Julia Child epitomized “joie de vivre.” She celebrated life and taught the world how to bring the techniques and tastes of French cuisine into our homes. Her meticulous approach to teaching the culinary arts was engaging and welcoming to all who joined her on this journey.
It was an honor to interview Eric Spivey, chairman of the Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts. How fitting that the first ever Julia Child Foundation Award will be given to Chef Jacques Pepin at the gala in October. It was special to hear Eric’s personal recollections of his friendship with Julia, especially the time she came over to his house and taught his family how to shuck an oyster. A consistent theme that permeates from all who knew her is that Julia Child made you believe that you were the only person in the room when she was speaking to you. Julia Child was always focused on the moment. That’s a wonderful life lesson for all of us. According to Eric and to others who knew Julia Child, she had a voracious appetite to always keep learning. During International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) conferences, Julia would bring pen and paper and sit in the front row taking notes in the classes and even ask questions.
As we celebrate French food and my father’s life this month on Kitchen Chat, we of course must include the legendary Julia Child. She is truly an inspiration as I begin my own culinary journey mid-life to discover my father’s joy of cooking and to share these moments with you from my kitchen. As you may know, my biggest regret in life was not going into the kitchen with my father to learn how to cook. He was an outstanding gourmet home chef. Twenty-five years ago my father passed away from a massive heart attack during a business trip to Paris several months before my wedding.
My mid-life culinary journey has evoked taste memories from childhood. I remember traveling to Paris with my parents and eating my first Crepes Suzette. I will never forget how my dad smiled as the server held the flaming dessert at the table with theatrical presentation. Another special memory from childhood is when my dad went to work late one morning so he could make breakfast crepes for my French class.
In honor of my father, I attempted to make my first Crepes Suzettes by following Julia Child’s recipe. It was indeed challenging as I peeled the skin from two oranges to prepare the orange butter. And of course I had my fire extinguisher close by when I ignited the crepes to create a flambeau. You can watch the video here. I plated the crepes on the beautiful Flame of Life dinnerware designed by Barbara Lazaroff. The proceeds from her collection go to benefit charities including Meals on Wheels.
If you don’t yet have a copy of Julia Child’s Mastering The Art of French Cooking, you should add it to your cookbook library. Please visit my Kitchen Chat facebook page for additional updates from my culinary journey. Thank you for joining me on this special journey.
Savor the day!
To purchase tickets to the Julia Child Foundation gala, visit their website