Updated 2009-08-19 17:19:46 ID=468:0

© 2009 The Romantic Table
©2008 The Romantic Table, Susan McGourty's Table Talk, a California Central Coast Lifestyle blog. 2011-06-09 16:33:16:80
©2008 The Romantic Table

Susan McGourty's Table Talk

Remembering Julia Child

After seeing the movie,"Julie and Julia" it brought back a lot of memories of my first attempts at French cooking with Julia Child's "Mastering the Art of French Cooking."

Yesterday my husband and I saw the movie "Julie and Julia." What a kick! But also what determination! Both of those cooks bit off a lot!

I've "been there!" In the early seventies, before I evolved into my Mediterranean Style of cooking, I too was captivated by Julia Child's cooking. I still am, though her classic French style cooking is a little too much on the heavy-side for everyday. As matter of fact if the movie was telling the truth, it was at times too heavy for Julia and Julie! There were lots of scenes of anti-acid popping!

I first saw Julia Child on a PBS. show called "Julia's Kitchen." Julia, more than anyone else in my opinion, was the biggest influence for my love of cooking. She also was one of the most influential cooks to get mainstream American cooks into thinking about the possibilities of making more sophisticated entrees for dinner other than casseroles and one-dish meals.

Both Julia and Julie were fascinated by the ingredients' chemical-reaction-magic that transforms the whole of the ingredients into something grander than the sum of the parts. I'm still amazed by this process! But, cooking is hard work if it's not a love affair between the food and the cook. Julia Child turned her love for food into a career and lifestyle of teaching and eating. But she didn't become an icon until after several years of hard work writing and teaching.

I love food too! The taste, the texture in my mouth, the wonderful flavors exploding in my mouth of a recipe prepared with passion and expertise! But in order to eat the finer things in life, like Julia, I knew I had to learn how to make them! Now, that's a little harder! Getting it "just right." "Not too much of that or not enough of this!" This can be a grueling process!

Yes, the hardest part of cooking is learning the basics. Especially if you have to learn it the hard-way by apprenticeship or trial and error. Once you've got that, just like any learned skill, you can go as far as your dreams and desires will take you. In this one way, Julia had it a little easier than Julie. Julia (outside of having to deal with the chauvinistic attitudes of the time) learned all the correct "basics" and techniques from a very capable instructor-chef in class.

Julie Powell, if she hadn't had a love for food and a cheerleader of a husband, might have abandoned her cooking challenge with herself. Adhering to such a schedule was grueling especially on top of her regular job in New York. What determination! If you're tired, it's hard to cook well and she must have had plenty of those days! But she persevered and finished her year-long challenge not only with aplomb but with fame and recognition too.

The one thing I took away from the film was that no matter how hard the work, both women really took pride in and really enjoyed sharing the results of their efforts with family and friends. For them cooking was a way of showing their love. And that is where it both starts and ends.

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A tip from Sue!

An easier way to pound your meats and poultry

Been frustrated by plastic wrap that won't stay as you pound your meats? Save yourself some grief by using an extra plastic bag from your grocery store's meat or produce counter. Simply place the breast of meat inside flat between the top and bottom of the plastic bag, laying flat and pound away.