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Posts Tagged ‘recipes

Celebrating Julia Child

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Julia's 90th Birthday Party

Kate & Julia

In his book A History of Cooks and Cooking, author Michael Symons notes that “Mass Foodism” (also known as being a “foodie”) has been on the rise for years — as can be observed in the booming gourmet food/cookware industry as well as soaring sales of cookbooks. Part of this rise, Symons adds, is due to television bringing “foodism to the masses” via charismatic instructors like Julia Child.

Julia Child made what was once intimidating obtainable, and became an international icon after first appearing (in 1963) as “The French Chef” on Public Television. Child’s greatest contribution to the art of cookery, however, is most certainly Volume One of Mastering the Art of French Cooking (published in 1961).

Child (along with her colleagues Simone Beck and Louisette Berholle) spent a decade researching and writing Volume One — the “style and clarity” of which, according to Noel Riley Fitch (author of Appetite for Life: The Biography of Julia Child), makes it “a genuine masterpiece in culinary history.”

In 1950, Child, Beck and Berholle started their work with a goal to create a book novice American cooks could understand, yet would still be “interesting for the practiced cook.” Ten years later, Knopf’s Judith Jones wrote that the soon-to-be-published book “will do for French cooking here in America what Rombauer’s The Joy of Cooking did for standard [American] cooking.”

Jones was right: the book has been in print for over 40-years, including a new edition celebrating the release of the film “Julie & Julia” — opening Friday with Oscar-winner Meryl Streep appearing as Ms. Child.

“Julie & Julia” is the first of what might well become many motion pictures based on Child’s fascinating life encompassing great loves, world-wide travels, epic feasts — and perhaps even a stint as a WWII spy. Standing over six-feet-tall, Julia Child’s dynamic physical presence and positive personality drove her ever-increasing popularity as a TV performer and delivered her passion for cooking to an international audience.

Writer Christopher Lydon, quoted in Fitch’s biography, states that: “Queen Julia has done more than [Betty] Friedan, Gloria Steinem and Co. to show American women a model of power in public and expressive self-discovery at home.”

Even after her death (in 2004 at the age of 91), the cult of Julia Child is still hungry for more: DVD collections are available for purchase, her home kitchen has been moved into the Smithsonian Museum, new books are inspired by her life,  bumper stickers read “What Would Julia Do?,” and the truly obsessed can buy devotional candles.

If you haven’t yet had your fill of all things related to ‘the original spice girl,’ check out Flickr’s Julia Child group (lovingly administered by the author of this blog… )

Foodbuzz Top 9!

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top9imageOn Foodbuzz today, the “Top 9” is featuring my recipe and photo for Spicy Skirt Steak Tacos with Avocado-Corn Salsa — a recipe which I have to admit is pretty great. (Making the Top 9 means the recipe is one of “the best of 2,679 posts from the Foodbuzz Community based on yesterday’s activity.”)

I’m proud to be on the same page as Kathy’s Vegas’ lucious looking Pineapple Fritters and The Gourmet Girl’s Chocolate Fudge Cupcakes.

Written by Kate Blood

July 8, 2009 at 3:20 pm

The Fine Modern Art of Food

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Warholesque Art at Humphry Slocombe

Warholesque Art at Humphry Slocombe

While touring San Francisco’s Mission District, I spotted this funny Warholesque painting at the new Humphry Slocombe ice cream shop. (I ordered a scoop of their intensely caffinated Blue Bottle Vietnamese Iced Coffee, and skipped the foie gras flavor…)

Andy Warhol was far from the only modern artist known to feature food in his work — California painter Wayne Thiebaud is lauded for his still lifes of pies and cakes. Photographer Liz Wolfe has an equally artistic recipe for food bliss: colorful, candy-coated set ups.

The summer of 2009’s most infamous food-art installation is in England where street artist Banksy has taken over the Bristol Museum. Banksy’s show features pink-frosted donuts, tubes of bologna, demented cooks, excrement filled ice cream cones, and a giant vanilla soft serve melting on the top of an ice cream van.

What Banksy’s cooked up may not whet everyone’s appetite. It does prove, however, that just about anyone can be a modern artist. Why not try your own hand at food art in the home kitchen?

Better yet, get out of the house and join in the fun at a Jell-O mold competition or French fry sculpting contest! (Don’t miss the video!)

UPDATE: Thanks to Rebecca for showing me this additional item on SFGate — Freeman Makes Artistic Desserts at SFMoma.

EAT IT UP: Lobster in the News

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Maine Lobster Roll

Maine Lobster Roll