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Julia Child--In Memoriam

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Tonight, Larry King on CNN repeats the interview with Julia.


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

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I know my first reply was romatizited. But....Paul was a huge infulenice on Julia. She would not have even started cooking if it wasn't for him. Her love for him made her learn what she needed to do. Let's not forget that. And toast them both.

yes, to them both.

Julia happily signed my copy of "The Book" in the mid-seventies. When introduced to me she arose to full height and motioned to Paul to stand also - no one had ever shown me this courtesy - I was a nobody, 20-year-old, who slid into the function via my student job at the CIA.

She asked Paul to sign my book also, and this is what makes me so proud to have it. This event taught me even more than her books and TV shows.

I was 17 when I finally mastered puff dough in "The Book". It meant more to me than my High School graduation.

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Mr. Nadeau made a factaul error in his "tribute." Julia was already 34 when she and Paul married in 1946. I mean, if you are going to nitpick on the death of an icon, expect to be nitpicked in return. :wacko:

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Russ Parson's article last week brought in more than 50 letters from readers.

Here are a few.


I love cold Dinty Moore beef stew. It is like dog food! And I am like a dog.

--NeroW

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Here's another nice tribute from Newsday: Inspired by Julia, followed by a few recipes. Erica Marcus has tried to go for the "man in the street" approach, i.e. the kind of non-celebrity testimony to be seen in this very thread. I wouldn't say it's entirely successful, given that the ostensibly non-prominent interviewees include Helen Studley and Julie Powell; still the general idea comes across, and it works.

Gloria Mandelstam, who lives in New York, credits Child's book with inspiring her to cook. "I had been to law school and now was home with a couple of kids," she said. "I thought, 'If I'm going to be home, I'd better learn how to cook.'" Mandelstam recalled looking through "The Gourmet Cookbook" which, she said, "presumed so much knowledge that it didn't make any sense to me." "The Joy of Cooking" was "clear enough, but it wasn't the right book if you really wanted to learn to cook French."

When Mandelstam got a copy of "Mastering," she concluded that "if you could read, you could cook, thanks to Julia."

Mandelstam believes that "you can't be a woman of a certain age and not have been influenced by Julia Child."

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Jason, I thank you for that kind dose of reality. I suppose it was just naivete on my part to think it just hadn't occurred to anyone to put the show on DVD. And after watching the same clips repeated over and over on TV this past week, I am quite ready to believe you.

It'll still take a good hour to drag me away from the monitor in Julia's kitchen, next time I'm in DC...


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

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Saturday night I spent a few hours discussing food and restaurants with a couple of guys from France. The bar had Larry King's interview with Julia on. I asked the guys if they knew who she was.

They had no idea.


True Heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic.

It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost,

but the urge to serve others at whatever cost. -Arthur Ashe

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Saturday night I spent a few hours discussing food and restaurants with a couple of guys from France.  The bar had Larry King's interview with Julia on.  I asked the guys if they knew who she was. 

They had no idea.

Julia Child was about French cuisine in America. More generally, she was about high-quality, well-prepared food that the general public could prepare for themselves at home, at that time a rather foreign or 'European' idea, if considered at all. The French had no need for her, and she didn't address them. Her impetus was from an experience she had in France; her generosity compelled her to create a beautiful legacy for America. (The parallels with Alice Waters resonate.)

Cheers,

Squeat

Edit: (sigh) punctuation


Edited by Squeat Mungry (log)

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Jason, I thank you for that kind dose of reality.  I suppose it was just naivete on my part to think it just hadn't occurred to anyone to put the show on DVD.  And after watching the same clips repeated over and over on TV this past week, I am quite ready to believe you.

It'll still take a good hour to drag me away from the monitor in Julia's kitchen, next time I'm in DC...

Its actually very sad because there are lot of TV shows from the 60's and '70s which can never be restored or even found to be put out in a DVD version. Anything shot on videotape is a problem, because the magnetic reel to reel tape used back then degraded very, very quickly -- and even worse a lot of stations because they were underbudget acutally re-used a lot of that tape to record other stuff. This problem is further worsened by the fact that most of those tape units are junk and finding ones intact to do the initial transfer to digital video is nearly impossible. Its possible that WGBH or WNET, the two main PBS stations at some point transferred some of that reel to reel over to a newer cartridge based video system during the 80's -- which is why Food Network is able to broadcast a number of those episodes now. How many of them they actually have and what rights they have to do with those episodes is not a known quantity.

