Happy 100th Birthday, Julia Child

by Anne Bennett on August 15, 2012

This was Google’s masthead this morning, in honor of Julia Child’s 100th birthday.

Imagine, if you can, a world in which Julia never went to France with her husband Paul (who was stationed there with the State Department after the war), or took a cooking class at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, or wrote a cookbook that introduced Americans to French cooking. We would probably still be eating like this:

In the caption the husband says, “The best you ever made! Tastes swell, and it’s more tender!”

There are several things about this ad that take me back to the early 1960’s. First, the reference to Lent in the upper-left hand corner. We were Catholic and my mom was always looking for festive meatless entrees. (Her specialty was tuna noodle casserole, made with Campbell’s Cream of Celery soup and served in a ring mold with peas in the center hole. That was a Friday company dinner!)

And what about that mac and cheese presentation on the right, the perfect “no-fuss hot weather menu,” complete with mini-frankfurters and ketchup and what looks like canned green beans and canned fruit.

Boy, have things changed, and Julia was responsible for most of those changes. The moment she stepped into that makeshift public television studio in Boston in 1962 and made an omelet on a hot plate, there was a seismic shift in the direction of American cooking.

She singlehandedly saved us from having frankfurter casserole as our national dish!

Thank you, Julia, for taking us into your kitchen for so many years via television (her kitchen was disassembled and rebuilt in the Smithsonian) and sharing your infectious love of good food and cooking.

You were a true American trail-blazer. Wherever you are, “Bon Appetit!”

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Marguerite August 15, 2012 at 9:56 am

Happy Birthday Julia Child and Thank you!!!!!!

Pat August 17, 2012 at 10:00 am

We thoroughly enjoyed our Julia birthday dinner! I added Julia’s baked tomatoes & a simple green salad to the beef bourg with boiled potatoes & red wine. Thanks, Anne, for inspiring us to treat ourselves to a wonderful gourmet meal on a week night!

John August 19, 2012 at 8:04 pm

Hi Ann,
I hope weight watchers is paying you a lot for all this!!! Your website is terrific…fun, entertaining, informative, creative, and visually pleasing…even the diet stuff. And, there’s nothing I’d rather talk about (or, read about) than food. In fact I’m heading to the BBQ in just a minute to do some ribs for dinner (and Mike). Take care, and keep up the good work. jb

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