Long before Giada, Ina, and Nigella there was Julia. She needed just one name, for people knew who Julia was. Her television career commenced before I was born, but it was a long career and I have vivid memories of watching her, tall, with her shrill voice, on television - Channel 13. I would watch her truss chickens, debone fish, and prepare these long and complicated meals. She told jokes that at the time were way over my head, but yet even I knew they were funny. She was master of the French Cuisine and authored numerous cookbooks that were almost all named after her shows. She scoffed at "healthy cuisine" and believed that fat (butter and cream) were essential to good cooking. She brought, among many other recipes, Boeuf Bourguignon, French Onion Soup and Coq au Vin to the American table. Her cooking was methodical, detailed and often arduous, with many steps involved. Even though I had never sampled any of her cuisine, I could tell, simply by watching, that every laborious second spent on a dish translated into an end product that was nothing short of exquisite. I seem always pressed for time - my present lifestyle is not exactly conducive to her precision, but perhaps I should make a point, if only on weekends, to try my own hand at mastering the art of French cooking.
Julia was parodied in both Saturday Night Live and on The Cosby Show in the 1980s. Her biography is pages and pages long. She was a great influence on society, our cuisine and to all women - proving that when you find your passion, no matter how old you are you can still succeed, something this late bloomer loves.
While Julia was not terribly fond of Julie Powell, her blog, or her book, Julie and Julia which would eventually become a book and then a movie of the same name, starring Merryl Streep, Stanley Tucci and Amy Adams, the book and the movie would introduce this female Master Chef to a whole new generation. I, for one, happened to love both!
Want to try your hand at a couple of the recipes Julie made famous? Click on this PBS link to get some of Julia's most famous recipes. For more on Julia Child and her life, please visit the Julia Child Foundation.