The fact of the matter is, if a TV show during the 60's or 70's was shot on film rather than video, you got a much, much better chance of getting it remastered to DVD. Hence releases of 1960's and early '70sTV shows like Star Trek, Columbo, Happy Days, MASH, All In the Family, Bonanza, The Munsters, The Outer Limits, and Twilight Zone.


Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

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

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I can't help but wonder if the Museum of Television and Radio has some of the shows in their archives.


"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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I can't help but wonder if the Museum of Television and Radio has some of the shows in their archives.

I wondered about this same thing on another thread elsewhere, yesterday. The Museum in NYC has so much unbelieveable stuff I wonder if they have anything. O.K. you New Yorkers...hop to... :cool:


Edited by TrishCT (log)

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Julie Child inspired me a lot. I just watched the tribute program that was on Food TV a week ago, and I am sad all over again. What a wonderful woman.

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Saturday night I spent a few hours discussing food and restaurants with a couple of guys from France. The bar had Larry King's interview with Julia on. I asked the guys if they knew who she was.

They had no idea.

This is generally the case in Europe. Julia Child's television programmes and books somehow didn't make it over here. Perhaps not surprising for France -- after all, she was trying to teach Americans to cook French food. But she has little name recognition in the UK, compared with, say, Delia Smith or Elizabeth David.


Jonathan Day

"La cuisine, c'est quand les choses ont le go�t de ce qu'elles sont."

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Hey, guess what? WGBH in Boston just wrote back!

Dear Viewer,

Thank you for your interest in our programming. Please accept our

apologies for this delayed response, due to an unusually high volume of

mail received recently. We always appreciate hearing from our viewers,

listeners, and Web site visitors.

We are anticipating that select episodes of Julia Child's early

programs will be available for purchase via our website sometime in January,

2005 (or thereabouts). Contact information follows:

WGBH Boston Video 1-800-949-8670

www.shop.wgbh.org

PO Box 2284

S. Burlington, VT 05407

Thank you for taking the time to write and for expressing an interest

in WGBH programming.

Sincerely,

Audience and Member Services

I haven't contacted the Museum of Television & Radio yet, but if there's still a desire I could swing by one day (or call). Let me know!

Jen :smile:


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

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Just received this email:

The AIWF is planning a national event to celebrate Julia Child's life and you are invited. It will be held in Washington, DC, on October 24, 2004. The detailed registration form is located at http://www.aiwf.org for your convenience.

Please feel free to share this with anyone you think may be interested.

We hope you will participate in this special tribute.

Sincerely,

Ken Sethney

AIWF Website Volunteer

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I can't help but wonder if the Museum of Television and Radio has some of the shows in their archives.

The Museum of TV & Radio does indeed have some Julia Child shows in their library, but it's far from comprehensive. I spent an afternoon there a couple of months ago, starting research on a project I've since abandoned (at least, for now). The NY branch has exactly 19 episodes of JC's shows. I realize that many were lost because they were never recorded -- but I thought that was a pretty paltry number for a TV luminary like Julia Child.

Possibly the Los Angeles branch of the museum has more.

I was particularly disappointed because I was hoping to view the early Julia Child shows, but they had only a handful from the 1970s (for the record, they included episodes on Ice Cream, Croissants, "Coq Au Vin Alias Chicken," "Elegance with Aspic" (!!!), Quiche Lorraine, "Holiday Lunch," and "How to Stuff a Sausage."

The rest is 1980s and 1990s, including a lot of biographies put together by Food TV, PBS, and the museum itself -- not cooking shows.

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I was at the Museum of TV & Radio the other day and concur with what Alacarte said, they have some early episodes of The French Chef and some newer Julia & Company shows. Also they have some talk shows where Julia Child made an appearance.

My time was limited and the "Museum" (really more like a tv library) allowed me only to watch 4 shows. I decided to watch the Sausage episode. I might have looked liked a doofus to anyone who may have walked by because there I was staring at the screen, grinning ear-to-ear and shaking my head slowly up and down. These shows are just incredibly precious. Julia's enthusiasm for making your own sausage at home was delightful.

