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Chris Amirault

Non-Julia Food World Mentors

7 posts in this topic

Sara, you've movingly chronicled your relationship to Julia elsewhere in this conversation. Surely there are others to whom you owe a debt of gratitude, either from personal contact or professional trailblazing. Do you have any other mentors who have inspired you? What did they do -- or do they still do -- that is so important?


Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Jean Anderson would be right up there.

I met her in the late 70's when she moved into my parent's building. She and my mom struck up a friendship while running the elevator during an elevator strike! I liked her instantly too. She was so no nonsense and so knowledgable. She had graduated top of her class at Cornell with a food and nutrition major. For part of her final exam she had to go into a room with a whole bunch of meat cuts just sitting on a counter and not only identify all of them correctly but also explain how to cook them!!! I am not sure I could do that now.

Anyway, we became friends and she started asking me to accompany her on trips as her photo and tasting assistant. Back in those days (early 80's, pre kids for me)

Jean not only wrote the article and found and tested the recipes, she also did all the photography. So I got to travel to Rio de Janeiro, Holland and Portugal with Jean. Traveling with her was a total education. For example when we were driving by a herd of cows in Holland, Jean told me what kind of cows they were and what percentage of butterfat their milk had.

When I had my live show on the food network, Jean was at the other end of the red phone - she knew all the answers. Actually I did not usually manage to talk to her while the show was happening but the next morning like clockwork she would give me a holler and tell me the right answer. I filled in the viewers that next night.

Jean has taught me about cookbook writing and recipe testing, advised me about all my important career decisions and introduced me to many other wonderful food professionals. She has written over 20 books, 5 of which have won major awards. Her "Doubleday Cookbook" is the book I give to newlyweds and her "Food Of Portugal" is the book I give to foodies. She has recently put up a website, jeanandersoncooks and you can go there to ask her all those burning questions that I used to be faced with on my live show, "why is my pound cake sagging, why did my sauce split, etc" Believe me she will have a solution.


Sara Moulton

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I wonder if she could answer the eternal gumbo question?

The American Century Cookbook is particularly intriguing. A whole history of American cooking in the 20th century. It was such a century of change in the kitchen, I must have it.


Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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I have and have also given many newlyweds Jean Anderson's "The New Doubleday Cookbook". It is really a great reference and many of my basic recipes still come from it. I've taken "The American Century Cookbook" out of the library and it is pretty fascinating. There are lots of great sidebars and additional research in the book regarding the history of many of the recipes. I'm also a fan of her "Foods of Portugal Cookbook" and "The New German Cookbook".

Thank you for sharing some of your reminiscences of times spent with Jean Anderson and also for telling us about her website.


Edited by ludja (log)

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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Here's those two books at Amazon with eGullet-friendly links:

<iframe src="http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=egulletcom-20&o=1&p=8&l=as1&asins=038519577X&=1&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&lc1=0000ff&bc1=000000&bg1=ffffff&f=ifr" style="width:120px;height:240px;" scrolling="no" marginwidth="0" marginheight="0" frameborder="0"></iframe>

<iframe src="http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=egulletcom-20&o=1&p=8&l=as1&asins=0517705761&=1&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&lc1=0000ff&bc1=000000&bg1=ffffff&f=ifr" style="width:120px;height:240px;" scrolling="no" marginwidth="0" marginheight="0" frameborder="0"></iframe>


Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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I wonder if she could answer the eternal gumbo question?

The American Century Cookbook is particularly intriguing. A whole history of American cooking in the 20th century. It was such a century of change in the kitchen, I must have it.

You are right, that was another great cookbook. I refer to it all the time.

Meanwhile, Jean could definitely weigh in on the gumbo question. Should I alert her to the question?


Sara Moulton

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