On August 15, 2002, Julia Child celebrated her 90th birthday. To mark the occasion, four favorite episodes aired from the well-loved public television series Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home, along with the special Julia Child's Kitchen Wisdom.
With Julia and Jacques Pepin's relaxed and spirited interplay, the series embodies a love for home cooking that Julia has promoted throughout her career. The special looks back at Julia's long and brilliant career as television's first chef.
"Our colleagues in public television have been clamoring to re-air both of these programs," says Executive Producer Geoffrey Drummond, "and we thought Julia's 90th birthday would be the perfect time to make them available again."
The four series episodes feature classic recipes often interpreted in differing ways by Julia and Jacques.
Beef: "There's nothing as good as a good piece of meat," and as Julia is quick to point out there is less and less really good (well-marbled and aged) beef to be found. Hangar Steak, Skirt Strip, Flank and Ribeye. Sauteed ribeye steak for Steak Diane, New York strip steak with crushed pepper (Steak au Poivre), sautéed chicken steak with persiallade, a classic Chateaubriand (for two or more), and les pieces de resistance: two grand All-American Hamburgers, each stacked high with Julia and Jacques' respective favorite garnishes and condiments.
Vegetables: Julia and Jacques prepare artichokes -- several ways -- including artichoke hearts stuffed with spinach and mushroom duxelle. Julia demonstrates her secret to ever-green cooked string beans and butter bruised peas. Jacques counters with his aromatic Tomato Provencal.
Fish: Sole food and more. One of Julia's most memorable meals was the Sole Meuniere she had on first arriving in Paris after WWII. With Jacques, she recreates this dish, as delightful as ever. The sole is followed by Grilled Halibut with herbed butter, and Poached Snapper with beautifully turned and sautéed cucumbers.
Comfort Food: Julia and Jacques show how simple it is to poach a chicken with vegetables, mushrooms and a little white wine, and then take that poaching liquid and use it with the leftover poached chicken for flaky crusted Chicken Pot Pie. The same simple pastry Julia makes for the pot pie is the perfect base for a Rustic Apple and Dried Fruit Tart. Bon Appétit!
The special celebrates Julia Child's remarkable contribution to the American palate and lifestyle. On one level it is a heartfelt tribute to Julia's culinary wit and wisdom; on another, it is a composite of her favorite recipes and techniques, as demonstrated by Julia on-air from 1963 to 1999.