As much as I have financially supported channel 2 in the past I don't really appreciate WGBH's offer to sell us the tapes. They should be televised and shown to all.


Edited by TrishCT (log)

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As much as I have financially supported channel 2 in the past I don't really appreciate WGBH's offer to sell us the tapes.  They should be televised and shown to all.

Trish, I think you are perfectly right that they should offer these for viewing. But I think what they know is true is that people love DVDs. Even more than tapes. It might be hoping against hope that they'll find a way to package the episodes not just efficiently and attractively but with extras. But even if they don't? Lots of people will buy the DVDs anyway. It's a phenomenon I don't understand but do acknowledge. And it's okay with me if they make the money back they spend on production.

We'll see for sure in January, but I suspect they'll air the shows the same time they release the DVDs. These days, what show doesn't become its own DVD advertisement?


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

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Some of you may have read the following tribute on the website of the American Institute for Food and Wine. I only read it when a clipping was recently snail-mailed to me. I thought it would be an appropriate addition to our own eGullet thread of tributes, and the author graciously gave us permission to post. The eG Forums team confirmed that this would be the best place for it, despite the fact that nearly a year has passed since its original publication. Given that Ms. Child's legacy is for the ages, there is no time like the present.

* * *

From the September 13, 2004 Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly.

Julia Child: A Lawyer's Reminiscence

By Joseph D. Steinfield

According to Julia Child, the stars were in "the right alignment" when she began her historic television career on Channel 2 in the early 1960s.

The same could be said of the good fortune of three Harvard Law School classmates -- Bob Johnson, Bill Truslow and myself -- who, beginning when we were young lawyers at Hill & Barlow, served as Julia's lawyers for more than three decades.

To the public at large, Julia was a teacher, an entertainer and a reformer who changed how Americans thought about food, how they cooked and how they ate. To members of the culinary world she was standard-bearer, supporter and mentor. To us, she was client and friend. Ours was a unique and life-enriching experience.

First came Bob. He had worked with Brooks Beck, a Hill & Barlow partner, on publishing contracts for Julia, and for other Cambridge notables such as Arthur Schlesinger Jr. and John Kenneth Galbraith.

When Beck died following surgery in 1970, Bob inherited Julia and Schlesinger as clients (Bill took on Galbraith), and developed one of Boston's early literary practices. (Ike Williams, now Boston's pre-eminent author's lawyer, was doing the same thing under a different roof.)

Bob represented Julia from that time until his own early death in 1986. During those years, they grew exceedingly close. Bob handled television and book contracts and served as Julia's overall legal factotum. He was dedicated to her, and to her husband Paul, and they trusted him completely. The relationship was social as well as legal: Bob would visit them in Cambridge, in Santa Barbara and in the south of France.

Bob brought me in to fend off those who tried to use Julia's personna -- her look, her sound or her name - for commercial purposes. As many articles have pointed out, Julia did not endorse products for money. Her commitment to public television was complete. If she said, publicly, that she liked McDonald's french fries, it was because she did, not because she was being

paid to say so.

That didn't keep any number of establishments, including restaurants, wine sellers, cookware manufacturers and others (even a hardware store) from trying to trade on Julia. And when they did, she was all business.

Julia had quite a network, consisting of nieces, friends and others, who seemed always on the lookout to let Julia know about some unauthorized commercial use of "Julia Child" (or, one time, "Julia Wild"). She would call me, I would contact the offending company or its ad agency, and the dialogue would typically go like this:

"But they do it on Saturday Night Live" ("That's different"), followed by, "Well, please tell her we're sorry" ("Not good enough"), followed by a discussion of what would be a suitable fine for the offense. "But I thought you said she doesn't take money." "She doesn't. You send the money to me, I send it to her, and she gives it to charity."

And that is exactly how it went, several times. Julia never kept a dime, not even the legal fees. She gave the money to her "favorite charity," the American Institute of Wine and Food. After these episodes Julia would say, "I do hope they do it again. The Institute needs the money, you know."

