Friday, December 16, 2005

Julia Child Contest

I am still savoring my Summer edition of Gastronomica: The Journal of Food and Culture. It was an entire issue devoted to none other than Julia Child. There are interviews, remembrances, stories, poems, songs and even a picture of Julia in the bathtub with her husband Paul! Reading about her as written by so many people who knew her so well is enlightening. And inspiring.

I thought I knew a lot about Julia Child, but I learned so much more reading this issue. It's the details that add depth to understanding someone who is already such a well-known figure. I knew that Julia took to cooking later in life but it's interesting to note she and Jacques Pepin started cooking in the same year--she was 36 years old and Jacques was 13. Pepin shares his slight jealousy upon seeing her landmark book Mastering the Art of French Cooking for the first time, admitting it was the book he thought he would write someday.

In working on her first book, Julia was obsessed with replicating the "French taste". Because Americans were not great wine drinkers at the time, she substituted 1/2 to 2/3 the amount of wine with vermouth in many recipes. While ingredients were important to her, she felt the key to cooking was in technique. Not a traditionalist, she loved using new-fangled gadgets like food processors and electric mixers.

More tidbits? Italian food was her least favorite cuisine. In 1989 she wrote a song about chocolate cake that premiered at the Kennedy Center. While she did not endorse products, she did publicly support political causes including Planned Parenthood and The National Audubon Society. A democrat in politics and in taste, she loved McDonald's french fries and even served Pepperidge Farms Milano cookies to guests.

And now for the contest! Here is a Julia Child quote. Can you complete it?

"One of the secrets of cooking is to correct something if you can or...."

A. live with it if you cannot
B. else call it "today's special"
C. go out to dinner if you cannot
D. try, try again

Choose the correct answer and post your guess in the comment section, be sure to include your email so I can contact you, if you win! Only one entry per person so choose carefully. The first person to correctly answer will receive a copy of Julie & Julia by Julie Powell. Four runners up will receive a combination measuring and tasting spoon.