August 14, 2009

Remembering Julia Child on TV

All of the hype that's been generated by the Julie and Julia movie is just fascinating to me! And for once, it's good hype! It's one of those movies that just seeps into your brain more and more after you've seen it - the food, the relationship between Julia Child and her husband, and the work and determination that it took to see her cookbook dream come to fruition. If you're lucky like me and you're old enough to have seen her older shows on television, you get the bonus of a fond walk down memory lane. I remember my dad watching the old shows with me too. He was very much caught up in the gourmet cooking trend of the time, and he loved to pick a fancy menu from a magazine and follow it down to the letter for important guests. My mom loves to recount serving a gourmet meal to my dad's boss in our small eat-in kitchen in Illinois, right on the Formica and chrome kitchen table, and using some S&H Green stamp dishes! So, even before Julie in the movie, people were not letting their lack of "proper" accoutrements deter them from diving into the joys of fine cuisine.

My husband told me that "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" is a best seller once again. I searched today and found that it's sold out at several book stores near us and the waiting list at the library is quite long already. I did find another gem on the library shelf though - "Julia's Casual Dinners", from 1999. I must say that the pictures remind me more of the 70's-in particular the olive green dishes that I remember her using on her show.

Some of the classic olive green dishes are shown here, and isn't it fascinating that this table full of food is considered a "fast" dinner!! Here's her menu for " A Fast Fish Dinner" - cold beet and cucumber soup, fingers of buttered pumpernickel bread, monkfish tails en piperade, fresh tomato fondue (optional), saute of zucchini, French bread, cream cheese and lemon flan, cherries, grapes, tangerines or berries in season - Holy Cow! And here we are in the 30-minute meal world! I am truly beginning to believe that we need to backpedal a bit here and re-examine our focus when it comes to family, home and food. One of the nicest surprises in this book is the way that Julia "lectures" about the importance of food and cooking - really eye opening.

There is also the classic Julia humor in this volume - unintended as it may sometimes be! Here she calls a meal "UFO's in Wine", and the unidentified flying objects she speaks of are small game birds - ha!! It took me right back to the show, and the many times that she seemed to crack herself up with her own humor! What a character. She caused a revolution in this country's cooking once, and given the huge buzz going on right now, you can 't help but wonder if she's about to do it again!

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