Monday, May 23, 2005

The (one and only) French Chef

As you probably know, they just released the DVD of Julia Child's incomparable cooking show, The French Chef. Since the show premiered in 1962, I never saw her original program, I only saw the spoof by Dan Ackroyd on Saturday Night Live, and watched with rapt attention her Baking with Julia program on PBS. So I was thrilled when Netflix delivered the first DVD of six episodes to my doorstep yesterday.

You probably know Julia Child's name, and that she's one of America's most beloved chefs, but you might not know why she became such a household name. Well, after watching just the first episode of her show, "The Potato Show," I can venture a guess. She is hilarious, down-to-earth, and imperfect. She spills, she jokes, she studders and pauses, and she makes you feel like you could do everything she's doing in the kitchen and even fix the inevitable mistakes you'll make when experimenting with a new recipe. Cooking shows now are all about perfection. The chefs say things like, "You'll never believe how easy this is" and then turn around and make an ice sculpture of David. They have to convince you that you could cook like they do, when Julia did it simply by being who she was. When picking chefs for my team, I'd choose Julia any day.

Now, I'm not saying that I would want to cook most of the recipes she presents for her audience. Food tastes have changed drastically since the 60's, and the amount of cream and butter she used in her potato show alone is enough to feed Paris for a week. But watching her is inspiring and fun, and it makes me fall in love with cooking all over again, which is the point, in my mind anyway.

I want nothing more than to cook something delicious for myself right now, but I have a fever and a sore throat in 85 degree weather. Ugh. So I think I'll turn back to my Julia DVDs and let her do a little cooking for me. I hope you are all well. I will post again soon. I have much to discuss, including Nook and Lemon Moon. See side panel. Yum!


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