Dinner with Julia
I don't imagine there's a single food lover within range of a television, radio or the Internet who doesn't know by now that Julia Child, "America's First Foodie," died last Friday at her home in Santa Barbara, Calif., just a few days before she would have celebrated her 92nd birthday.
There's not much I can add to the outpouring of words that have followed her death, other than to observe that seldom has any public figure in any realm been so unanimously highly regarded. Her unique style, her voice and her ready laugh may have invited parody, but it was always loving parody. She didn't have a hateful bone in her body, and people instinctively responded to that.
Just about everyone who loves food and enjoys cooking - especially those of us in the Baby Boom generation and our older siblings and parents - fondly remembers watching her television programs and honing our own cooking skills by working through her cookbooks from Coq au Vin to French bread and beyond. (My own original copy of The French Chef wasn't nearly as durable as Julia herself, finally succumbing to overuse and falling-out pages after only a few years of hard duty.)
With Robert Mondavi, another respected elder, Julia was co-founder of the American Institute of Wine and Food (AIWF), which memorialized her thus: "... Julia Child has been an active participant, the mother of the AIWF, a guiding light, a philosopher, a grand visionary, our best teacher, and a source of inspiration to our leaders and members. She will remain in our hearts and minds both as we cook, and as we share the pleasures of food and wine around our tables. We celebrate her life, and the joy and knowledge she brought to all of us."
Now, in place of the usual recipe, I'd like to invite you to participate in a cooking memorial. Credit for this gentle notion goes to Jenise Stone, genial host of our online Food Lovers' Discussion Group.
Here's her friendly "Dinner for Julia" challenge:
"The passing yesterday of this beloved American food icon has left a big empty chair at our virtual kitchen table.
"So, I know it's corny but hey, but I can risk being corny, so what say we all make dinner for Julia this week? Let's get out her books (it seems everyone has at least one), or go searching on the Internet where recipes attributed to her no doubt abound, and make a dish, or even a meal, that Julia might have made.
"Then pour glasses of good wine for all prsent and she who cannot be there after all, raise it in her memory, and say 'Bon Appetit!' like you've never said it before."
I think this is a brilliant idea, and urge you to participate by making a Julia Child dinner for yourself, family or friends. Extra credit if you choose to share a report on the dishes you chose and how you made them. But even if you simply do "Dinner with Julia" quietly on your own, I hope you'll give it a try.
For an extra chuckle while you're there, take a moment to click the "Julia said it" link on the Front Page for a short collection of some of her memorable sayings.
DISCUSS COOKING IN OUR ONLINE FORUM:
Click the REPLY button on the forum page to post a comment or response. (If your E-mail software broke this long link in half, take care to paste it all back into one line before you enter it in your Web browser.)
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This is The 30 Second Wine Advisor's weekly FoodLetter. To subscribe or unsubscribe, change your E-mail address, or for any other administrative matters, please use the individualized hotlink found at the end of your E-mail edition. If this is not practical, contact me by E-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, including the exact E-mail address that you used when you subscribed, so I can find your record.Thursday, Aug. 19, 2004
Copyright 2004 by Robin Garr. All rights reserved.
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