long live Julia Child!

by Stevie on August 11, 2009

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This month would have been Julia Child’s 97th birthday (on August 15th!) Unfortunately she died in 2004 but her legacy continues. Best known as the lead author of Mastering the Art of French Cooking and the star of The French Chef TV series, she has had tremendous influence on the revitalization of American eating, cooking and dining habits. So it seems only fitting that with the birthday of this great woman and this weekend’s release of the new movie, Julie & Julia, that John would throw a fantastic Julia Child-inspired party.

The theme was French, French, and French! We were asked to make dishes from Mastering the Art of French Cooking. After a lot of trouble and two showers to get the butter smell out of my skin, I produced a fair version of pommes Anna. Hegui made a wonderful Julia classic, Aubergines en Pistouille, Froides, or Cold Eggplant a la Grecque with tomatoes and basil. John himself made two amazing Provençal style fish dishes: one with swordfish and the other with halibut. These had tomatoes, many herbs, anchovies and were just spectacular. I just had some leftovers earlier today and it’s even better! For dessert, he made Julia’s Gateau aux Noix—Le Saint-Andre, a kind of walnut cake that he served with freshly whipped cream with Gran Marnier. I had two slices at the party and more this morning!

pommes Anna and fish provençal

pommes Anna and fish provençal

Jasmine came by with her delightful friend, Marlena. Professor T’s still away on business in Japan so missed out. John’s friend, Chi Chi, came with her husband and some other family. Carey popped by and made it to the movie too. She’s looking more svelt than ever! Clarence had fun running around the apartment and basically showing off his bulldog stuff.

There were several kinds of French cheese and wines. I saw red Bordeaux happily standing side by side red Burgundy. Maybe the rivalry was suspended in honor of our muse, Julia Child? John also served an unusual cocktail with Chartreuse, vodka, tonic water and lime.

We heard only the finest French popular music from the Twentieth Century and in the background were playing episodes of The French Chef. Though I overindulged and I’m paying for it with a slight hangover today, it was a marvelous time!

do you like the color chartreuse?

do you like the color chartreuse?

At the end, we all trooped over to the Century Theatres in the new downtown shopping center to see the 10PM showing of “Julie & Julia.” This stars Meryl Streep as Julia Child; Stanley Tucci as Paul Child, Julia’s husband; Amy Adams plays the irrepressible Julie Powell and Chris Messina is Julie’s husband, Eric. I adore Meryl Streep! She’s so funny and such a versatile actress. And Stanley Tucci is a dream. I’ll never forget him starring alongside Edie Falco, both of them mostly naked, live on Broadway, in “Frankie and Johnny at the Claire de Lune.” He is so smoking hot! Streep and Tucci played alongside one another a few years back in the delightful and very successful “The Devil Wears Prada.” In “Julie & Julia,” they’re quite different but completely believable as a loving and happily married couple, who are both obsessed with food. I laughed out loud, possibly disturbing other theater-goers, when the Tucci character is being aggressively interviewed by the government during the McCarthy era in Washington DC and he replies, I thought humorously, “No, I am not a homosexual.” That has to be a classic Tucci line!

Julie, Julia and John

Julie, Julia and John

The story-line in Queens is really fun too, though I can see how the critics might complain. Somehow, Julie Powell’s dramatic hysterics don’t play as well on screen as they do in the book. Did you happen to notice that the Powells in the movie drank a lot of martinis and mostly red wine, while the Childs appeared to drink mainly white Burgundies? I wonder if that means something?

We all thought too late that it would have been great to have had a Julia Child dress-up contest with all of the guests arriving dressed like Julia. Good idea for next year!

artistically posed French wine

artistically posed French wine

Chi Chi and more

Chi Chi and more

Jasmine and Marlena

Jasmine and Marlena

cooking swordfish steaks

cooking swordfish steaks

reading from the bible

reading from the bible

Clarence on alert

Clarence on alert

butter with walnut cake

butter with walnut cake

fish provençal

fish provençal

Jasmine and Stevie

Jasmine and Stevie

pommes Anna and fish provençal

pommes Anna and fish provençal

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Thérèse-Marie August 11, 2009 at 10:37 am

According to all the biographies I have read and the oral
autobiography from Julia herself that was taped in 1999,
Julia Carloyn McWilliams Child was born on August 15, 1912…

It was just that the movie “Julie and Julia” that came out last Friday the 7th.

Looks as though you had a nice celeration with great food…!

Jasmine Turner August 11, 2009 at 12:54 pm

Oh my god, the food was so good, I loved everything there and ate all of it. I didn’t drink cause M & I drank way too much the night before at a cleaning party at my house. It was a bummer cause I wanted to try that French drink John made with the green alcohol and vodka/tonic. Oh well! Next time. The fish was amazing and the pommes and eggplant dish. It was unbelievable. I need to catch up and cook something from that book as soon as my final test is over for a class I’m taking at school. I am trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up!

Stevie August 11, 2009 at 2:14 pm

Therese-Marie

Thanks for noticing my error! Just goes to show that you cannot believe everything that you hear! I’m going to correct it on the post right now.

Thérèse-Marie August 11, 2009 at 4:20 pm

Your welcome…
We have been celebrating Julia’s birthday on August 15th around here
for a long time.
FYI…she passed on August 13, 2004…2 days before her BD.

Stevie August 11, 2009 at 4:29 pm

I don’t know what’s wrong with my brain today! I think that I transposed the “12” from her birth year, 1912, and put that on her birth day, which should really be “15” rather than “12.” Thanks for your forbearance.

Jasmine Turner August 11, 2009 at 6:12 pm

I loved in the movie when Julia showed how much she loved Paris and French culture and French food! She has my ideas about the French (stereotypes aren’t true) The French are wonderful kind people! I think I’m French like Julia thought she was French!
Bon Bon

Marlena Albin August 17, 2009 at 2:45 pm

What a fabulous themed dinner party! All the food was delicious! Thank you so much!! And the movie was great too. It’s funny how this movie came out around the same time I started to enjoy cooking at home more frequently. Perfect timing and so inspiring! I’m still cooking. The next Julie Child’s recipe I’m thinking of making soon is the pumpkin soup that is made inside an actually pumpkin – looks so festive for the fall time which is just around the corner!

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