Julia Child is gone

Just saw this news flash on the NYT site. No details yet. She did much to make gourmet cooking available to the ordinary cook.


Save the liver!

Julia Child, master chef and superspy. Rest in peace.


Julia Child was a personal inspiration to me – some of my favorite childhood memories involve watching her PBS show while home sick from school. (Does anyone else remember the monkfish episode?)

She always had a great sense of humor, and probably did more than any single person living in the 20th century to open America’s eyes to valuing good food in all its manifestations. Right now I’m imagining her up in Heaven, chuckling at the Saturday Night Live portrayal of herself, glass of red wine in hand.

Yes, I remember the monkfish episode.

Her shows showed me that I wasn’t weird because I wanted to cook something better than what I was raised on. I self-taught myself French style cooking from her Mastering The Art of French Cooking, which I picked up at a yard sale. I flatter myself that I’m a darned good cook today, as well as a rabid foodie, and I owe it all to her. Humph - died at 91 years old, and I’m certain she didn’t live on lettuce and cottage cheese.

::raising a glass of Chateauneuf-du-Pape::

Here’s to you, Julia. I’ll miss you.

She was the greatest of them all (TV chefs, that is), and no one will ever equal her or come close.

That’s sad, although not unexpected.

Occasionally, people ask “who would you most like to have dinner with?”, and the responses are typically something like Einstein, Jesus, Jefforson. I always say, “Julia Child, both for her conversation, and for her food.”

I lived in Cambridge for a while too and saw her (twice!) at the Broadway Supermarket, an upscale sorta place. She was talking to the meat counter guys, holding a basket like everybody else and not putting on any airs. While the head of the department naturally came out to wait on her, the rank-and-file guys weren’t intimidated or anything; they obviously all knew her.

When I interned at WGBH-TV, her home station, her show was still immensely popular and we caught hell if we ran the wrong tape.

She was very very tall and radiated warmth and intelligence. She’s responsible for a revolution in American cooking that others took up and ran with, but she was the pioneer. A long life well lived. Peace be with her.

So is that the three? Rick James, Fay Wray and Julia Child? Man, who’d have thought anyone would ever mention those three together in the same sentence?

Julia taught me to cook.

When my wife and I were first married, there was a series on PBS called “Dinner at Julia’s”. My wife suggested we watch it. I thought, “A cooking show?” :dubious:

But I was young and foolish, and ten minutes into the episode I found I was wrong. It is not a cooking show, it was a comedy/reality series. Julia in various bizarre situations, trying to collect things to cook. Anyone remember the Dungeness crab episode, or the one where she is lost in the desert and happens across a group of farm laborers inseminating date trees? I went into convulsions of merriment, and was instantly hooked. We would race home to watch the show, and later, after we bought a VCR, to watch tapes of “The French Chef”. The sight of this gigantic eccentric hacking things to pieces and trying out every kitchen gadget in creation enriched our lives immeasurably.

Now, I was raised where men never cooked indoors. And I had seen too many sticoms where the slightest mistake in a recipe rendered it inedible. But the sight of Julia tossing in spices without measuring and apparently on the spur of the moment was liberating. If an obvious lunatic like this could be a famous chef, how hard could it be? And anyone who has seen the Yule log episode of her first series will forever be disabused of the notion that famous cooks never have fiascos. “Never apologize, never explain”, as Julia once remarked.

And so I was emboldened to try a recipe for myself. Coq au vin, as I recall, because it has an intimidating French name and sounds fancy. It is no more than a chicken stew in red wine with garlic and herbs. It was wonderful, and so I branched out to harder things - souffles, custards, the reine de Saba chocolate cake that can block an elephant’s arteries at thirty paces. I quickly discovered two things: [ul][li]It isn’t quite as easy as Julia made it look. I still remember my first attempt at chopping onions. She could go thru one like a combine harvester. I took a lot longer, and had to be more careful if I wanted to retain my fingers. It doesn’t really matter. You can recover from a lot of mistakes, and once you get the feel of things, you can adapt a recipe as you like, and if it tastes good to you and the family, it is a perfectly good recipe.[/ul][/li]Over the years, we have acquired her video series “The Way to Cook”, as well as the print version. IMO, this rivals “The Joy of Cooking” as a basic text for cooks.

And now she is no more. RIP, Julia. I will think fondly of you every time I debone a turkey or make a white sauce.


Now in heaven they get to eat Julia’s cooking and listen to Ray Charles. I don’t know if it could get any better.

I thought I had seen all of the episodes. But I didn’t remember the Monkfish one. So I googled it and found this. :eek:

Did she really cook that thing? That is the ugliest fish I’ve ever seen.

Yep. I guess that means you can either take a long walk tonight or watch the opening ceremonies to the Olympics becase the music is dead, there are no movies to watch and the food is horrible.

I’m sorry, but the proper wine with death is Pinot Noir. And you call yourself a cook…

She only cooked the tail. In fact, I remember her talking about the great lengths she’d gone to in order to obtain a whole monkfish (and yes, they are indeed some mighty ugly beasts!), because normally the fishermen just cut off the tail and toss the rest overboard.

I think that was an episode I watched while home sick from school with strep throat and accompanying ridiculously high fever. Maybe I hallucinated the whole thing, but it made quite an impression.

Anyone know where in Chicago one can buy a monkfish? Maybe I’ll cook one this weekend in memoriam.

No, I saw the episode as well. The trouble is that you start with a giant, hideous fish, and wind up with a rather anti-climatic fillet. Perfectly good fish, but…

At least her loss decided me on what to get my wife for her birthday.


Some years ago PBS had a National Geographic special on gold. during the show it mentioned the excellent heat transmissive propeties of gold then cut to Julia using a pure gold (four 9s) saute pan they had cast for her, doing a chicken dish. “Umph, this is a two-hander,” she commented as she slid the chicken onto a plate (It weighed about twenty pounds). She said the pan worked great and she definitely wouldn’t mind a set of them. They made her give it back, though.


You’re getting your wife a giant, hideous fish for her birthday?

[sub]I had been thinking about getting my sister some Julia Child videos for her birthday – now I’m inspired to do it. R.I.P., Julia.[/sub]

Too funny! That was the first thing that popped into my head when I heard this. (Hopefully she didn’t try to call an ambulance only to learn that the phone was a prop! :smiley: )

She was in good health until she heard of this thread How do you make buttered toast, then she said “Screw it” and just gave up…