Posts tagged #Happy Birthday Julia Child

Celebrating Julia Child's Birthday with the Cake that Made Her Cry

If anyone doubts the lasting fame of Julia Child, just consider that each August cooks and chefs around the world still celebrate her birthday even though she has passed the hundred year mark and is no longer with us. 

To many she is the individual who made the high art of French cooking approachable. To others she's the woman who made cooking fun or creative (or both). To still others she's that remarkable person who made being tall or different acceptable, even wonderful.

To members of the Hospitality Industry she is treasured because she combined joie de vivre with an unstoppable sense of professionalism. Just consider the story of the cake that made her cry....

Late in her career she filmed a segment of "Baking with Julia" for television with pastry Chef Nancy Silverton. The task at hand was to prepare a fruited Creme Fraiche Custard Brioche Tart in fixed amount of time so as not to exceed allotted TV  time slot. 

Everything was going well until the two chefs came to the final portion of the show which involved tasting the finished dessert. Because time was tight, Chef Silverton ladled the very hot syrup-based fruit topping onto the finished cake, never dreaming that Julia taste it while so hot.

But Julia did - smearing fruit topping and all!

Julia never even flinching a single face muscle. But she could not stop the tears of pain that started to roll down her face. With the grace and poise that endeared her to millions, she simply remarked, without spoiling the filming of the episode, that this was a cake so delightful it had brought her to tears.

Like a maitre d' who never panics at the sound of a breaking plate, Julia handled the situation with the poise of a professional. That is something we in the Industry can all admire and aspire to: don't panic, just get the job done with the least amount of fuss possible - and smile.

So, Happy Birthday Julia! Thank you for this great cake (and the lesson)!

Your Culinary World Copyright Ana Kinkaid/Peter Schlagel  2014

Le Cordon Bleu Honors Julia Child's 100th Birthday with the Perfect Recipe

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.

(Thank you, Meryl Streep, for both of these two amazing portrayal of Julia Child in the award winning movie, Julie and Julia).

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! 

Oeufs à la Bourguignonne' Recipe 

Your Culinary World copyright Ana Kinkaid/Peter Schlagel 2012