I have always been a big fan of Julia Child. She is truly inspiring for having influenced the way Americans not only cook, but think about food. An article about Julia in the current (August 2009) issue of Vanity Fair magazine made me appreciate the impact she has had on so many of us.
I watched her on public television, not only in her later years – she hosted other chefs on her show in the 1990’s – but earlier too, when I was still at home growing up in the 1960’s. I remember my mother making beef bourguignon in that era. Some of Julia’s techniques must have rubbed off on me too. Today I like to create dishes with a roux base, and sometimes I cook with wine (a little for the pot, a little for me).
Julia’s life story is fascinating. During World War II she worked for the O.S.S. (which later became the C.I.A.) She had her own midlife transformation: she learned French cooking in her late 30’s, worked on the classic cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking in her 40’s, and started teaching the masses on her first PBS television show at age 49.
By the way, according to Laura Jacobs’ article in Vanity Fair, Julia loved the 1978 Saturday Night Live spoof of her starring Dan Ackroyd. I laughed until I cried the first time I saw that skit, and still crack up during the many times it has aired since then. Now I am looking forward to a new movie, Julie and Julia, starring Meryl Streep as Julia Child, due out next month. In the meantime, to quote Julia, “Bon Appetit!”