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Happy Birthday, Julia
August 14, 2012 12:48 PM   Subscribe

Tomorrow would have been Julia Child's 100th birthday. To celebrate, PBS Digital Studios offers: Julia Child Remixed. They also have created a celebration page, complete with an infographic, recipes, quotes, videos and more.

In the weeks leading up to her birthday, PBS has been releasing full episodes of her shows to stream online, at The Julia Child Video Collection:

* In Julia’s Kitchen: "Julia takes an in-depth look at contemporary American cooking: she cooks with the pros, detailing their techniques and dishes for the home cook."
* Baking With Julia: "Julia hosts America’s leading chefs to bake dishes ranging from bread to petit fours to cakes and cookies. Plus, don’t miss Julia wield a blow torch."
* Cooking With Master Chefs: "Watch Julia share the kitchen with America’s top chefs, including Jacques Pepin, Lidia Bastianich, Emeril Lagasse, Alice Waters and more."
* Cooking in Concert Series: "Julia partners with Jacques Pepin and Graham Kerr to thrill crowds in these live specials that illustrate the skill, humor and personality of the masters."
* The French Chef: The show that started it all: "Share Julia’s love of fine French food and learn to cook some of her most loved dishes with this special collection of 3 episodes from her original 1960s series."
* Julia & Jacques: Cooking at Home (Hulu link) "Julia Child and Jacques Pepin join together with fire, fun and culinary genius in what became another classic hit. This was Julia’s last series on PBS."

In 1999, Child was interviewed for TV Legends, and spoke about her life and early influences. Site. Playlist. Parts: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

The French Chef: Boeuf Bourguignon, aka Beef Burgandy

Recipes
* PBS Food
* Gallery and Recipes from the Washington Post.
* Julia Child's Recipe Series from the Smithsonian
* Random House: Recipes from Mastering the Art of French Cooking
Simply Recipes: Julia Child
* NYT: The Julia Child Recipes Home Cooks Still Make
* YumSugar: 7 Standout Julia Child Recipes
* Ladies Home Journal: Meryl Streep's and Amy Adams' Favorite Julia Child Recipes

Essays and Tributes
* PBS: Celebrity Chef Tributes
* WGBH: Home of The French Chef, they're posting video clips and recipes on their blog
* Jacques Pepin: Memories of a Friend, Sidekick and Foil
* Russel Morash, Jr., Director of The French Chef
* Tori Avey / The History Kitchen: Brave, Curious, Bright and Fearless: A Tribute to Julia Child
* Melissa Clarke / NYT: On a Floating Island with Julia Child

Additional Articles and Reference Pages
* 2009 Vanity Fair: Laura Jacobs on Julia Child
* The New York Times: Julia Child
* Biography.com

Previously on MeFi
* Oniongate
* How to Make Primordial Soup
* Julia Child, Superspy
* Julia Child dies at 91
posted by zarq (52 comments total) 86 users marked this as a favorite

 
Still miss her. Thanks for a great commemorative post!
posted by trip and a half at 12:53 PM on August 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Find something you're passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it." (source)

Her voice is one of those ones long ingrained into my childhood memories that I can hear when I read things written in her voice.

And her laugh is indelible.

Awesome post, thanks.
posted by tilde at 12:53 PM on August 14, 2012 [3 favorites]




The one link I would have like to include in this post but didn't was the Smithsonian Museum's site for Julia's Kitchen, taken from her Cambridge, MA home. The exhibition is under renovation, and the page and its alternate link are both currently down. Here's a cover page for the exhibition, which does load.
posted by zarq at 12:54 PM on August 14, 2012


Two more links:

Julia on David Letterman
Smithsonian Magazine: Cooking with Julia Child
posted by zarq at 12:57 PM on August 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


It is Shark Week and no mention of her work for the OSS developing shark repellent?
posted by b1tr0t at 12:58 PM on August 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


"I always give my bird a generous butter massage before I put it in the oven. Why? Because I think the chicken likes it—and, more important, I like to give it."--Julia Child

Thank you for this great post, zarq!
posted by MonkeyToes at 1:00 PM on August 14, 2012 [6 favorites]


b1tr0t: "It is Shark Week and no mention of her work for the OSS developing shark repellent?"

