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Julia Child

Julia Child
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Julia Child often described her first French meal of oysters, sole meunière, and fine wine as a culinary revelation. She recalled the experience once in The New York Times  as "an opening up of the soul and spirit for me".

Julia Child
Julia's Featured Recipe
Cream of Mushroom Soup

Click here for recipe

Julia Child, a towering figure on the culinary front for more than 40 years, turned the art of French cooking into prime-time television entertainment and taught a generation weaned on can-opener casseroles how to cook fine food. With her ground-breaking books, Mastering the Art of French Cooking I and II, and her 10-year run as the exuberant host of the PBS television series, The French Chef,  Julia demystified French cuisine in a way that had not been done before.

 Julia McWilliams was born in Pasadena, California, in 1912. The well-to-do family employed a cook and Julia was later to confess that she rarely, if ever, entered a kitchen until she was married at 34. A graduate of Smith College and a veteran of World War II, in 1946 she wed Paul Child, a fellow member of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) whom she had met in Ceylon. Paul Child loved art, good living, and good food. When her husband was assigned to the Paris office of the United States Information Agency in 1948, Child quickly enrolled in the Cordon Bleu school of cooking. There she joined with Louisette Bertholle and Simone Beck to found l'École des Trois Gourmandes (the school of the three gourmands) and the three set to work writing a cookbook of French recipes for the American audience.

 

Editor Judith Jones at Alfred A. Knopf decided that this was the book that Americans had been waiting for and the first volume of Mastering the Art of French Cooking appeared in 1961. The second volume, coauthored by Child and Beck, followed in 1970. Together, the encyclopedic volumes introduced "the servantless American cook" to the classic techniques and terminology of French cooking translated into American terms for American kitchens.

 As revolutionary as Mastering was, it was her simultaneous debut as a television cook that took the country by storm and solidified her fame. An unlikely star with her imposing height and wonderfully distinctive warbly voice, Julia was a self-described natural ham. “I fell in love with the public, the public fell in love with me, and I tried to keep it that way,” said Julia later in her life.

 

What made Julia such an influential teacher was her good-humored insistence that home cooks could find even complicated French dishes within their grasp if they carefully followed directions. She boned ducks, simmered bouillabaisse, stuffed sausages, poached quenelles, and broke down a huge monkfish. Mistakes were part of the process, not the end of the world, and dropped pots and cracked pastry crusts were part of the show. On one segment, when she flipped a potato pancake and it flew out of the skillet, Julia tossed it back into the pan, pressed it into shape and famously said, “Remember, you’re alone in the kitchen!”

 Julia, who has been credited with stimulating a boom in French restaurants, an explosion of fancy food markets, and with inspiring Americans to share her obsession with good French food, always insisted that her original book and program benefited from “a concatenation of factors” in the early 1960s – Jacqueline Kennedy raising awareness of all things French, growing affluence, cheaper air travel, and an increased desire for more sophisticated food.

 

After The French Chef run ended in 1973, eight more television series followed over the next decades. Usually a series was followed by a book of similar title, so that her publishing output was as prolific as her broadcasting. By the end of her life she had published more than 15 titles, including what she considered her magnum opus, The Way to Cook, in1989.  In the 1990s Julia starred in a series featuring guest chefs: Cooking with Master Chefs, In Julia's Kitchen with Master Chefs, Baking with Julia, and Julia Child & Jacques Pépin Cooking at Home. She collaborated with Jacques Pépin many times on television programs and cookbooks and the two were devoted friends.

Over the course of Julia’s long career she tirelessly promoted the culinary arts. She was the first woman inducted into the Culinary Institute of America’s hall of fame, she helped establish the American Institute of Wine and Food and later, Copia: The American Center for Wine, Food and the Arts.  Julia was also active in the International Association of Culinary Professionals. For her 90th birthday, restaurants all across the country staged dinners in her honor to raise money for IACP to conduct culinary research in France. She received the French Legion of Honor in 2000 and the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2003.

 

Julia Child died at the age of 91 in August 2004. Her passing generated an outpouring of affectionate, poignant tributes from all over the globe.

 

Bon Appétit!

Latest Recipes

Bechamel Sauce

Admit it your beloved recipes for lasagna, savory pies, and potato dishes could use a boost in the flavor department. While you could simply add more herbs or seasoning, consider giving the dishes a smoother, richer, and creamier taste and texture by making your own Bechamel Sauce. If you've always thought it would be complicated to make Bechamel Sauce, then you need to see this recipe by the famed Julia Child. The five-ingredient sauce recipe is easy to make and won't take long to prepare.

(1 Votes)

Crepes

Every French household makes use of crêpes, not only as a festive dessert for Mardi Gras and Candlemas Day, but as an attractive way to t...

