Monday, August 13, 2012

My Julia Moment

On August 15th, Julia Child would have turned 100 years old.  I often think of her when I'm in the kitchen, grateful for the things she taught, and for her ability to demystify cooking for so many home cooks.  I like to think of her digging into a huge chocolate cake, maybe drinking a glass of Burgundy with it!

In the 80's Julia came to San Diego to a benefit for the UCSD Medical Center auxiliary and I was privileged to be able to attend the sessions.  The sessions were held in a cavernous auditorium, and she would wander around the stage, dissing the butter that was given to her (too much water for the puff pastry she was making) and say how much she loved California.  I was star was Julia, my Julia from WGBH in my home town of Boston in my adopted hometown of San didn't get much better than that...or so I thought.
As Julia was making puff pastry dish after puff pastry dish, they sold raffle tickets for people to take the finished dishes home with them.  I bought a few tickets, at this point, I'd blown my money on the tickets to this shindig, and wasn't thinking that I could afford to invest too heavily in the raffle tickets, but my friend and I decided we would each buy one....what could it hurt?
Julia pulled this beautiful pithiviers out of the oven to the ooh's and aah's of the crowd....two layers of puff pastry, sandwiched with almond paste and cream.  The raffle ticket was pulled, and it was mine!  I got to meet JC and take home her creation.....and the pie plate it was made in. 
This very humble 10-inch Pyrex pie plate, is still in my cupboard.  I'm not sure anyone in my family knows its significance except me, but Julia Child cooked in it, and that's why I've kept it all these years.  I did eventually share a few meals at conventions with Julia, and found her to be just what you would expect; honest, forthright, and a lot of fun. 
I'm sorry she's gone for many reasons, but the most important reason is that she taught people about food; no one on television is her equal when it comes to teaching you about cooking and ingredients, and that's a shame. 
Happy 100th birthday Julia, you are missed. 

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