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Julia Child--In Memoriam


adegiulio
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Saw the PBS special last night. A beautiful tribute to a beautiful and inspirational lady. Hope someone with wisdom will re-broadcast The French Chef series.

I think the Food Network aired some shows from the series when it first came on the air. Maybe they will do it again.

The PBS show last night was inspiring. Great photos, great old tapes - glad they had the ingenuity to include the SNL skit.

Rich Schulhoff

Opinions are like friends, everyone has some but what matters is how you respect them!

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i remember those! they aired at thanksgiving, i think, or christmas. i had a bunch of friends over for dinner. we sat entranced watching them. my favorite was the gateau st. honore--it ended up looking like a child's pottery project. but she attacked it with such enthusiasm!

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While I enjoyed the show as well, I'm not sure it was that much different than the one created by the Biography Channel (including the SNL skit).

One day last year they showed a whole week's worth of culinary biographies: Julia, Escoffier, James Beard, and two others that are not coming to mind at the moment.

Edited to add the link to the Biography Channel's version for sale.

Edited by Carolyn Tillie (log)
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I sat there last night watching and had tears rolling down my face. It was a wonderful program. My only complaint was that it was 1 hour. I wanted more.

"Some people see a sheet of seaweed and want to be wrapped in it. I want to see it around a piece of fish."-- William Grimes

"People are bastard-coated bastards, with bastard filling." - Dr. Cox on Scrubs

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Today's New York times has a long article on the editorial page by Alex Prud'homme, Julias grand newphew.

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/08/20/opinion/20prudhomme.html

Lovely article. He mentions her 'flinty' side, and insistance on doing everything right, and that some people missed that, for her 'flighty' demonstrations. Personally, I loved that side of her. You have to learn the technique before you can get creative. It was her humor that encouraged me to learn the technique, and assured me that it was ok to fail, if I then went back and worked a little harder the next time to get it right.

Between Julia and Jacques (La Technique, and La Methode, marvellous books), I was well grounded in culinary techniques by my teens, and to be frank, much of what I then was taught at the CIA was simply review of these techniques for me.

Yep, solid technique cloaked in a mask of humor. A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.

“"When you wake up in the morning, Pooh," said Piglet at last, "what's the first thing you say to yourself?"

"What's for breakfast?" said Pooh. "What do you say, Piglet?"

"I say, I wonder what's going to happen exciting today?" said Piglet.

Pooh nodded thoughtfully.

"It's the same thing," he said.”

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i remember those! they aired at thanksgiving, i think, or christmas. i had a bunch of friends over for dinner. we sat entranced watching them. my favorite was the gateau st. honore--it ended up looking like a child's pottery project. but she attacked it with such enthusiasm!

Oh wow, this brings back memories. I tried making a Gateau St. Honore, following Julia's method in The French Chef Cookbook for a family dinner. I did not get the sugar to carmelize properly and it ended up a horrible mess.... I thought what would Julia do, she wouldn't just throw this away. I broke the cream puffs off, put them in individual goblets and covered them with chocolate sauce and whipped cream, and pretended that's what I had in mind all along.

I had totally forgotten about that 'til your post.

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Some of my colleagues insist that I need to tell this story in honor of Julia since we still talk about it to this day. And we credit Julia for the original thought.

It was some time after the '89 freeze and I had assembled a report on our shortcomings in preparation for such an event on the Gulf Coast. The report was about 30 pages and was assembled in little 3-ring binders for the audience of about 20 high muck-a-mucks. The leader of this meeting was a Senior VP that I knew pretty well. He was a great guy and had heard about my previous attempts at this trick. I agreed with him that I would include something appropriate for my report out.  :wink: Well, I was reporting to this august body in the big board room, every one with a copy of the bound report in front of them. On page 15 was a paragraph giving instructions on removing page 15 and how to fold into a paper airplane. Then there were instructions to launch that airplane at an "appropriate target".

I proceeded with my report with the attendant viewgraphs then opened the floor for questions. There was this one recalcitrant old fart that was blustering about how this could not be true and that his location was well prepared... blah blah blah. Then there was this young pompous ass that started trying to deconstruct the statistics. As I was fielding the questions, really more like attacks, I heard numerous snaps of the three ring binders. Some time passed as I continued to defend the report to these two dorks. Then, all of a sudden, there was this flurry of paper airplanes hurled towards these two idiots.

My final viewgraph:

This demonstration brought to you by Julia Child, OSS and French Chef

Our SrVP was a great fan of Julia and had known her during the war.

:laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh:

Julia would have been proud!

No wonder the muck-a-mucks fear your writings!

:laugh::laugh:

Edited by Smithy (log)

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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Russ Parsons last comment about Julia covers her and a lot of her contemporaries: THEY DON'T MAKE THEM LIKE THAT ANYMORE. Indeed they do not. These were women who had the courage and fortitude to do a man's job, do it well, and were not embarassed to be ladies while they were at it. And they had one thread running through all of them--never-failing honesty, and genuine interest in everything.

I feel there are quite a few of Julia's sisters sittin' around having tea with her...in fact, I'm sure of it.

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Russ Parsons last comment about Julia covers her and a lot of her contemporaries: THEY DON'T MAKE THEM LIKE THAT ANYMORE. Indeed they do not. These were women who had the courage and fortitude to do a man's job, do it well, and were not embarassed to be ladies while they were at it. And they had one thread running through all of them--never-failing honesty, and genuine interest in everything.

I feel there are quite a few of Julia's sisters sittin' around having tea with her...in fact, I'm sure of it.

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This is the only piece on Julia that has upset me. I hope, those of you who are chefs, write the editor. To think this is one of out popular food writere! Heaven help us!

http://www.bostonphoenix.com/boston/news_f...ts/04066382.asp

Edited by cigalechanta (log)

Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly....MFK Fisher

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This is the only piece on Julia that has upset me. I hope, those of you who are chefs, write the editor. To think this is one of out popular food writere! Heaven help us!

http://www.bostonphoenix.com/boston/news_f...ts/04066382.asp

Actually, I don't find it upsetting at all, it is a frank and accurate asessment of who Julia Child was and what her limitations were. At the end of the day Julia Child was a human being -- with immense talents, but also flaws. A person of that importance to the history of cuisine and cooking in the US not only has to be spoken about on their merits, but what their failings were as well.

After watching the PBS special last night I too also found it interesting that the foods of the far flung lands that she visited with her husband Paul never rubbed off on her, particularly the foods of China and India, of where she spent so much time. I also feel that her near laser-targeted focus almost exclusively on French cuisine and French cooking techniques -- even when applied to American chefs and American ingredients -- was rather limiting, and I never really understood her dislike of Italian cuisine either, which for the most part is more accessible to American cooking styles anyway.

I think its highly appropriate and important that much of the key discussion on the Internet regarding Julia's passing is taking place on eGullet -- and that her death occurred not long after eGullet's 3rd birthday and our announcement to become a not for profit venture and a culinary educational entity rivalling the American Institute for Wine and Food, which was founded by Julia Child. In many ways, I see this as the passing of the torch. Julia Child enlightened the American culinary consciousness of the 1960's and 1970's and fueled the culinary revolution of the 1980's and 90's -- we hope and will endeavor that eGullet, assisted and guided by some of the brightest and best in the culinary profession will strive to do the same for the opening decades of the 21st century.

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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This is the only piece on Julia that has upset me. I hope, those of you who are chefs, write the editor. To think this is one of out popular food writere! Heaven help us!

http://www.bostonphoenix.com/boston/news_f...ts/04066382.asp

I honestly don't see the problem with this article. Could somebody fill me in, I'd genuinely like to know.

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At the end of his tribute, Robert Nadeau (a/k/a Mark Zanger) says:

"For me, Julia Child was always old, but never in the way."

Not nice, and I really don't know what he is thinking.

But then this is coming from the same man who actually dressed up one day in rags, stood in line with the homeless and ate their lunch at a free soup kitchen. Afterwards, he blasted the kitchen publicly, in a full restaurant review, for offering ordinary sandwiches and uninspiring soup.

When it's tribute day for Mr. Nadeau, I'll remember him for that.

Edited by TrishCT (log)
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After reading many of the tributes and watching American Masters on PBS, the one thing that keeps striking me is that it wasn't until her 40s that Julia truly discovered her "purpose." Until then she was always trying to determine what she was meant to do with her life. The fact that she was so accomplished, and it all was done in the second half of her life should serve as inspiration to all of us who are still struggling to figure out how to leave our mark and maybe make the world a better place.

We live a world where so many reach fame and wealth while still young and it can become disheartening to see these pups pass us by. But Julia is an example to follow -- you're never to old to do something really important.

