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Home Food Cooking Essentials Julia Child - Bon Appétit

Julia Child - Bon Appétit

JuliaChild

VAV!/September 26, 2013

THE Julia Child revolutionized American cuisine through her French cooking school, multi award-winning cookbooks, and globally renowned television programs by offering an approachable technique to French cooking for four decades.

Julia Child, uber popular television chef and author,was born on August 15, 1912, in Pasadena, California. She moved to France in 1948, where she developed a passion for French cuisine. Julia was intent on adapting this cuisine to mainstream Americans, and in doing so she collaborated on a cookbook, "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" published in 1961, and since considered a standard in culinary guides.

Julia, the oldest of three children, was known as Juke, Juju and Jukies, by her father John McWilliams, Jr., a Princeton graduate and California real estate investor. Her mother, Julia Carolyn Weston, was an heiress of a paper company and Julia's grandfather once served as lieutenant governor of Massachusetts. Not too humble beginnings for Julia.

Julia lived a privileged childhood, courtesy of the families' wealth. She was educated at San Francisco's prestigious Katherine Branson School for Girls where she stood out in the class as a 6' 2" fun loving, athletic young woman.

In 1930, she enrolled at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts for writing. After graduation, Julia moved to New York, and began work in the advertising department of W&J Sloane. A transfer to the store's Los Angeles branch would find Child fired for a reported 'gross insubordination.'

By 1941, as World War II devastation was looming on the horizon, Julia moved to Washington, D.C., where she volunteered as a research assistant for the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). Julia played a key role in the office...one filled with world wide assignments of intrigue in the communication of top-secret documents between U.S. government officials and their intelligence officers. 

During an assignment in 1945, somewhere in Sri Lanka, Child plunged into a romantic relationship with another OSS employee, Paul Child. By September of 1946, at war's end, the couple returned to America where they were married.

The Childs moved to Paris in 1948 after Paul was reassigned to the U.S. Information Service at the American Embassy. It was here that Julia developed her passion for French cuisine. She attended the respected Cordon Bleu cooking school for six months (including private lessons with the master chef Max Bugnard).  She bonded with like minded fellow students, Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle, to organize the cooking school L'Ecole de Trois Gourmandes (The School of the Three Gourmands).

Above: Julia Child Remixed

Intent on adapting French cuisine for mainstream Americans, the three collaborated on a two volume cookbook. After the first publisher rejected the manuscript due to its length, the book was accepted by another publisher who released it in September of 1961, with the title of 'Mastering the Art of French Cooking.' The book was a huge success and the bestselling cookbook for five straight years after its publication. Since then the book has become a standard guide for the culinary community.

While promoting her book on Boston public television, Julia's forthright, frank and humorous manner was met with overwhelming favorable public response.  She was offered her own series, 'The French Chef TV,' that premiered on WGBH in 1962. Shortly thereafter, the series was syndicated to 96 stations throughout America. Child also introduced the television programs 'Julia Child and Company' in 1978, 'Julia Child and More Company' in 1980, and 'Dinner at Julia's' in 1983, alongside many bestselling cookbooks in culinary education.

JCKitchen

Her success and impact worldwide was so great that Julia became the recipient of the George Foster Peabody Award in 1964 followed by an Emmy Award in 1966. She became the first woman ever to be inducted into the Culinary Institute Hall of Fame. In November 2000, Julia received France's: Legion d'Honneur. During August 2002, the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History introduced an exhibit featuring the kitchen where Julia filmed three of her cooking shows.

Julia Child died of kidney failure in August 2004 at Montecito. She was just two days away from her 92nd birthday at her death.

Today, Julia's legacy lives on through her cookbooks and syndicated shows. During 2009 a film, 'Julie & Julia', opened to rave reviews in theatres. The movie, starred Meryl Streep and Amy Adams, and chronicled Child's life, and her influence around the globe.


