Thursday, April 9, 2009

Quoting Julia - Remembering Mom

"The only time to eat diet food is while you're waiting for the steak to cook" ~Julia Child

It was when my mother loaned me Julia's book "The Way To Cook" that the culinary light bulb come on for me. There are not particularly recipes that I still make out of this book. But the way it was laid out, cooking suddenly made sense! This cookbook is laid out with a Master Recipe then several additional recipes which add upon the original, teaching new techniques and how they build upon each other. Beginning with Chicken Simmered in White Wine with aromatic vegetables, which could be taken a step further to become, Blanquette of Chicken in White Wine Sauce, which ultimately became a wonderful Chicken Pot Pie. This is the book that broke me out of recipe box bondage. Suddenly I understood the techniques and I could just go into the kitchen and make my own way, recipe optional. It was also Julia and this cookbook that started me making creamed vegetable soups - how I love them!. My mother set the stage by taking me to eat at 40 Carrots and Vie De France in South Coast Plaza when I was quite young. I was relishing Cream of Broccoli and Cream of Cauliflower long before Broccoli Cheese came in and went back out of vogue. I remember we'd check the soup on the specials board at 40 Carrots, then trek down to Vie De France over all those hard-on-the-feet bricks, and consider their Soup Du Jour before we could decide where to eat and get into line for a table. Food is all wrapped up with memories for me, I often say it is a part of the special culture of my family. My mother saw Julia Child in person, once. I think it was at the (long gone) Bristol Farms in Anaheim Hills and Mom loved to watch Cooking With Jacques (Pepin) and Julia on PBS. The Way To Cook is mine, now... passed on to me by Mom. I think my fondness for Julia is tied up somewhere in all those memories with Mom.

And look at her... How can you not smile at that sense of fun!


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