Today, August 15th 2012 would have been Julia Child’s 100th birthday: a day that’s already been immortalized on Twitter (#JC100) by food writers and bloggers around the globe. Credited as the woman who revolutionized North America’s relationship with food, Julia Child remains a culinary icon whose books, TV series and inimitable culinary style live on in the hearts of chefs, home cooks and gourmands who continue to be inspired by her. Toronto journalist Marion Kane is going even further, adding the voices of those who knew Julia best in a series of documentary-style podcasts which will be featured on her website.
“It means a great deal to me to honour Julia in this way. Her work has had a profound impact on some of the world’s best chefs, thousands of home cooks and on me personally. This is my tribute to the woman I was lucky to call a friend” says Kane. Podcasts include interviews with Julia’s editor and friend Judith Jones, Julia’s grandnephew Alex Prud’homme who helped his great-aunt pen “My Life in France”, Bob Spitz, a former rock musician who managed the careers of Bruce Springsteen and Elton John, and who wrote the well-researched, entertaining book “Dearie” about Julia, timed for publication during Child’s centenary. Future podcasts and blog posts will include interviews with Stephanie Hersch (Julia’s personal assistant for close to two decades) as well as key players in Julia’s visits to Toronto in the early 90s. Mark McEwan, Jamie Kennedy, Alison Fryer and Hart Melvin all weigh in on how Julia impacted them and what it means to have had the chance to meet and/or cook for the legend.
This week’s JC100 recipe – the final one – is, fittingly, Julia’s iconic Boeuf Bourguignon, from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Vol. 1. Julia describes this dish as “certainly one of the most delicious beef dishes concocted by man.” Certainly, in my jetlagged state in which I wander around the house aimlessly as my “to do” list piles up and my suitcase lays abandoned, half-unpacked still, I needed delicious. Both to eat and to cook. Over the weeks I have been away, people have consistently commented on how they “don’t know how I do it” as in, how to I continue to cook, bake and blog even in foreign kitchens when I am supposedly on holiday. Well the truth is, cooking and baking ground me and make me feel like all is right in the world. You know how you just know that an egg, sugar, flour and butter will make pastry, no matter where you are, even if you use a wine bottle to roll it out. It makes you feel less discombobulated, more in control.
This recipe, so complex and rich in flavour, requires only a few simple ingredients, yet it will fill your house with gorgeous smells – indeed, this made the house feel more like home yesterday, amidst the post-vacation chaos.
To make your own you can find a version of Julia Child’s beef bourguignon on Epicurious. And as Julia would say, “Bon Appétit!”. To Julia, I say thank you. For wonderful recipes and stories. Happy Birthday.
* YC Media and Random House/ Alfred A. Knopf launched the JC100 earlier this year: an international campaign involving restaurants, chefs, bookstores, and bloggers, all celebrating Julia and her legacy.
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This week, I have very much enjoyed reading various writers and bloggers’ tributes to Julia and one of my favourites has been Dianne Jacob’s post on honouring Julia’s memory by reading her books. Definitely worth a read.