
Cooking With Patricia!
Every day you plan, prepare, cook and consume a terrific series of dishes, made as a team, under Patricia’s expert direction…
Here we are with Patricia, posing in front of the Julia Child’s stove – a gift to Patricia from Julia – this is her provencal stove she cooked on for years:
What is so much fun about the cooking class is that it takes place at their home – which they call Chanteduc – located in the shadow of the french village Vaison la Romaine, near Avignon:
The book is full of stories of the life they have built together in Provence, and when you spend a week cooking with them, you see what a terrifically happy couple they are. Here is Alex getting some instruction from Walter:
After cooking together, you eat the food in a group setting – here we are on the veranda enjoying lunch together – a wonderful way to savor the hard work that went into the meal.
Every day another meal, another adventure – so much fun, and always with the full support and guidance of Patricia:
The twelve of us had the best time cooking with Patricia, as she guided us through an amazing array of dishes, always using the best local ingredients, many from her own garden…
OK, I mugged to the camera while Patricia did most of the work…
Alex And Her Eggplants!
Look at how beautiful this dish is, made with eggplants that Alex harvested from Patricia’s garden!
It was one of our favorite vacations ever, and we learned things that influence our cooking to this day. Check out Patricia’s website for a bunch of great stuff, including information on her classes, which she still holds in Provence and Paris as well:
Oh, and as I mentioned, we stayed in Vaison la Romaine. Here is our view of the town from our room…
We stayed in the small village of Vaison la Romaine, so french and perfect for a cooking adventure…the picture above is the view from our front den window, and this was our view of the town’s old fortress from our back terrace outside our room…
The medieval streets of Vaison la Romaine were so much fun to wander….
As you can tell, we loved it! Even if you can’t cook with Patricia, pick up one of her many cookbooks – and read her memoir with Walter – and live the provencal life!
And click the story below to read all about our cooking adventure with Patricia!
Finally, I got to see Julia’s kitchen up close – thanks to The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History!
Her actual kitchen was built at the museum for you to see =- click here for many more pictures!
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Leave me a comment and tell me if you celebrate Julia’s birthday the way I do – by cooking! And if you like these pictures, please share on social media! Thanks!
Categories: Art, Books / Media, Cult Movies, Food, food blog, Memoirs, Pop Culture, Recipes, Talent/Celebrities, Travel Adventures, Wacky Food
She was the greatest. I loved Dan Aykroyd’s skit.
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A very entertaining post, John. I have read about your cooking with Patricia before, but you have added some great new pictures here. A talented and determined woman, Julia Child.
A wonderful tribute to Julia..not a chef I am familiar with however Boeuf Bourguignon was the very first dish I cooked for my husband..a man who told me he didn’t like garlic when he asked what was in the dish…lol…but he loved the dish and its one I still make as a treat for him…Lovely post , John 🙂 x
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thanks for sharing that memory carol!
I only knew about her from the Meryl Streep film, and then later from your blog. I don’t think she ever featured over here in England, John.
Best wishes, Pete.
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The Meryl part of that movie is phenomenal…the Amy Adams side is “nails on a chalkboard”
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I love Julia and loved her autobiography
I visited Vaison la Romaine a few years ago and attended a one day cooking class with another chef. Barbara was wonderful and I still make the recipes we learned that day. A fabulous experience.