Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Birthday Confusion

Julia Child, I want to wish this giant of the kitchen a Happy 100th Birthday, but must admit that I am a little torn.
On the one hand, I, and Pink Girl, giggle with delight at "a snort, a smack and a bon appetite." I have three of her cookbooks, one of which, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, I love. I have to admit there are easier, tastier boeuf bourguignon recipes out there, but her quiches can't be beat and that woman knew her way around a duck.
That same book is held together, in certain parts, with packing tape and is well spattered, stained and curled around the edges. The Charlotte Malakoff pages are stuck together with a combination of sugar, egg and, let's be honest, wine. That last bit isn't in the recipe.
On the other hand, despite her husband's obvious leanings, Julia was not a fan of the folks on my team. Granted, in her day it was more socially acceptable to "be" homophobic. Her letters, now a matter of public record, make no bones about it. 
For example, “I had my hair permanented at E. Arden’s, using the same pedalo (French slang for queer) I had before (I wish all the men in OUR profession in the USA were not pedals!)." And "Fashion designers were “that little bunch of Pansies,” a cooking school was “a nest of homovipers,” a Boston dinner party was “peopled by 3 fags in an expensive house…. We felt hopelessly square and left when decently possible,” and San Francisco was beautiful but full of pedals—“It appears that SF is their favorite city! I’m tired of them, talented though they are.” 
In her later years, her attitude seems to have mellowed somewhat. I wish she had made the odd, off-the-cuff remark so I could somehow justify them. But to write to a number of people on endless occasions makes me think she might have been "bowing to the pressure."
None-the-less, I found myself soaking Great Northern Beans overnight and using the last of my homemade goose confit to prepare IronMan and I a meal of Cassoulet to mark Lady Child's centenary. Naturally, there had to be champagne to mark the occasion and as IronMan doesn't partake, I was forced to consume the entire bottle on my own. C'est magnifique. 
As it was a school night, a Charlotte of any sort was out of the question so we had to make do with a cold tarte au citron et aux amandes. 
Julia, wherever you are, I hope that you are looking down on your legions of pink fans and can finally accept us into your heart. We are a light and flaky bunch indeed, but can also stand up to what seems like an impossible challenge. Much like your pre-baked pastry shells that don't collapse when filled with liquid outside of the support of a pan!
I think we shall all sleep well tonight.


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