(1 Votes)

Cream of Mushroom Soup

On a cold winter's night, is there anything more comforting than a bowl of homemade soup? When the temperature dips, you'll want to warm up inside and out with Julia Child's recipe for Cream of Mushroom Soup. This easy soup recipe is hearty and delicious, and uses only 11 ingredients. You'll love the earthy flavor of each spoonful of this soup! The next time you want to prepare a dish that will remind you of home, keep this easy soup recipe at your fingertips. You'll love making this classic comfort food this fall and winter! Don't forget to impress your coworkers by reheating leftovers in the office kitchen the next day.

(1 Votes)

Sautéed Calf’s Liver

A truly special occasion calls for a truly special meal! This recipe by the famed Julia Child is one that will be suitable for just about any milestone event. This Sauted Calfs Liver recipe is actually easy to make and will be a change up from your usual go-to dinner options. While you can serve this calf's liver recipe with an assortment of your favorite side dishes, consider branching out a bit and trying Child's own recipe for Braised Rice Risotto to include in the menu. Two variations on this classic recipe included following the recipe's instructions below.

(1 Votes)

Chicken Soup with Vegetables

There are few things more comforting than a bowl of Chicken Soup with Vegetables when you are sick or just feeling under the weather. This classic recipe includes a generous portion of chicken, as well as an assortment of vegetables and your choice of white wine or dry white French vermouth. Rich and filling, this easy make-ahead recipe can be reheated, so consider bringing leftovers to work the next day. If it is possible, consider making a second batch to keep stashed in the freezer the next time you're feeling sick. You'll be glad you did!

(1 Votes)

Cherry Flan

If you can't get to the French countryside, then bring some of the French countryside to you when you whip up this Cherry Flan for dessert! This easy dessert recipe will be an elegant show-stopper for just about any meal that you have planned this summer. Although fresh cherries are ideal, you can use frozen or canned cherries, too simply see the Notes section below for additional tips by Julia Child. If you'd like, you can serve each portion with a small scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side. This dessert recipe is decadence at its finest!

(1 Votes)

Chicken Salad

Hot summer days call for cool and refreshing salads for lunch and dinner, including this recipe for Chicken Salad. This salad is filling without leaving you feeling stuffed and also includes an assortment of herbs to achieve a taste that you're sure to love. Serve this chicken salad with some of your favorite side dishes, including sliced fresh fruit and vegetables, as well as fresh croissants. For dessert, why not make Julia Child's own recipe for Genoise Cake? You'll find that this recipe is ideal for a light lunch with friends or as a way to shake up your lunchtime routine at work.

(1 Votes)

Braised Rice and Onions

Add that extra bit of taste, flavor, and texture to a favorite main dish when you make this recipe for Braised Rice and Onions by the celebrated Julia Child. This recipe may sound intimidating, but your mind will be at ease when you see that it only has a total of five steps. You can make this mixture in advance, giving you more time to entertain guests at your dinner party. Just reheat and you're ready to serve it! Your dinner guests will be suitably impressed when you add a bit of French cooking to the dinner menu.

(1 Votes)

Genoise Cake

Ready to make a cake from scratch? Then you'll love this recipe for Genoise Cake! Light and delicious, this recipe uses only six ingredients really! and has instructions that are easy to follow. Put your favorite icing on this cake after it is cooled completely and serve each slice with fresh and in-season fruit. This cake can be served for just about any occasion, too, so consider baking it for a birthday, milestone, or other special event. You'll find Julia Child's directions regarding how to prepare the cake pan, as well as information regarding clarified butter, in the Notes section following the recipe's instructions.

(1 Votes)

Light Custard Sauce

When it comes to dessert toppings, this recipe for Light Custard Sauce needs to be on your radar! This easy dessert recipe will be the crowning touch to ice cream and more, and is even used in Julia Child's famed recipe for Apple Charlotte. You and your guests will love the light and delicate flavor in this custard sauce. In addition, this recipe offers several ingredient options, so you can make the sauce just the way you like it. The next time you feel a dessert needs a little bit of "oomph," consider whipping up this easy dessert recipe.

(1 Votes)

Apple Charlotte, Unmolded (A Hot or Cold Dessert)

This fall, impress your dinner party guests with this recipe for Apple Charlotte, Unmolded (A Hot or Cold Dessert). This apple recipe is truly a show-stopper, and will be the perfect finish to just about any meal. If you're looking for a dessert that packs a dramatic punch and is a departure from the usual fare of pies or ice cream, then this apple recipe needs to be on your radar. To take this dessert to the next level, you can even serve it with custard sauce or whipped cream, with instructions included below.

(1 Votes)

Orange Mousse (A Frozen Dessert)

If you're looking for a showstopper to serve at your next dinner party, then consider including an orange dessert recipe on the menu. This recipe from Julia Child for Orange Mousse will be a refreshing dessert that can be served after just about any meal. If you are a host or hostess who always seems to be short on time, but still wants to serve something special for dessert, then you might want to include this recipe in mind. Simply whip up the mousse the night before and place it in the freezer so that it's ready to serve at the end of the party.

