The French Chef with Julia Child

11 Jun

Worth every penny I will pay in fines!

I shouldn’t be allowed to have a library card when I am clearly violating the terms of my agreement with the lovely people who lend me their stuff.  I can’t help it.  I’m having trouble returning the collection of DVDs I checked out.  There’s just something about Julia Child, I guess.

I was in the middle of reading Julia’s My Life in France that she wrote with Alex Prud’homme when I saw these DVDs at the library.  I thought that I would watch one or two but how do you return them when you have yet to watch the Queen of Sheba Cake episode?  Or what if you need to review how to make the perfect French omelette?  The Mister told me to renew so I could have an extension.  That’s when I had to tell him that I had already.  Three times.

What makes these shows so good?  It’s not the images.  Some of the shows are in black and white which makes it hard for the food to look half as good as it must have been.  The ones in color don’t fair much better as everything looks like it was shot through fly paper.  But Julia!  She is fabulous.  Though I once called my sister for help browning hamburger (I wish I was kidding but I think that this painful truth just brings us closer together) even I think that I could get the hang of it.

Julia offers many tips to cook French food with American ingredients.  She even offers encouragement to those who are attempting to flip something in a frying pan.  “To flip something properly you must have the courage of your convictions.”  She has no more said this than the potato cake she is flipping is destroyed.  “You see, I did not have the courage of my convictions.”  She then quickly turns the dish into something else and shares that this is just a part of cooking.  That things don’t turn out perfectly no matter how often you cook or how gifted you are in the kitchen. 

In these DVDs there are also episodes that include 8mm footage of Julia in France.  She’s there picking out ingredients for Bouillabisse in Marseilles or making an apple turnover with her “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” co-author, Simone Beck.  Not only is it interesting to see the birth of my much-beloved genre, the cooking show, but it is a slice of history to see France through Julia’s eyes.  Her comments as she cooks shows that she knows and loves it well.

It may be that my reading the book helped me to enjoy these few shows more but I’m not sure.  I convinced/tricked the Mister into watching a few and he said that he learned things.  For example, we now know more about knives than we’ve learned from using them for decades.  Will this come in handy on our trip?  Of course!  We could be asked to pinch hit for a French chef at a moment’s notice.  How could we enjoy sightseeing knowing that we were unprepared.  Fear not diners.  I know how to say “this is Julia Child.  Bon appetit!” so of course I can make your Bouef Bourguignon.

And for those of you worrying, I’m going to return the French Chef with Julia Child DVDs.  But not ’til tomorrow.  Okay, Monday at the latest.  For realsies.

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