Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Joys of Julia's Cooking

Today is the 100th birthday of the woman who made both culinary and pop culture history with her determination to share her love of French food with all,Julia Child. With her legendary cookbooks and groundbreaking TV shows,Julia made the realm of French cuisine seem truly accessible to the average American audience and inspired countless others to follow in her foodie footsteps.

In honor of this special day,let's take a look at those folks who are still holding up the brûlée torch to keep the spirit of cooking French food alive and well done in our world today. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery,they say,so by that standard Julia has been highly praised for years:

Most of the younger generation know of Julia Child via Julie Powell,a blogger who appointed herself the challenge of making every recipe in Mastering The Art of French Cooking within a year. Powell then wrote a memoir about that experience,Julie and Julia which was later turned into a film starring Meryl Streep as Child.

Granted,Julia Child was not happy about Powell's blog but I think she would've enjoyed the movie since it was partly based on her own memoir,My Life in France,plus Nora Ephron's delightful merging of both books into a lively script and elegant direction(it happened to be Ephron's swan song)showcases the love of this cuisine splendidly:

The current queen of cooking French cuisine on TV these days is Laura Calder,whose Canadian series French Food at Home is viewable in the US on The Cooking Channel. She's also been a judge on Top Chef Canada and Iron Chef America as well as an Canadian reality show,Recipe to Riches.

French Food at Home won a James Beard award in 2010 and Calder herself has received top honors from the French government. One of my regrets in not yet having The Cooking Channel in my area is getting to see such an inviting instructional show as this:

Even a brash Brit like Gordon Ramsay appreciates the art of French cooking and during his 2010 competition show,Ramsay's Best Restaurant,one of the top contenders was a French place called Winteringham Fields.

While it didn't win the ultimate prize,both Winteringham and it's earlier competitor represented their take on French food respectably enough:

What people adore the most in French cuisine are the desserts and putting those together is a serious business as the documentary Kings of Pastry displayed in theaters. The film follows the nationwide competition that sixteen chefs undertake in order to be considered the finest pastry maker,a lifetime achievement for many in that field.

The contest takes three days and every edible item has to be made from scratch. While Julia Child herself wouldn't have been able to enter(being born French is one of the qualifications),she certainly would have loved taking a ring side seat for this ultimate bake-off or at least an aisle seat at this film's premiere:

Happy birthday,Julia Child and may your delicious legacy be served for another hundred years. Plenty of us out there in our TV kitchens are still ready and willing to wish you a hearty Bon appétit! as you prepare your loved ones a splendid spread in Paradise:

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