Happy Birthday, Julia!
Today is the birthday of Julia Child. She would have been 104. If I was invited to a party for her, I would wear some pearls and bake her a cake with a frosting made of lots of butter! I wish I could have met her personally.
And yet, I felt as though I knew her, because she and I were 'in the kitchen' together.
Julia Child was born August 15th, 1912 in Pasadena, CA.
When World War II broke out, she joined the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), hoping to be a spy.
But, she ended up a file clerk, slept on cots and wore an army uniform.
She met her future husband, Paul Child in Ceylon (Sri Lanka),who loved food and introduced her to cooking.
When they were sent to France, Julia enrolled at the Cordon Bleu cooking school.
Later, with friends Simone and Louisette, the three formed their own cooking school.
When they returned to the states, they settled in Cambridge, MA.
It was then that the French Chef tv show was born.
.....and that is about the time when Julia and I 'met'.
I was a young bride, living in a rented farmhouse on the outskirts of Waukesha, WI. We had a little tiny, turquoise tv and when I found her show, I was glued to that set...with a notebook!
I wrote down what she said and cooked that day, then went to the grocery store and made it that night!
That's really how I learned more and more about cooking.
At first, I had just a small, paperback cookbook, but it was my cooking 'bible'.
Later, when Mastering the Art of French Cooking came on the scene (2 volumes), I bought those.
Julia felt like my friend, all those many years.
She made learning to cook seem like it was something we could do, and I did.
My mother loved to eat and cook and she made wonderful things: prime rib, crisp green salads, gravy just like velvet, homemade bread, fruitcake for the holidays, egg nog, and th best fried chicken ever!
But: I was in Wisconsin, and my mother was in California!
In comes Julia to fill in that gap!
Of course, living next door to Mary Ballard who had 6 children and made incredible pies was a big help, too!
Mary taught me how to make her pie crust and I was good to go!
I remember walking the floor with a baby who was teething and the baby was in one hand and Julia's book in the other.
When this movie came out, I was ecstatic----it made me want to get that book out and make every single thing in it!
So, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, dear Julia-Happy Birthday to you.
You have a special place in my heart and yes, in my kitchen.
I dedicate my knives and my cutting board to you!
I think I'll go buy some butter, in your honor.
Rest well, my friend.