The Queen of Cooking, Julia Child, would have been 100 years old today. Even with the influx of Rachael Rays, Giada de Laurentiises, and Paula Deens, no cooking personality can ever hold a torch to Julia. Literally a head and shoulders above the rest, Julia took what was once deemed stuffy and upper echelon cooking and translated it into approachable fare for the masses. Her uncanny wit and ease under pressure gave cooking-for-TV the push it needed to become what is now everyday programming. In fact, without Julia, those Rachael Rays might not exist. Who else could get away with dropping a whole, raw chicken on the floor – on live TV – then dusting it off and throwing it back in the pan?
Coming from a food-oriented family, I remember hearing about Julia when I was young, but not always in reference to her decadent recipes. Julia was unique in that she stood at no shorter than six feet, two inches – a giant in her day. (Nowadays, women that tall are called beach volleyball players). As a tall girl who always stood in the back row with the boys on picture day, it made me smile to see a woman who was taller than most, but not an über-thin model-type. Julia truly loved food, and that quality made her, and her food, all the more beautiful.
Going against the grain even further, she was no spring chicken. Julia was 32 when she started cooking, and it wasn’t until years later that she experienced success. She didn’t care about conforming to what society thought women should be like or look like. Even her husband stood a few inches shorter than she did! (Cue The Angel).
The blogosphere has united to celebrate Julia’s birthday under the name JC100. Bloggers and restaurants around the country are commemorating Julia today by recreating some of her classic dishes and sharing them with you. Some favorites are Heather‘s chantilly aux framboises, Bunkycooks‘ reine de saba (chocolate and almond cake), and Emeril’s (yes, Emeril Lagasse) shrimp étoufée.
Of course, I’m doing a cleanse during JC100 (more on that later). Silly me. I’ll have to celebrate next week. But even while I wax poetic about Julia’s many extraordinary qualities, I don’t even own a single Julia cookbook! Any readers out there want to send me a late birthday present?
Happy 100th birthday Julia. I know that through your recipes is exactly how you’d have wanted us to celebrate you today.