You just did! :)

I didn't even realize it was shark week!
posted by zarq at 1:01 PM on August 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


zarq, Your first link above to the Smithsonian online exhibition seems to be fully functional for me, and is hella cool, too!
posted by trip and a half at 1:07 PM on August 14, 2012


I saw the remix earlier today and was very surprised to see Julia Child sitting with a very familiar bottle. Yeah, sriracha: not just delicious, but Julia Child approved!
posted by gilrain at 1:20 PM on August 14, 2012


Julia's magic table. The photo accompanies Ruth Reichl's "Julia Child's Recipe for a Thoroughly Modern Marriage," which appeared in the Smithsonian Magazine.
posted by MonkeyToes at 1:29 PM on August 14, 2012


Because I think the chicken likes it

Given her hatred of vegetarians,
I'm not surprised she thinks chickens are shmoos with feathers.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 1:35 PM on August 14, 2012


Sweet Child of Mine
posted by get off of my cloud at 1:35 PM on August 14, 2012


One of my happier purchases is a DVD set of Julia Child - The French Chef. It's very early episodes, she's quite young, and the production is a weird mix of amateur and brilliant. Great TV and puts all the cooking/entertainment shows on The Food Network in an interesting perspective.
posted by Nelson at 1:36 PM on August 14, 2012


There's something that's just very, very PBS about this...
posted by schmod at 1:41 PM on August 14, 2012


I just finished reading her memoir, My Life in France, completely coincidentally to her centennial birthday. As I said on GoodReads, I am completely enamored of her marriage with her husband, Paul. If it is a possible thing to have a crush on someone else's relationship, then I do.
posted by donajo at 1:42 PM on August 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


My mom was always a good cook, and she did teach me a lot, but for a while as an adult I still felt tied to recipes and the same few things over and over. Around the time Julia passed away, I started reading about her, and decided to get serious about learning to cook better, so I bought Mastering the Art of French Cooking. No, I didn't do the "Julie & Julia" thing, I just knew I needed a good comprehensive book that would teach me techniques well. Her writing style of "master recipe with variations" was the key. I still remember the night I was flipping through the recipes for chicken breasts and thought "hey, I can take this recipe for chicken breast but use the sauce from that other recipe for something else" - and that's when I really started to "get it." Proud to say my Facebook posts about cooking now make my friends want to come over for dinner!
posted by dnash at 1:52 PM on August 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


After I read an autobiography, I often feel like the person is a friend, or at least someone I used to know. (I love autobiographies.) She's one of these, and we're on a first name basis since I read "My life in France" a while back.

Sometimes when cooking I'll comment about how she would approve or disapprove. Lots of butter? Julia would approve. Carefully sharpened knife that's a pleasure to use? Julia would approve. Making scrambled eggs in 15 seconds with the flame turned up all the way? Oh my, Julia would certainly disapprove. She might even throw something at me. But then we'd probably have wine with our scrambled eggs and forget about it.
posted by fritley at 1:56 PM on August 14, 2012 [6 favorites]


trip and a half: "zarq, Your first link above to the Smithsonian online exhibition seems to be fully functional for me, and is hella cool, too!"

So odd. I still can't get in.

Well, I'm glad you could! Enjoy!
posted by zarq at 1:59 PM on August 14, 2012


My big discovery this weekend, and probably my biggest and best discovery ever, is that all 10 seasons of The French Chef are available for free streaming with Amazon Prime. I nearly cried when I saw that.

