If you become a cultural icon, those who come after in your field will almost certainly be compared to you and your achievements. And if you were the late Julia Child
, ground-breaking television chef and champion of French cooking in the United States, you would find your name to be the first half of a lot of comparisons. The Julia Childs, as it were.
Famous within their respective specialities, these pioneering women vary greatly in their fame among the general populace. This list is not exhaustive (indeed it includes none of the Julia Childs of Yoga or Gardening or Crochet or Rock 'n' Roll or any number of other activities which are legion
on their own), and there may well be more Julia Childs in the future. But this is a starter, an appetizer … an apéritif, if you will.
The Julia Childs of world cuisines in the USA:
Mexican: Diana Kennedy
She has received awards from the Mexican government as well as worldwide awards and acclaim for her tireless research and publication on the vast array of Mexican techniques, ingredients, and dishes. Her first book was The Cuisines of México (1972); her latest, Oaxaca al Gusto: An Infinite Gastronomy (2010). "The Julia Child of Mexico?" she says in a 2012 Saveur article
"Oh dear, what nonsense."
Previously on MeFi: "Wahaca"
Indian: Madhur Jaffrey
Author, chef, actress, teacher, and TV star, she is one of the leading authorities on Indian cuisine, particularly transforming them for the Western palate. Her first book, An Invitation to Indian Cooking (1973) has become a classic; her latest is My Kitchen Table: 100 Essential Curries (2011). And if that weren't enough, she might well be responsible for introducing James Ivory and Ismail Merchant
(whose films she has also starred in).
Italian: Marcella Hazan
Her famous tomato sauce alone is enough to elevate her to the immortals, but Hazan (who passed away
only two weeks ago) was a gifted writer, multiple award-winner, and absolute expert on Italian food. Her books include everything from The Classic Italian Cook Book: The Art of Italian Cooking and the Italian Art of Eating (1973) to Amarcord: Marcella Remembers (2008).
In 2008, Authors@Google hosted Hazan and her husband, and the hour-long talk is available on YouTube
See the recent MeFi post by helmutdog at the time of her passing for more links: Marcella Hazan - A Culinary Giant
Persian: Najmieh Batmanglij
An Iranian-American born in Tehran, exiled to France where she began her career in cooking and published her first cookbook, in French: Ma Cuisine d'Iran (1984). She has become a renowned teacher, chef, and author in the United States, where she settled in Washington DC. In 2011, she published an updated, 25th-anniversary version of her classic Food of Life: Ancient Persian and Modern Iranian Cooking and Ceremonies.
As her Wikipedia page
points out, "Her sons are Rostam Batmanglij of the band Vampire Weekend, and Zal Batmanglij, director of the 2011 Sundance film Sound of My Voice."
Vietnamese/Asian: Corinne Trang
The Washington Post
christened her with "the Julia Child of Asian Cuisine", which is a heavy mantle to bear. But Trang has formed a career over the last 20 years as a chef, author, professor, food TV/radio guest, lecturer, yoga instructor, wellness coach, and expert on Vietnamese and other Asian cuisines.
Jamaican/Caribbean: Norma Shirley
She never published a cookbook, but was a world-famous chef, TV guest, and restauranteur in Jamaica and the US. She passed away in 2010.
Four of her recipes can be found in this Jamaica Observer article: Norma's Catch of the Day
-- Salt-fish Bull Jhol or 'Pick-up' Codfish, Steamed fish in vegetable broth with bammy, Tomato with Buffalo Mozzarella and Fresh Basil, and Tomatoes with Anchovies, Orange and Olives.
Other Julia Childs:
Julia Childs for their own countries:
And just so we don't forget why we're all gathered here today, here is an early episode of the inimitable (well…
) Julia Child (singular): Boeuf Bourguignon
, and again in 1987 with David Letterman