15 August 2007

O Julia, Julia, cook and nifty wench...

Today would have been Julia Child's 95th birthday.

Champaign Taste is having a bloggy anniversary party for Julia and I just had to join in. Julia's - yes, I never met her, but she's Julia to me - Julia's been a part of my life since I won two prizes in a junior high school French class cooking competition - using her recipes for onion soup and an apple clafouti.

I've posted a couple of her recipes over the past year, for said apple clafouti, and for garlic mashed potatoes. And my very first post was her crack about butter.

Her cookbooks take place of honor on my cookery bookshelf:

  • Mastering the Art of French Cooking, volumes 1 and 2
  • From Julia Child's Kitchen
  • The Way To Cook
  • Baking with Julia

I grew up with a cartoon framed in my mother's kitchen - a woman swilling straight out of the sherry bottle while her husband asks "Been watching the French Chef again?".

And my standard pie crust, the one I make with my eyes shut? Straight from Julia:

2 cups flour
1 t. salt
1 T. sugar (if it's for something sweet, leave it out otherwise)
1 stick unsalted butter
3 T. shortening or lard
2-3 T. ice water

Combine in the usual manner.

For her birthday in 1961, her husband Paul wrote a sonnet for her - here 'tis, if you've never had the pleasure.

O Julia, Julia, cook and nifty wench,
Whos unsurpassed quenelles and hot souffles,
Whose English, Norse and German, and whose French,
Are all beyond my piteous powers to praise --
Whose sweetly-rounded bottom and whose legs,
Whose gracious face, whose nature temperate,
Are only equalled by her scrambled eggs:
Accept from me, your ever-loving mate,
this acclamation shaped in fourteen lines
Whose inner truth belies its outer sight;
For never were there foods, nor were there wines,
Whose flavor equals yours for sheer delight.
O luscious dish! O gustatory pleasure!
You satisfy my taste-buds beyond measure.

Julia, thank you and Happy Birthday.


pinknest said...

aww, this is lovely! i want to watch a bunch of french chef episodes now.

NotSoSage said...

This makes me want to know more...

S said...

Oh, this is sweet.

I always loved watching her show.

niobe said...

Mmmm...apple clafouti. I've always admired the pictures of cherry clafouti, but balked at the thought of pitting all. those. cherries. (I think I remember that you said once that you had some kind of cherry-pitting gadget. But even so.)

painted maypole said...

that sonnet is great.

S. said...

I did meet her. She was involved in the cookbook collection of a library where I worked in college, and I worked on the enormous task of preparing the 1500 cookbooks that she donated so they could be added to library's collection.

She really did sound like that!

Lisa said...

Beautiful! I love your post. The memories of the cartoon, the Julia quotes, the poem are all wonderful. Thank you so much for making this a great event.

P.S. The roundup will be posted soon (today, that is)!

Maewen Archer said...

Love the sonnet.

susan said...

I had thought of you when I heard on the radio that it was Julia's birthday. What a great post.

Kalyn Denny said...

How fantastic, I just adore the sonnet. Thanks for sharing!

Blue Zebra said...

What a special tribute! Awesome to post the sonnet. They sounded like a totally smashing couple of lovebirds - their entire marriage.

I loved watching her cook while I was growing up!

Love your blog, btw!


S said...

Come by my site to receive an award!

Simona Carini said...

Very nice! The sonnet is a really sweet touch.

BOSSY said...

Just the thought of Julia makes Bossy want to slug some cooking wine. Any excuse, really.
(they don't make 'em like that anymore)

Anonymous said...

What a lovely tribute! And thanks for the pie crust recipe!

Katie Zeller said...

That poem is fantastic! Lovely tribute.
On another note, I saw your counter.... now that was depressing - 521 days?!? Will we make it that long? Yikes!

Anonymous said...

That's a cute poem. Paul was so sweet. They were such a wonderful couple. Now I feel like watching the French chef dvds...

Anonymous said...

I'd never seen the sonnet - FABULOUS. Thank you.