Eating out with Julia was one of life's great experiences. The food was always wonderful ("the chef would like to make something special for you"), the service exceptional and Julia her magnanimous self. She would always ask the chef where he or she trained, where they found such wonderful ingredients (especially the mushrooms), whether they knew so-and-so, and so

forth. She made a point of praising the food, but only when she meant it. She was no phony.

Bob Johnson was the first person we knew who had AIDS. For Julia, his illness and death was a very painful experience. She was, in some ways, an old-fashioned woman, but she had a heart to match her frame and was extremely open-minded. Here her beloved Bob was fading away in front of her eyes, from an illness she had only read about.

She spent many hours with him, at her home, at a restaurant when he could go out, at his bedside when he could not. She was then working on her book "The Way to Cook," published in 1989. The book is dedicated "To the memory of Robert H. Johnson, dear friend and mentor who brought so much of this to pass."

Bill Truslow was the perfect lawyer to succeed Bob -- skilled, dignified, gentle. Julia relied on him, as she had on Bob, to take care of the legal side of her life, which he did with consummate skill.

And Bill, like Bob, became her close friend and confidant. He did many things for her, none more important than helping her and Paul navigate Paul's lengthy decline, and later guiding her through the difficult process of leaving Cambridge and moving to Santa Barbara.

All three of us got to know Julia Child the person. She was very large, smart, funny and completely focused. She was not one-dimensional by any means. Food was at the center of her life, but it was not her entire life.

Many times she would call to talk politics. "What do you think of this man Clinton?" she once asked (she liked him). And, long ago, "I can't stand that Richard Nixon fellow." Adding such words as "man" and "fellow" was typically Julia.

One part of Julia's life has not received enough attention. She was charitable, and not just to the American Institute of Food and Wine. Three times, she and I were co-auctioneers at charity fundraising events, twice in New Hampshire and once in Boston. That woman knew how to get behind a cause, and she knew how to sell. The words ring in my ears: "Remember, it's tax

deductible!" She also knew how to buy. If no one bid what she thought was enough, she bought it.

She was also loyal. When Hill & Barlow came to its untimely end, late in 2002, Julia was already in Santa Barbara. Bill and I called her together to tell her the news, and to reassure her. She asked, "How could this happen? It feels like a death in my family." She was immediately solicitous of us. "Are you both all right?" she asked. "Where will you go?" We told her everything would be fine.

The last time I went out with Julia was late in 2002. My wife, Virginia Eskin, was performing a piano recital at the Museum of Fine Arts (Virginia had provided the music for the series "Dinner at Julia's"). Julia loved music and knew a lot about it, and she accepted my invitation for dinner and

the concert. When it came time to pay the bill, the chef came to our table and said there would be no charge -- it was his privilege to cook for Julia Child.

I knew how he felt. For Bob, Bill and me, it was our privilege to represent her, and even more so to be her friend.

Joseph D. Steinfield is a partner in the Boston law firm of Prince, Lobel, Glovsky & Tye.

© 2004 Lawyers Weekly Inc., All Rights Reserved.

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Thank you for posting that lovely reminiscence.


Michael aka "Pan

 

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Thanks for the posting. I hadn't read it. Yet another reason to admire and respect her.



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I can still picture her riding around in her little car with a wooden spoon attached to her antenna (so she coud find her car in a lot, she said) We shopped the same market in Boston before I knew who she was. The now, no longer, Malben's where she had a food locker. They had the best cheeses and Olives in barrels, honey from all over the world what a loss in the closing. We never again had a market as good. Later Julia would go to Savanor's in Cambridge where we both lived but that will never replace Malben's. They opened a branch in Boston. You can buy rxotic meats but it's a very tiny shop.


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

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I can still picture her riding around in her little car with a wooden spoon attached to her antenna (so she coud find her car in a lot, she said) We shopped the same market in Boston before I knew who she was. The now, no longer, Malben's where she had a food locker. They had the best cheeses and Olives in barrels, honey from all over the world what a loss in the closing. We never again had a market as good.  Later Julia would go to Savanor's in Cambridge where we both lived but that will never replace Malben's. They opened a branch in Boston. You can buy rxotic meats but it's a very tiny shop.

As soon as my son takes his driving test in my car I am using the wooden spoon on the antenna. (so as not to have him called out for that) Thank you!

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