Julia Child had an enormous influence on my life. She was large and not terribly graceful, and had a highly distinctive way of speaking. She was the first woman to go on television and present a live cooking show, and I watched that show and all of the shows she did after it. She made me feel that I could do anything – not only in the kitchen where she made mistakes regularly and nonchalantly kept right on going – but also in life in general.
When celebrating her birthday a few years ago, the Culinary Historians of Atlanta sponsored a talk that I catered. I used The French Chef Cookbook to make Tarte Aux Pommes (puff pastry shells, applesauce, sugar, French brandy,lemon zest, butter, apple, apricot jam); The Way to Cook Video Series for the recipe for Salad Niçoise (green beans, kalamata olives, potatoes, capers, anchovies,grape tomatoes, white wine vinegar, olive oil, Dijon mustard); From Julia Child’s Kitchen for Oeufs aux asparagus purée (eggs, asparagus, sour cream, salt, pepper, olive oil, nutmeg); and The Way To Cook for Farce a la Tapénade (tuna, kalmata olives, olive oil, garlic, anchovy paste,capers, French brandy, parsley). I also served Goldfish Crackers, since Julia was known for serving them at dinner parties for a festive flair!
She had an amazing life, and had a fantastic attitude. She set her mind to learning to cook, and then to teaching that to Americans to bring us out of the post-war years and early packaged food craze. (I can remember a frozen TV dinner being a real treat when I was a kid – Holy Tin Foil, Batman!) She inspired my dad and me to experiment together in the kitchen and learn new things. I am very grateful for that 6 foot tall woman with the nasal voice that showed me what could be possible.