Julia Child – Je T’aime! (I love you!)

My love for Julia Child began in the 70’s when I was only a child and I used her cookbook as a booster seat at the dinner table. I was not cooking then, but who knew that this 684-plus page book would go from my butt to my head in less than 30 years?! Mastering the Art of French Cooking; by Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle and Simone Beck is forever a valuable resource and staple to have in the kitchen.

After patiently awaiting for months the release of the film, Julie & Julia, I wanted to be sure that I did not miss its opening weekend. I invited friends and purchased tickets online. We were good to go for the 7:10 show on Friday night, and apparently everyone else was also thinking and doing the same thing – it was a packed house.

I loved the movie: for the food, Meryl Streep, and for the storyline, as it reminded me of my meeting Julia Child in New York City just prior to her death in 2004. Watching the film knowing I had met this iconic – and yes, very tall – woman was an experience that I will forever cherish. And I was able to recall visiting her very own kitchen in Washington D.C. just last February at the National Museum of American History, where it is now on permanent display.

That said, the movie was a joy to watch as Meryl Streep brought Julia Child back to life on the big screen. After such a decadent food-loving movie, we decided that on Saturday night we would cook Julia’s Beef Bourguignon (page 315, in case you are wondering). My good friend Barbara was a lifesaver: I couldn’t find my copy of the cookbook, so Barbara ran out and bought a copy – just in time! We spent the late afternoon and early evening enjoying every minute of the prep and cooking, drinking and talking like Julia was in the room with us. We must have said “Bon Appétit” a dozen times, trying to mimic that distinct voice of hers. (Truth be told, of everyone there that night I believe I do it the best. At least, I seem to have Violet fooled: whenever I do it – and she’s not in the same room – she starts barking as if there is someone new in the house!)

A group of us ate al fresco under the stars and we toasted to Julia, giving thanks for the lessons we had learned from her story and from following her classic recipe. With the sound of French music playing in the background and a good glass of wine in my hand, the dish was even more delicious than I remembered. Yum right? I have just enough for leftovers tonight but sorry, I’m not sharing.

Bon appétit!