Julia Paved the Way for French Cooking

By Vincent Guerithault, Vincent on Camelback

Julia Child’s advice to “try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless and, above all, have fun,” has broadened the knowledge and appeal of French cooking and inspired millions to try new foods and classic preparations. She introduced French cooking to the masses and made my homeland’s cuisine far less intimidating and more acceptable to my adopted homeland’s tastes. Her inspiration to all contributed greatly to my success, paving the way for the American palate to accept and, indeed be inspired, to enjoy the art of French cooking.

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My Prized Julia Child Possession

By Martha Hoover, Cafe Patachou

My most valuable possession is not made of sterling silver or gold, it is not encrusted with diamonds, nor is it an expensive imported item ladened with logos. In the place of all of the aforementioned status items that normally connote a “valuable possession” is a simple wooden spoon. What makes this wooden spoon so precious, so dear, is that it bears the signature of Julia Child on its bowl. Her signature elevates this common tool of the kitchen to rare kitchen art. How it came to me is just as important in my mind-it was given to me nearly twenty years ago by one of my dearest friends who happened to meet Julia at a book signing held in a cooking supply shop in Aspen, Colorado. Knowing how I revered Mrs. Child, she thought of this clever way to get the well known chef to sign something not quite as ordinary as a book (although I have that too). A wooden spoon is as basic to a kitchen as a refrigerator and a stove. Designer kitchens have them, old tattered kitchens have them too. This utilitarian item – so often ubiquitous and utterly unordinary – will never be used. Instead, it will remain proudly displayed wherever I cook for my family as a reminder of the woman who inspired me as a young girl to devote my life to food.

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No Apologies

By Alexandra Stafford, Alexandra’s Kitchen

I heard myself doing it, but I didn’t stop. The words just spewed from my mouth after every bite. The polenta is a little bland, I’d say, encouraging my guests to add salt and some extra parmesan. And the vegetables are a little cold, I’d lament, confessing that I couldn’t quite get the timing right. And the bread just didn’t rise as it always does, I’d sigh, questioning what went wrong this time around.

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Six Lessons I Learned From Julia Child

(Excerpted with permission from: The Perfect Pantry)

By Lydia Walshin, The Perfect Pantry

In my family, the cooking gene skipped a generation. My grandmother nourished all of us with a steady diet of kosher, chicken-fat laden, soul-satisfying food. The gene passed over my mother’s generation and landed somewhere off to the side of me, but it took years to discover that I liked to cook and wanted to learn more about it.

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Her Particular Genius was For Appreciation

By Bryan Carr, Pomme Restaurant, St. Louis

Julia Child was a cook. To my mind she was the best kind of cook because of all of her talents her particular genius was for appreciation. She was lucky enough to encounter cooking at just the right time and place.

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Julia Child and My Son

By Chef Suzanne Tracht, Jar, Los Angeles

I was working as a chef a Campanile when Julia came in for lunch. I believe that it was Julia’s 80th birthday. I had recently given birth to Max, my first child. He was only 7 weeks old and was visiting the same day that Julia was there so we were able to capture this celebration. The photo means a lot of us and always gives me inspiration when I’m cooking at Jar.

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Inspiration and Courage

By Kelly Jaggers, Evil Shenanigans

I can pin-point the exact moment I knew I would become a baker.

I was watching an episode of “Baking with Julia” and she welcomed to her kitchen Esther McManus who was going to demonstrate the finer points of croissant making. Never did I imagine that I could make a croissant at home. The delicate, buttery layers and elegant shape seemed beyond my reach as a novice home baker. Skeptical, I sat and watched as Esther worked and Julia asked questions designed to demystify the process to those uninitiated in making croissants. So inspired was I, so confident, that I went directly into my kitchen armed with my new knowledge and give it a go. While my first attempt was not a roaring success they were certainly edible and I was hooked. Not long after this I entered culinary school, and I am happy to report I have mastered the croissant.

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I Wish I Had Met Julia Child

By Paula Deen

People ask me all the time if I could meet anyone in the world, who would it be? I always respond that I wish with all my heart that I had the opportunity to meet Julia Child and cook alongside her. What she did to inspire folks to discover cooking is nothing short of amazing, and it’s something I can only hope to live up to in my life. It’s an absolute honor to celebrate her 100th birthday!

About Paula Deen

Paula Deen is America’s “First Lady of Food” as best-selling author, television show host, and inspiration to millions. She and the Deen family have built one of the most diverse and effective entertainment brands today, extending from restaurants to cooking products as well as home goods; with further lifestyle extensions planned for 2012.