Last night I watched the Tripe episode from season 9. She produced an entire cow's stomach (along with a cutaway line diagram, which she proudly exclaimed was drawn by her husband). She explained what each chamber does. She dismembered it. She referred to one big hunk of tripe as "my bathing cap" (!). In what world would you ever see something like that on TV today? If you did, it would be Guy Fieri rolling his eyes and making faces and mugging about the prospect of having to put a piece of tripe in his mouth.

There are lots of wonderful things about Julia. She found her passion late in life, and then helped other people realize that they could share that passion. She made cooking accessible. She made techniques seem simple. Her cooking show is actually instructional.

I wish the producers of food TV today (most PBS shows excluded) would go back and watch some Julia. She set the gold standard, and her show never jumped the shark. Neither did she.

I feel kind of silly saying this over something that's really pretty trivial, but I hate how food TV has evolved, and I think she would too, and dammit, I miss her.

Happy birthday, Julia. I'll raise a glass to with you tonight.
posted by mudpuppie at 2:20 PM on August 14, 2012 [9 favorites]




mudpuppie, I can't thank you enough for sharing your big discovery, because I am now so so so excited to go home tonight and watch some French Chef. zarq, I am favoriting this post so hard. Thank you.

I remember watching The Food Network back in high school and college, back when it was more here-let's-cook and less all-cooking-showdowns-all-the-time. The problem is, back then I didn't like to cook and didn't really want to learn how, so everything was just fun to watch. Over the last year or two (mostly since I've moved into my own place and have a kitchen I can monopolize) I've taken way more of an interest in cooking and now I'm practically dying for something like The French Chef.

I admit that I have such a crush on Julia Child after reading My Life In France and now that I'm working my way through As Always, Julia. There's just something amazing about her, and about her relationships with her husband, her friends, and well, food. She's given me something to strive for in both my kitchen and my life in general. Happy birthday, Julia, and thanks.
posted by alynnk at 2:50 PM on August 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Her writing style of "master recipe with variations" was the key.

Yeah, I read a lot of cook books, and that is by far my favorite school of cookbook writing, and Mastering the Art of French Cooking is one of my favorites.

I think part of it is that the French philosophy about high cuisine lends itself very well to that sort of thing. It's very hierarchical in how things are categorized. You've got your 5 mother sauces, learn the basic techniques for each of them, and you've got 100s of variations. I think it's because starting in the 17th century with La Varenne, there's this emphasis in setting up a theoretical system of cooking in the influential French cookbooks. It was a big split from earlier texts that were often as much philosophical treatises as actual recipes.

I'm not surprised she thinks chickens are shmoos with feathers.

Well, it could be a figure of speech meant to imply that the food will taste better as a result, or even just a joke, but I suppose it is much more satisfying to take something someone you don't like says in the least charitable light possible.
posted by Gygesringtone at 4:29 PM on August 14, 2012




Here in Australia, it's already her birthday. Here's our Google search page today.
posted by malibustacey9999 at 5:02 PM on August 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


Against my better judgment, I offer my own attempt at one of her harder recipes.
posted by Short Attention Sp at 5:16 PM on August 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Against my better judgment, I offer my own attempt at one of her harder recipes.

Fun video!

Suggestion? I see you followed her step of simmering the bacon first. Skip that. She was trying to re-created the flavor of un-smoked bacon from Europe, which was near impossible to find in America in the 50's and 60's. You can use pancetta instead, as it's un-smoked, or find another similar thing. Or you can just use regular American bacon as is - truthfully, it's not the end of the world to add some smoked bacon flavor to the dish, particularly if the bacon is good quality.

Oh, and the pearl onions? I hate peeling them. I try to find the frozen pre-peeled ones nowadays, although I can't always find a place that sells them. (And frankly sometimes I skip them altogether as they're not my favorite thing by a long shot.)

