Julia is 100

Today is Julia Child‘s 100th birthday, and I was moved to go back to my copy of Beck, Bertholle, and Child, Mastering the Art of French Cooking (1961) — a first edition, much used, food-spattered, and annotated (by Ann Daingerfield Zwicky).

Here’s the Mastering recipe for garlic mashed potatoes — typically detailed, covering parts of two pages:

Ann’s penciled notation (faint in this scan) is “heavenly”; “wonderful”, “excellent”, “v. good”, “delicious”, or just “nice” mark other recipes. And there are some raves:

“the best pie crust” (Pâte Brisée)

“marvelous – worth every minute of the time it takes” (Boeuf Bourguignon)

“this is truly marvelous” (Chou Rouge à la Limousine)

And then there are variations:

“nice – we used half & half instead of heavy cream & cheddar instead of Swiss cheese – used a lot of sausage” (Gratin de Pommes de Terre et Saucisson)

“nice – good also without cream, but w/ a little extra stock” (Suprêmes de Volaille aux Champignons)

Other notes have warnings:

“too much rosemary” (Farce aux Herbes)

“beautiful & easy – but froz. fish is usually not good enough” (Filets de Poisson Bercy aux Champignons)

“made these w/ leftover pike – v. nice, but a lot of trouble, even w/ the food processor” (Quenelles de Poisson)

“excellent, but takes longer than you’d think” (Coq au Vin)

Or reservations:

“nice, but not as good as mussels in sauce” (Soupe aux  Moules, compared to Moules en Sauce)

“good, but not quite as good as it sounds” (Fondue de Poulet à la Crème)

“tried this – found it disappointing” (Marinade au Laurier; cf. Marinade Sèche, which is “wonderful”)

“I prefer my own” (Mousseline au Chocolat)

“see Claiborne for shorter version” (Poireaux Braisés au Beurre)

Or presented difficulties:

“good – but I have trouble avoiding burning it” (Endives à la Flamande)

“this is very good (but I can’t make a free-standing tart shell)” (Tarte au Fromage Frais et aux Pruneaux)

“this never quite works for me” (Risotto)

“I still can’t do it!” (fluting mushroom caps)

A great many recipes are (still) marked “try”.

(My goodness, this is making me hungry.)


3 Responses to “Julia is 100”

  1. Tané Tachyon Says:

    I’m going to attempt her “Clafouti aux Pruneaux” later this evening.

    • arnold zwicky Says:

      Ann had an apricot version that was killer.

      (For other readers: Childs’s recipes ran the whole range, from simple preparations carefully described to seriously challenging elaborate enterprises. One amendment I’d make in the books would be to rate the difficulty and estimate the time for the recipes.)

  2. Follow-up: Ann, Bonnie, and Julia « Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    […] my posting yesterday on Julia Child, Benita Bendon Campbell wrote me about Ann Daingerfield Zwicky, her, and Julia […]

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