Julia Child's cooking show, The French Chef, was the first show we ever saw about cooking. It wasn't that we were excited to learn to cook like Julia. The fact is, we could only get three television stations, and Tennessee Public Television was one of them. Sometimes, The French Chef provided more entertainment than news or soap operas on the other stations.
During this time, we didn't get out much, and the only French food we knew about was French fried potatoes. When Julia stood in front of the camera and flopped a big fish on her cutting board, we thought she was just putting on a show because no one would really eat poached fish. Everybody knew fish was deep fried and served with hush-puppies, slaw, and onions. We laughed when she talked about what wine to serve with what, because we had no experience with anyone serving wine with their meals.
French food is not my favorite, but I did learn a lot from Julia during her later years. I loved that she insisted on real butter and making her own bread. She taught us that it was okay to lose your spatula or serving platter, just when you need them most.
When food critics and consumers raised their eyebrows at Julia's use of real butter and cream, she responded with this: Everybody is overreacting. If fear of food continues, it will be the death of gastronomy in the United States. Fortunately, the French don't suffer from the same hysteria we do. We should enjoy food and have fun. It is one of the simplest and nicest pleasures in life.
Today we celebrate the 102nd anniversary of Julia Child's birth. I think I will have some brioche with butter in her honor.