And for anyone who thinks Julia's Beef Bourguigon is "too fussy," have a look at Thomas Keller's version in Bouchon sometime. He has you separate the beef from the veggies with a layer of cheesecloth during simmering - then ALL the veggies in the sauce get tossed out, so you have to cook still more carrots, onions, etc. separately to add back at the end for the final dish. The one main suggestion I've taken from Keller on this dish? Use short ribs for the beef. OMG. Yum. (Is it Fall yet? Now I want to make some....)
posted by dnash at 5:34 PM on August 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


Julia Child teaches you to make an omelet.

I have NEVER been able to manage to make an omelet. ...I think I might be able to after watching this, though! Now i know what I'm having for dinner!
posted by smirkette at 6:46 PM on August 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


HOLY CRAP THAT WAS MAGIC! Verily, the spirit of Julia Child watched over me for I did indeed make a decent omelet right out of the gate using her technique. :raises glass of chardonnay towards the kitchen:
posted by smirkette at 7:00 PM on August 14, 2012 [11 favorites]


HOLY CRAP THAT WAS MAGIC!

And with only 13 minutes elapsed, minus travel time to/from computing device!
posted by mudpuppie at 7:04 PM on August 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


And with only 13 minutes elapsed, minus travel time to/from computing device!

Julia Child doesn't fuck around.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:18 PM on August 14, 2012 [4 favorites]


I'm loving what PBS Digital Studios is churning out these days. I've seen three of these Remixed videos so far, and they've all managed to be completely magical for me. I hope they keep doing this kind of thing. It's a perfect blend of nostalgia and here-and-now and feels targeted exactly at people my age. I don't mind that one bit.
posted by hippybear at 7:31 PM on August 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


OMFG. I have been ruining the shit out of my omelets for ages... I'm totally trying that tomorrow. HOORAY!!!!!
posted by palomar at 7:36 PM on August 14, 2012


I learned to cook, years before I actually took knife to food and food to pan, by watching The Frugal Gourmet on PBS. Much later, Jacques et Julia gave me much enjoyment and inspiration. Bon appetit, Julia.
posted by mollweide at 8:05 PM on August 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


The one link I would have like to include in this post but didn't was the Smithsonian Museum's site for Julia's Kitchen, taken from her Cambridge, MA home. The exhibition is under renovation, and the page and its alternate link are both currently down. Here's a cover page for the exhibition, which does load.

The exhibition is reopening today. The article promises that "butter and music will be involved."
posted by Cocodrillo at 5:24 AM on August 15, 2012 [2 favorites]




The article promises that "butter and music will be involved."

For some reason I picture the "music" as being an endless loop of that sprightly little tune that PBS used as the theme to her show on a continuous loop and that by the end of the day the docents are going to be grabbing people by the shirtcollars and sobbing "KILL ME AND MAKE IT STOOOOOOOOP"
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:41 AM on August 15, 2012


Cocodrillo: " The exhibition is reopening today. The article promises that "butter and music will be involved.""

And the link I posted above is now working! Yay!

From the article you posted:
The setting is ultra-real yet reverential. In this ordinary space, an extraordinary woman changed the way Americans ate. Three of her cooking shows were televised in it, amid the utensils, objects and art that made her happy. Where’s the appeal in a soulless, sleek cooking environment with everything tucked out of sight? This exhibit makes you wonder, and the curators say it prompts strangers to share stories with one another as they explore.

It gets even better for Julia-philes. The copper pot collection represented only in outline until it was reunited with Child’s kitchen in 2009 now hangs directly across from where it belonged. Child’s French Legion of Honor medal of 2000 and the 1996 Emmy statuette for “In Julia’s Kitchen With Master Chefs” are displayed nearby. The mystery of an accompanying, cantaloupe-size tea infuser has been solved: It’s a rice-cooking ball, says co-curator and project director Paula Johnson.

When “Julie & Julia” director Nora Ephron came to see the pots’ unveiling, she wrote a check on the spot to help support the museum’s Julia Child efforts. “She loved food, and she loved Julia,” Green says.


I should have waited a day to post! Some nice linked content there.

