I had the distinct privilege to meet Julia Child in 1990. I was one of the millions who used to watch her cook on television and had tried many recipes from her Mastering the Art of French Cooking. So I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to meet both her and Robert Mondavi of Mondavi Winery when they came to town as co-founders of the Atlanta chapter of the American Institute of Wine & Food. As Julia was then 77 years old I figured I may never have another chance to meet her. But she went on to live 14 more years until her death at 91, 2 days shy of her 92nd birthday.
I will never forget the delightful conversation I had with her. She was so approachable, so pleasant and so passionate in talking about food. And yes, she was VERY tall.
She had just published her tome The Way to Cook, which she autographed for me that day. Julia had fun in the kitchen, which I think is a key to cooking and not taking yourself too seriously.
Julia had a passion for food and she loved to eat, and when she discovered her passion for cooking while living in France, she also discovered what it meant to eat real food that was well prepared. Of course, France is famous for its Michelin starred restaurants and sought out chefs. But you can also enjoy wonderful, simple food in any bistro or cafe in the country. I’m happy that in the U.S. we have had such a surge in “farm to table” and “whole food” restaurants and cooking. That’s the way I grew up eating with a fresh vegetable garden planted every year. Good food, fresh and simply prepared.
One of my favorite recipes from The Way To Cook
Julia preparing Crêpes Suzette
That day in 1990 Julia told me, “Americans are afraid to eat good food. I believe you should eat what you want, but just do so in moderation. If you want to eat butter, have a little butter, but make sure it’s real butter.” Considering Julia lived to almost 92, I think she was on to something. And when I came home from almost two weeks in France I had only gained half a pound. With wine and cheese and dessert every day. Still haven’t figured that one out. But Julia would be proud.