Julia in Action

Thursday, January 30, 2014

I’ve been watching Julia videos. (The French Chef3-DVD set from the Durham County library.) Without a doubt my favorite part is when she says, “Hello, I’m Julia Child.” However there is no real reason for that to be my favorite part.

My other favorite part is watching her chop things. Holy cow! She turns an onion or shallot into a perfectly sized dice in ten seconds flat without even looking at what she’s doing.

Just watch her mince this shallot in the famous chicken show.

I feel like part of the appeal of Julia Child is that she is half Everywoman and half Superwoman. Sometimes things stick to the pan when she tries to take them out, sometimes things aren’t quite as done as they should be, or maybe they are too done, and she looks more like a high school teacher than a movie star, yet she did things with food that hardly anyone in America had ever seen.

I am completely in awe of her omelette technique, the way the eggs envelop the filling as she shakes the pan, and how beautifully cooked they are in just a few seconds. It feels at once both totally beyond my capacity and like something I could do it if I just put my mind to it and practiced hard enough.

And I think that is why so many people loved Julia Child — she does amazing things, and tells you how you can do them too. How can you not be inspired by that?

4 Responses to “Julia in Action”

  1. Liz Adams Says:

    i must admit i saw the French Chef the first time around! and we just loved her, so unselfconscious, willing to burst out laughing if she dropped something, and one time when something she tried to toss wouldn’t toss, on live tv, she just said, well, you see I didn’t have the courage of my convictions! Yeah, plenty to love there.

  2. lessisenough Says:

    Yeah, it was funny reading in the Laura Shapiro book about the show, and how they did it in the beginning. Basically there was no money, so it wasn’t live, but they weren’t going to stop the camera for anything, unless something blew up or something. They just had to keep going and go straight through. That’s why you get her stumbling over her words and dropping things sometimes, just picking them up and going on ahead.

    But it’s so much better that way, because that’s what life is like, and that’s why it makes you feel like you can do it too. Maybe not the first time, or every time, but eventually.

  3. sacha Says:

    Omg… just looking at her handling the chickens…. I almost start screaming ‘salmonella!’…. grabbing chickens, opening the fridge, grabbing the chicken again, turning the tap on, taking paper towel and drying the chicken. After which she puts the clean towel and the wet towel in one hand…. aaaaaaaah! Nowadays that kind of behaviour sends you straight on the loo with the runners.

  4. lessisenough Says:

    Yeah, there’s definitely no concern about cross-contamination, that’s for sure. But you could also find 5 different kinds of chickens in a meat market (or supermarket). And there were actually meat markets. Different conditions all around. I think salmonella has gotten worse in recent decades — more prevalent and/or more virulent. Though even so, I haven’t stopped eating cookie dough or cake batter. I’m willing to take the risk with that.

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