Julia Child’s Birthday

Two great cooks share their birthday today: Julia Child and my Italian grandmother. Both are no longer around and both believed in butter, although my grandmother was heavier on the olive oil.

Tart Dough

To celebrate, I attended cooking classes at “Université Patisserie” – a tribute to Mastering the Art of French Cooking, sponsored by a local resort. The instructor endeared himself when he noted that most French recipes originated with the Italians.

I learned how to make pâte à choux with a creamy filling, tart dough with almond flour, and then stuffed myself with treats created by the pastry chef.

Children’s picture books that channel Julia were reviewed in Ann Hodgman’s New York Times – Let’s Eat – one starred Julia’s cat.

Minette’s Feast by Susanna Reich follows Julia Child and her husband Paul as they settle into Parisian life. The entry of Minette Mimosa McWilliams Child, a Parisian cat who adopts the couple, offers a new perspective on Julia’s life in France. With beautiful color illustrations by Amy Bates, the highlights of Julia’s cooking adventures in Paris come to life, punctuated by the fussy cat who is a gourmet. Minette would never eat out of a can, and revels in the aromas of cassoulets and soufflés, but, alas, her favorite food is still a mouse.

The newest biography of the original Top Chef has just been published to coincide with her 100th birthday. Bob Spitz’s Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child is on my Kindle, and I plan to read it today while eating my grandmother’s biscotti.

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