"Some people see a sheet of seaweed and want to be wrapped in it. I want to see it around a piece of fish."-- William Grimes

"People are bastard-coated bastards, with bastard filling." - Dr. Cox on Scrubs

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At the end of his tribute, Robert Nadeau (a/k/a Mark Zanger) says:

"For me, Julia Child was always old, but never in the way."

Thats the problem? Hmmm, each to their own I suppose. I didn't take that as being that terrible a comment. After all, he prefaced it with "For me...". The mans entitled to his own opinion (for now, at least). Not trying to defend Mr. Nadeau, I have no idea who he is...I just fail to find anything really offensive about the article.

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At the end of his tribute, Robert Nadeau (a/k/a Mark Zanger) says:

"For me, Julia Child was always old, but never in the way."

Thats the problem? Hmmm, each to their own I suppose. I didn't take that as being that terrible a comment. After all, he prefaced it with "For me...". The mans entitled to his own opinion (for now, at least). Not trying to defend Mr. Nadeau, I have no idea who he is...I just fail to find anything really offensive about the article.

I think the first sentence is off-putting:

Julia Child’s contributions to the art of cuisine were limited and controversial.

From there, as Jason says, it is a rather accurate account, but the tone from the beginning makes one question what the writer is going to say as many of us never saw Julia's contributions as limited in any way.

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I think its highly appropriate and important that much of the key discussion on the Internet regarding Julia's passing is taking place on eGullet -- and that her death occurred not long after eGullet's 3rd birthday and our announcement to become a not for profit venture and a culinary educational entity rivalling the American Institute for Wine and Food, which was founded by Julia Child. In many ways, I see this as the passing of the torch. Julia Child enlightened the American culinary consciousness of the 1960's and 1970's and fueled the culinary revolution of the 1980's and 90's -- we hope and will endeavor that eGullet, assisted and guided by some of the brightest and best in the culinary profession will strive to do the same for the opening decades of the 21st century.

Well said!

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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Well, he starts with an insult "Julia Child’s contributions to the art of cuisine were limited and controversial.". I guess I wasn't aware that her contributions were limited, or controversial. Millions of people thought they were vast, and straightforward.

Then he goes on:

"Like many current American food writers, Child didn’t grow up with fine food. In fact, she didn’t take an interest in cooking until she was 30 and had arrived in France (where native chefs generally grow up in family restaurants or at the very least are apprenticed at 14). This means that she was oblivious to the California cooking of her youth, the New York food of her early 20s, the food of her travel from Sri Lanka to China as a secretary for the Office of Strategic Services, and apparently even the Chinese food of her courtship period. When time machines get a little cheaper, I’d like to go back and check out some of the meals she ignored and picked at over those 30 years."

Ummmm.... this completely contradicts what Julia herself said in print and in the Biography special, that she was intrigued by the food in India and China, but it was that fish dish in France that truely ignited her passion. To say that she was 'oblivious' to food for 30 years is a bit disingenuous, and incorrect.

He certainly has his own take on things:

"Like a lot of people, I made the coq au vin and the boeuf bourguignon from her early books — once. I thought, "There has to be an easier way," and set out to find it. Much the same thing happened to many others with her famous recipe for French bread. For me, Julia Child was always old, but never in the way."

Thus, he diverges from eGulleteers, and anyone who's actually interested in food, in looking for the 'easy' way to make these dishes. Of course, this is his perogative, but with this attitude, it's a shame that he's a food critic.

"Julia Child was always old, but never in the way." Yep, just sit granny in the corner, she won't bother us...

Feh!

Edited by lala (log)

“"When you wake up in the morning, Pooh," said Piglet at last, "what's the first thing you say to yourself?"

"What's for breakfast?" said Pooh. "What do you say, Piglet?"

"I say, I wonder what's going to happen exciting today?" said Piglet.

Pooh nodded thoughtfully.

"It's the same thing," he said.”

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Pardon me if I'm being obtuse (or overly new-agey), but is there some way of channelling all the "I wish the French Chef series was on DVD" energy and directing it towards WGBH? Has anyone ever asked them if they meant to do this? Has anyone ever participated in such a campaign before?

Just wishing...and hoping...and writing??

To hell with poverty! We'll get drunk on cheap wine - Gang of Four

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Its questionable though if there are enough episodes of The French Chef that survive in good enough condition to be remastered, though. I mean there were so many, so there must be at least a few dozen, scattered about at all the PBS stations. But a lot of these stations didn't archive the videotapes or take good care of them. I wonder if Julia's estate has enough of them in relatively new condition.

I would gather most of the ones that survive are from the mid to late 70s.

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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