JULIA, FRENCH COOKING, AND FRIEND #1001

August 1912- August 2004julia-child-0908-05Thursday was Julia Child’s birthday.  Thank you, PBS, you make me happy by keeping her alive. I cook along with her and learn plenty.  Julia says fix your mistakes or learn to live with them.  And she does – with savoir faire.

Julia’s an expert plucker, skinner, and de-boner. I watch her cut up a chicken, loosen skin from flesh, and pull bones out of a goose. She stirs two pots simultaneously and has such a jolly time doing it that I, too, cook with a spoon in each hand.

Her humor and appetite for la cuisine francaise is contagious. As much as she is devoted to the “rules” of French cooking, she revels in culinary exploration.  Her sense of wonder and inquisitiveness inspire me whenever I reach for a copper pot. As her recipes grow bolder, so do mine – tender escargot bobbling in garlicky butter and musky truffles redolent of earth. Pure Flavorful Heaven.  Ouf!

But Julia is more than the Master of French Cooking. She is A Writer. No stranger to the arduous writing process, the cut-and-dried business end of publishing, the seven hundred pages that need pruning. Mastering the Art of French Cooking was her Labor of Love.  Julia’s tome needed a good final edit. As writing teachers remind us, it’s not volume ~ it’s precision.  So when Julia’s editor said her book was unpublishable – too big, too expensive, too elaborate – she murdered some of her darlings. Tons were ‘killed’ but not discarded.  Julia saved those foolproof recipes for subsequent books. Limaces, for another day. (Don’t slugs sound lovelier in French?)

Julia used tons of French phrases ~ it is French cooking, after all.  Writing gurus suggest keeping foreign phrases to a minimum but I fling around Italian words like Julia whips out Charlotte Malakoffs.  What isn’t better with a little brio?

Julia inspires legions of cooks like me who muck about in the kitchen. We do so care what she made for lunch, however daunting it seems. For bloggers, though, writerly inspiration comes from readers.

Today WWWW celebrates the legions of friends we have on WordPress. 

So, Bloggers, take a breath, back away from the stats (yes, we eyeball ours, like just you :)) and add a new chum to your online community. Meet our Newest Friend, #1001, poet Dennis Cardiff. He isn’t cataloguing his pantry shelves or obsessing over finding the perfect microplane.  He’s just mucking about with words. Bon Appétit.

Toni  8/22/2013

Julia Child, French Cooking and The Rule of Three

August 17, 2010

Sunday was Julia Child’s birthday. Thank you, PBS, you make me happy. I cook along with Julia and learn plenty.  Julia says fix your mistakes or learn to live with them.  And she does – with savoir faire.

Julia’s an expert plucker, skinner, and boner. I watch her cut up a chicken, loosen skin from flesh, and pull the bones out of a goose. She stirs two pots at a time and has such a jolly time doing it that I, too, cook with a spoon in each hand.  Her humor and appetite for la cuisine francaise is contagious. As much as she is devoted to the “rules” of French cooking, she revels in culinary exploration.  Her sense of wonder and inquisitiveness inspire me whenever I reach for a copper pot. As her recipes grow bolder, so do mine – tender escargot bobbling in garlicky butter and musky truffles redolent of earth. Pure Flavorful Heaven.  Ouf!


But Julia is more than the Master of French Cooking. She is A Writer. No stranger to the arduous writing process, the cut-and-dried business end of publishing, the seven hundred pages that need pruning. Mastering the Art of French Cooking was her Labor of Love.  Julia’s tome needed, as we learned from our last chapter, a good final edit. Marion Roach Smith (Realia) reminds us – it’s not volume, it’s precision.  So when Julia’s editor said her book was unpublishable – too big, too expensive, too elaborate – she murdered some of her darlings. Tons were ‘killed’ but not discarded.  Julia saved those foolproof recipes for subsequent books.  If Marion spoke French, she’d say they’re limaces to be used another day.

(Don’t slugs sound lovelier in French?)

Julia used tons of French phrases.  (But of course –  it is French cooking, after all.)  This week, the writing group talked about foreign words. Marion suggests that you keep them to a minimum.  Ronnie and I throw around Italian words and phrases like Julia whips out Charlotte Malakoffs.  We like to add a dash of savory – put the reader in the scene, animate the character, make the dialogue authentic.  Most style guides say that up to three foreign terms per piece is stimulation enough for most readers.

On my page is the lush recipe for Charlotte Malakoff.

I also posted a poem, Desiderio, where I break the Rule of Three – again.

Toni  17/2010