The simplest meal, done with flair

Remembering Julia Child

I was watching a show about the late Julia Child recently, showcasing her rise to fame as a television star.

Did you know she had one of the first cooking shows on television? The “French Chef” first aired in 1963, when the concept of cooking French recipes at home seemed out of reach for a home cook. Julia changed all that.

The pilot episode of Julia’s show was about making an omelette. The simplicity of making this dish was part of how the series got started—Julia demonstrated it while on a public television show called “I’ve Been Reading”, as a way to promote her cookbook. Viewers responded to her candid and entertaining manner, saying they wanted more.

The “French Chef” was filmed live on videotape, so most of what would be considered bloopers on a show today became cherished classical Julia moments.

One episode about potatoes involved Julia trying to flip a potato pancake – and having a large portion of it miss the pan on the way down.

“You can pick it up when you’re alone in the kitchen,” using her hands to put the errant pieces in the pan. “Who is going to see?”

This incident turned into an urban legend over the years, most of us thinking she dropped a chicken, turkey, leg of lamb or roast on the floor. Even with just potatoes, she still gave us an opportunity to forgive ourselves for a mishap. And she offered further encouragement for future attempts, saying: “You must have the courage of your convictions.”

Julia Child may have studied at Le Cordon Bleu in France, but she always professed to be a home cook. She showed viewers for decades that they could tackle a complicated recipe and manage it with confidence if they were just willing to stick with it.

From the opening show with a simple omelette and season seven’s “Lasagne à la Française,” using the leftover ground beef, cheese and veggies in her fridge, Julia showed us we were capable of many things. In season nine she did “The Omelette Show,” where she showed us our possible potential, making omelettes for imaginary dinner guests in just 20 seconds each, including fillings.

With Mother’s Day upon us, and many people thinking of the daunting task of cooking for the cook in their home, I thought this might provide some welcome inspiration. You can watch Julia’s first French omelette show here. (https://youtu.be/N40qglGNRlA ) Just know that even if it doesn’t look perfect, you will have achieved a delightful dish.

Maybe you are happy in your comfort zone and won’t be cooking anything new any time soon. You can still remember to have the courage of your convictions in anything else. Maybe it’s trying that dish at the restaurant that you haven’t tried yet, or taking a class at the gym or the community centre? (If you need more encouragement from Julia, try this selection of her great moments. https://youtu.be/M9AITdJBTnQ )

A simple effort, like a simple meal, happens with just a few steps. Julia inspired so many people with her efforts, never afraid to show us that a bit of flair could cover a myriad of mishaps. If we aren’t ready to fail, she said, we can never be ready to learn.

Here’s to learning new things, and doing them with flair.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

More Happy Gourmand articles

About the Author

Kristin Peturson-Laprise is a customer experience specialist by trade, which means she is someone passionate about people having a good time. 

Her company, Wow Service Mentor, helps businesses enhance their customer experience through hands-on training, service programs, and special event coordination.

Kristin enjoys her own experiences too, and that is what she writes about in this column. She and her husband Martin Laprise (also known as Chef Martin, of The Chef Instead) love to share their passion for food and entertaining.  

Kristin says:

"Wikipedia lists a gourmand as a person who takes great pleasure in food. I have taken the concept of gourmandise, or enjoying something to the fullest, in all parts of my life. I love to grow and cook food, and I loved wine enough to become a Sommelier. I call a meal a success when I can convey that 'sense of place' from where the food has come . . . the French call that terroir, but I just call it the full experience. It might mean tasting the flavours of my own garden, or transporting everyone at the table to a faraway place, reminiscent of travels or dreams we have had."


E-mail Kristin at:  [email protected]

Check out her website here:  www.wowservicementor.com


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

Previous Stories