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Halloween

Pictured above: The Haunted Lane/ c1889/LOC VAV!/October 22, 2014 The black as night holiday, Halloween, is celebrated on October 31.  Otherwise known as Hallowe'en, All Hallows' Eve, or All Saints' Eve, Halloween is the time of year when children and adults dress as ghosts, scarecrows, vampires, princesses, or their favorite cartoon character and forage into the night, ringing doorbells and knocking on doors.  While visions of ghastly ghouls, witches, pumpkins, jack-o-lanterns and hobgoblins dance mysteriously before the celebrant's eyes, they sing out 'trick or treat' in anticipation of the candy that will most certainly fill the bags they carry. While trick or treaters comb the streets today, a succession of Halloween parades unfold elsewhere in cities and towns and Halloween parties take the night with the bobbing of apples and carving out of pumpkins by roaring bon fires! While today, Halloween is an evening of gaiety, that was not always so.  During the 19th century and a greater part of the 20th century, Halloween earned a bad rap as rogues of ne'er do wells and trouble makers roamed the countryside and city raising a not so welcome raucous. Merrymakers began dressing in imitation of evil spirits and ghastly creatures all while performing mischief making activities in exchange for food and drink...a practice called mumming. From this, trick or treating evolved.  For the greater part, the tricks were harmless, but others engaged in a more serious endeavor of vandalizing homes and businesses. As a result, it was not unusual to find a special police force put in place for the sole purpose of patrolling throughout the evening "Nearly all Halloween traditions may be traced to the ancient Celtic day of the dead." What are the origins of Halloween? The origins of Halloween began in an ancient, pre-Christian Celtic festival of the dead. In accordance with the Celtics, their year began on the day that corresponded to November 1st on today's calendar. The first day of the year was the beginning of winter and a time when livestock was kept at closer pastures for the months ahead. As well, the new year was a time when crops were harvested and stored. It was, in short, a day that served as the beginning and ending of an ever eternal cycle. The festival celebrating the first day of the year was called Samhain. The occasion was a very significant holiday, if not the most significant holiday, of the Celts. They believed on Samhain that the ghosts of the dead mingled amongst the living, "because at Samhain the souls of those who had died during the year traveled into the otherworld." - Library of Congress During Samhain, animals were sacrificed and bonfires burned brightly in homage to the dead as they made their final journey into the otherworld, and to keep them at bay from the living. The Celts also believed that Samhain harbored demons, ghosts, and fairies. Samhain has long since transformed into the Halloween we celebrate today.  The transformation came after Christian missionaries attempted to change the religious practices of the Celts and put an end to their "pagan" holidays, such as Samhain.  While sweeping changes were made, in 601 A.D. Pope Gregory the First issued an edict to his missionaries that rather than obliterate native peoples' customs and beliefs,  he adjured them to consecrate it to Christ and allow its continued worship.  Consequently,  the Christian feast of All Saints was assigned to November 1st and the day honored every Christian saint This feast day was meant to substitute for Samhain, and finally,  replace it forever.  While that eradication did not occur, and Samhain never died out entirely, the church tried again to supplant it with a Christian feast day in the 9th century on November 2nd as All Souls Day as a day when the living prayed for the souls of all the dead. Nevertheless, the traditional beliefs and customs lived on, in new guises. All Saints Day, otherwise known as All Hallows, continued the ancient Celtic traditions. The evening prior to All Saints Day was the time of concentrated activity of both human and supernatural entities. People continued to celebrate All Hallows Eve as a time of the wandering dead. As time moved onward, people continued  the legacy of  those spirits' existence (and their masked impersonators) with the practice of  setting out gifts of food and drink. Thereafter, All Hallows Eve became Hallow Evening, which became Hallowe'en. Nearly all Halloween traditions may be traced to the ancient Celtic day of the dead.   The wearing of costumes  and going door to door for trick or treats can be traced to the Celtic period and the first few centuries of the Christian era,  offerings of food and drink were left out to placate the souls of the dead and evil spirits. As time evolved, and centuries lapsed one into another, people began dressing in imitation of evil spirits and ghastly creatures all while performing hi-jinx in exchange for food and drink.   The practice is called mumming, from which the practice of trick-or-treating evolved.   Reference: Library of Congress

 

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