Sunday, August 2, 2009

Mom did not watch Julia

This new film about Julia Child and the woman who tries to cook all of her recipes for a time, has and will for the foreseeable future have folks who watched Julia Child or at least writers needing a topic, relating how Julia Child changed the way America saw food, inspired women to cook cool stuff, and give French cooking a boost.

If I wrote something like this it would be very fictional. My Mom did not watch Julia, I did but her voice really annoyed me and I could and I still do an impression of her sometimes when I’m cooking, and I think my younger brother has an opinion on this but I’ll have to get back to you on that.

The dinner fare at “CafĂ© de Rhianne” was shall we say, scripted in that we had the usual suspects each week…hot dogs, spaghetti, fish or a fishlike substance, meat and potatoes, and very bad vegetables from cans…consult my brother on his love of lima beans from metal containers. There were some delectable delicacies that appeared on le menu from time to time, like “corn fritters”…pancakes infused with kernels upon which we heaped butter and Log Cabin, along with some fried “spamme”…magnifique, non? Mom’s specialty was breakfast…robust grease. Things that sustained you in the schoolyard at ten below zero with no gloves. But hey, she was really ahead of her time.

Check out Julia’s real French recipes and notice the ever present goose fat. I remember her episode about “rendering goose fat” for cooking…Mom used Crisco, Julia killed birds and rendered their fat. There have been numerous fat studies recently and I’m not conversant as to who leads the health race…geese or Criso. Mom was slippin us serious fat before Julia got in front of a camera in 1963. My brother and I both had stints by then.

So all this nostalgia about Julia is strange for me. I know, she’s a giant among chefs and all that, a pioneer, OK, already but…let it be known that my Mom had her own path of culinary revolution. And if she ever watched Julia on TV, I can attest to the fact that we never saw a Julia recipe upon our dinner table which doubled as my homework desk, which may have had an impact upon my academic career.

So…after all this…why do my brother and I enjoy cooking so much?

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