If you’ll kindly recall, I love Julia Child. With Julie & Julia coming out next week, Julia is being thrust back into our hearts and minds – as if she ever left – and hopefully, this fond remembrance means someone somewhere will be kind enough to re-air The French Chef or any other of Julia’s shows. Watching old episodes of The French Chef, even in black and white, serves as an excellent reminder that one learns to cook by understanding the differences between types of whole chicken, why you need this particular pan for that particular saute, and so on and so on — as opposed to learning by staring at Giada’s pelvis-level plate, gazing slack jawed as she baits some pasta with her fork, and plopping it into her waiting lips.
For those in the general vicinity of Beverly Hills, the Paley Center has answered my hopes, even if it’s not quite the marathon I was hoping. “Child’s Play in the Kitchen: The Remarkable Career of Julia Child” is a short (45-minute) presentation of selected highlights of Julia’s career, including famous clips from The French Chef and interviews. Showtime of this retrospective is 12:15 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday until August 17. For those in need of more immediate satisfaction, Vanity Fair’s August 2009 issue has an excellent summary of Julia’s life, and there always is this clip from The French Chef in which one learns how to make a 2-3 egg omelet (any more eggs, and you’ve got a leathery omelet, and no one wants that). The best part is when she whisks together the eggs with chopsticks (!!) as part of the process to create “lightly coagulated eggs with a little cloak around, holding them together.” There is a little bit of Julia in my mom after all.