More tributes, some of which are from the PBS site, including Martha Stewart's. The Post is also conducting a live Q&A with one of Child's biographers at noon.
posted by zarq at 8:32 AM on August 15, 2012


Terrific post, thanks!
posted by Gelatin at 9:48 AM on August 15, 2012


The Baking with Julia two-part episode featuring Martha Stewart is not to be missed. Knowing of Martha mainly as a media mogul and never having seen her own shows, it was great to see her doing all the insane amount of hands-on work for her lovely monumental wedding cake. Not to mention her admiration for Julia.
posted by ancienteyes at 1:14 PM on August 15, 2012


Happy Birthday, Julia! We miss you.
posted by ericb at 1:17 PM on August 15, 2012


The Baking with Julia two-part episode featuring Martha Stewart is not to be missed. Knowing of Martha mainly as a media mogul and never having seen her own shows, it was great to see her doing all the insane amount of hands-on work for her lovely monumental wedding cake. Not to mention her admiration for Julia.

My favorite part of that episode -- Martha was making a really elaborate wedding cake -- was that at one point Martha Stewart forgot who was standing next to her and started to revert to Imperious Martha Stewart. While she was busy doing something else, she said to Julia, "Would you like to crack some of those eggs for me?", and gestured at the bowl of eggs. It was more of an imperative than a question.

Julia chuckled, shook her head, and very plainly stated "No."

Can't find the clip online, but it is AWESOME. I cheer every time I see it.
posted by mudpuppie at 1:31 PM on August 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


*snerk* I remember one of her appearances on David Letterman, when I think she was showing him how to make flaming cherries jubilee or something. At some point someone produced a fire extinguisher. Dave protested that they wouldn't be needing it, and then proceeded to do something silly. Julia just calmly said, "I think I'll still leave it right over here for the readiness ...."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:37 PM on August 15, 2012


Julia Child: What I've Learned: 'The secret of a happy marriage is finding the right person. You know they're right if you love to be with them all the time.'

The Julia Child (Birthday) Cake Recipe: Reine De Saba (or Queen of Sheba) Chocolate and Almond Cake
Adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume 1

Everyone Has A Julia Child Moment

100 Years of Julia Child, with a video remix of her show.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 1:40 PM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


mudpuppie: " Can't find the clip online, but it is AWESOME. I cheer every time I see it."

This is the full episode: Part 1, Part 2.
posted by zarq at 1:45 PM on August 15, 2012


Ooh, found the Martha/Julia clip. Fast forward to ~3:50.
posted by mudpuppie at 1:46 PM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


That's hilarious! Thanks for it. :D
posted by zarq at 1:48 PM on August 15, 2012


at one point Martha Stewart forgot who was standing next to her and started to revert to Imperious Martha Stewart
That's a funny moment for sure but I'm not picking up quite that undertone in Martha's question. To be fair, Julia was already in her mid-80s and maybe had no compunctions refusing to do anything she didn't feel like doing, maybe she didn't want to get her hands eggy, maybe she just preferred to observe and converse.

The bit that is memorable to me is Martha saying that the first time she had heard of a dacquoise was in Mastering the Art of French Cooking, with the implication that decades later there she was happy to be working with the author herself. That's what I see as Martha's admiration of Julia.
posted by ancienteyes at 2:02 PM on August 15, 2012


I prefer to believe that Julia put Martha in her place. :)
posted by mudpuppie at 2:16 PM on August 15, 2012


The remix video is wonderful.

One question, though. She says "bring on the roasted potatoes, bring on the ... something." What's the second thing we're supposed to bring on? "The boar's head" is our best guess, but we aren't sure. Anybody know?
posted by Alt F4 at 5:42 PM on August 16, 2012


I wasn't sure what she was saying after "Bring on the roasted potatoes", but it kinda sounded like Boursin. Mmmm, Boursin.
posted by palomar at 6:57 PM on August 16, 2012


CNN's story on the remix [video] has subtitles -- she's saying "bring on the Montrachet".
posted by alynnk at 1:29 PM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


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