Saturday, April 28, 2012

Enjoying Julia

Between the new job, the old jobs, tax season and my ailing cat, it's been a long hard month, so today I treated myself to a little break.  In between the housecleaning and the laundry I watched Julia Child: The French Chef, a 3-DVD set I checked out from the library.

The DVD sleeve says "includes 12 original episodes of the French Chef," so I thought that's all it was, but the first disc in the set is the PBS American Masters episode "Julia Child: America's Favorite Chef," a lovely biography with extensive information about her early life and also about her relationship with her husband.  The biography includes a fascinating video clip of the young Julia as bridesmaid in a gigantic picture hat, towering over everyone else in the wedding party, and the news that early in her adult life she turned down an offer of marriage from the heir to an "enormous" publishing fortune.  I was also unaware that it was the attack on Pearl Harbor which sent her to Washington and from there to Ceylon, where she was to meet the amazing Paul Child.

The other discs were in their own way even more fun, especially if you cook.  I couldn't help but laugh during the petit fours episode, when Julia kept assuring us that her fondant would reach the correct consistency "any minute now," and it stubbornly refused to harden.  In the days of live television, something like that must have messed up the timing for the entire show.  I also wondered how they flagged her about mistakes before the advent of teleprompter machines and in-ear microphones; in one show she erroneously stated that the recipe contained a half cup of almond extract; after a few minutes she looked startled, apologized, and said that the amount should be only a quarter of a teaspoon.  I visualized someone (perhaps Paul) frantically waving a chalkboard off camera. 

Such fun.  I'm inspired to spend tomorrow cooking wonderful things that I can eat during the rest of the week.

"If I can do it, you can do it...and here's how to do it!" ~Julia Child

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