(1 Votes)

Old-fashioned Chicken Fricasse with Wine-flavored Cream Sauce, Onions, and Mushrooms

For this traditional Sunday dinner dish, which is not difficult to execute, the chicken pieces are turned in hot butter, sprinkled with f...

(1 Votes)

Broiled Butterflied Chicken

Rather than broiling a chicken in pieces, which is easy to do but not wildly exciting, and rather than roasting it whole, which takes an ...

(1 Votes)

Chicken Liver Mousse

The following mousse may be packed into a decorative jar and used as a spread for cocktail appetizers, or molded in aspic for an hors do...

(1 Votes)

Scalloped Potatoes with Onions, Tomatoes, Anchovies, Herbs and Garlic

This casserole with its full-bodied Mediterranean flavor goes with roast lamb or beef, steaks, chops, or grilled mackerel, tuna, or sword...

(1 Votes)

Braised Rice: Risotto

To give rice more character so that it can stand on its own, sauté the grains briefly in butter, then simmer as usual, but with herbs and...

(1 Votes)

Roast Chicken

(1 Votes)

Leek or Onion and Potato Soup

Leek and potato soup smells good, tastes good, and is simplicity itself to make. It is also versatile as a soup base; add water cress and...

(1 Votes)

Onion Soup

The onions for an onion soup need a long, slow cooking in butter and oil, then a long, slow simmering in stock for them to develop the de...

(1 Votes)

Flour-based Brown Sauce

This sauce most nearly approaching the traditional demi-glace. Its preliminaires are somewhat exacting, and it requires at least two hour...

(1 Votes)

Hollandaise Sauce

Hollandaise sauce is made of warmed egg yolks flavored with lemon juice, into which butter is gradually incorporated to make a thick, yel...

(1 Votes)

Spinach Souffle

(1 Votes)

Unmolded Chicken Liver Custards

These delicate little entrees (also called mousses, pains, and soufflés) are usually baked in individual ramekins and served hot with a b...

(1 Votes)

Mound of French Pancakes Filled with Cream Cheese, Spinach, and Mushrooms

An amusing entrée or main-course dish can be made by piling crêpes, a filling between each, in a shallow baking dish. (It looks like a ma...

(1 Votes)

Scallops Gratineed with Wine, Garlic, and Herbs

This good recipe may be prepared in advance and gratinéed just before serving. The following proportions are sufficient for a first cours...

(1 Votes)

Fresh Mussels Steamed Open in Wine and Flavorings

Here is the simplest version of this most typical of French methods for cooking mussels. They are steamed open in a big pot with wine and...

(1 Votes)

Mayonnaise

(1 Votes)

Roast Chicken

You can always judge the quality of a cook or a restaurant by roast chicken. While it does not require years of training to produce a jui...

(1 Votes)

White-braised Onions—Glazed Onions

White-braised onions may be served as they are, or they may be simmered for a moment in a good cream sauce. Use them also as a garnish fo...

(1 Votes)

Stewed Mushrooms

When mushrooms are used in white sauces, or in a garniture in which they must remain white, they are cooked this way.

(1 Votes)

Chicken Breasts Sautéed in Butter

Here the chicken breasts are lightly dusted with flour and are sautéed in clarified butter. (Ordinary butter will burn and form black spe...

(1 Votes)

Roast Duck with Orange Sauce

One of the most well known of all the duck dishes, caneton â l’orange, is roast duck decorated with fresh orange segments and accompanied...

(1 Votes)

Brown Chicken Stock

A little concentrated chicken stock is easy to make with the giblets and neck of a chicken and will always give more character to your sa...

(1 Votes)

Bearnaise Sauce

For: steaks, boiled or fried fish, broiled chicken, egg dishes, timbales. Bearnaise sauce differs from hollandaise only in taste and stre...

(1 Votes)

Beef Stew in Red Wine, with Bacon, Onions, and Mushrooms

As is the case with most famous dishes, there are more ways than one to arrive at a good boeuf bourguignon. Carefully done, and perfectly...

(1 Votes)

Brown-braised Onions

Brown-braised onions are used whenever you wish a brown effect, such as in brown fricassees like coq au vin and boeuf bourguignon, or in ...

(1 Votes)

Sautéed Mushrooms

Use these mushrooms either as a vegetable alone or in a combination with other vegetables, or as an integral part of such dishes as coq a...

(1 Votes)

Veal Stew with Onions and Mushrooms

Blanquette de veau, a much-loved stew in France, is veal simmered in a lightly seasoned white stock. It is served in a sauce velouté made...

(1 Votes)

Sautéed Ham Slices—Cream and Madiera Sauce

Placed on a bed of spinach braised in stock, surrounded with broiled mushrooms or sautéed potatoes, this is a delectable ham dish. Serve ...

(1 Votes)

Peas Braised with Lettuce and Onions

This dish is considered the glory of pea cookery; it should really be served as a separate course and eaten with a spoon. If you wish to ...

(1 Votes)
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