Happy Birthday Julia! And who better than Le Cordon Bleu in Paris to celebrate this remarkable woman's 100th birthday for it was at this, France's most esteemed culinary school, that Julia first formally studied cooking.
However, it has surprised some that Le Cordon Bleu chose to honor Madame Child by posting on their website a recipe for such a humble dish as Oeufs à la Bourguignonne’ or eggs poached in red wine. (See a link to their recipe, also known as Oeufs en Meurette, below).
Yet have no fear - their choice is so much what Julia was truly about – simple fresh ingredients, great technique and a touch of historic French flair.
Just consider that Oeufs à la Bourguignonne’ was originally from beautiful Burgundy (the source for the red wine used in the recipe) and associated there with a Cadet Rousselle, who built in the late 1700's an open-air walkway above his house that offered shelter to birds (remember that eggs are also a key ingredient in the dish).
His strange walkway was soon immortalized in a local song that quickly became a favorite of Napoleon’s far marching soldiers.
It remained so popular that after a mere 50 years Tchaikovsky in czarist Russia chose to use it as the theme for the towering Mother Ginger and her many children in his beloved holiday ballet, The Nutcracker.
If you consider that Julia, like a modern Mother Ginger, led so many ingénue American home cooks out of the dark and into the larger world of fabulous French flavors, you can see how perfect (and oh so perceptively French) Le Cordon Bleu's honorary choice of cuisine was.
And what better work of musical talent could there be to represent Julia Child's love of sweets than The Nutcracker ballet with its many food references, all dancing by in wonder and delight.
Julia Child never had children of her own but she shared with millions the very best that she knew - how to enjoy life each and every day. What can we say for such a gift, but thank you! Julia, you are remembered and treasured!
Your Culinary World copyright Ana Kinkaid/Peter Schlagel 2012