A few weeks ago, I was teaching a group of young chefs French food. I was excited to share the love of butter, eggs, and cream with them through souffles, crepes, and mousses. I opened the introduction to class with my best Julia Child’s voice, “Bienvenu! Let’s begin on our journey through France!” This greeting is usually met with a chuckle and fond memories of this iconic voice in our living rooms coaching us all to become better cooks. But this time, I received silence, wide eyed weird looks. These kids had no idea who I was imitating. I then asked, “Do you all know who Julia Child is?” I was met again with blank stares, and slow head shaking no. These next generations of cook were laying in the shadow of Julia’s legacy and had no idea the culinary tree she had planted that grew over them.
August 15th will mark Julia’s 109th birthday. In the last seventeen years, since her death in 2004, the world of culinary media has exploded. The internet is full of home cooks and professional chefs all showing off techniques and favorite recipes. We have experienced an evolution of singular broadcast food programing to full steaming services of food shows filled with celebrity chefs.
This evolution started with the humble beginnings of a woman in her 50s just wanting to share her passion of French cooking to American households. It was 1963, and the The French Chef debuted on WGBH in Boston, becoming one of the first cooking shows in America. Three years later, she won an Emmy for Achievement in Educational Television – the first educational TV personality to win. This was just the start to her reshaping home cooking and pioneering television cooking.
She lived an extraordinary life with such grace, poise and tenacity. For a hour, she’d engaged you and coach you through the most technical dishes with her humor, her iconic voice echoed words of encouragement, and her passion would infect with inspiration to tackle the duties of dinner with the same grace and poise!
As her birthday weekend draws near we must celebrate simply by eating, drinking, watching, and reading! Here are a few things you could do to celebrate Julia!
- Make an omelet. – It’s simple I know. This was her TV debut cooking tutorial that launched her TV career. Maybe it will launch you to something great today?
- Wear a set of pearls while cooking
- Visit your favorite local French bakery or restaurant to divulge into the very warm and delicious world of French food. Maybe the French soup from Café Provencal, beef bourguignon from Brasserie by Niche, or a flaky croissant from Nathaniel Reid Bakery?
- Bring a cake to your next meeting to make it a party. In Julia’s word – “A party without a cake is just a meeting.”
- Take a cooking class. Kitchen Conservatory in Brentwood offers a Julia Child themed class on her birthday.
- Plan out a dinner party from her first book, Mastering the Art of French Cooking.
- Gather the ones in your life that love to eat and celebrate life through food.
- Have a movie night in her honor watching one of the many documentaries, or even the motion picture “Julie & Julia”
- Simply begin all your meals today with a long "BON APPETITE!"