100+ hours of Julia Child

Discovered among the last few shelves of videotapes going to digital: A 12-hour French Chef marathon I taped when WGBH Boston aired it on Christmas 2004, four months after Julia Child left us. The tapes, with no labels on the spine but Post-its indicating the contents, included seventeen half-hour episodes I didn’t have in digital form before, including S07E20 More About French Bread. I just uploaded that one to YouTube – see below – to go along with the S07E19 French Bread episode someone else previously uploaded that I featured in an article here a couple years ago.

My two favourite series from the lists below are probably Baking with Julia, a thirty-nine episode, nineteen-hour series, and Julia & Jacques: Cooking at Home. The former is mouth-watering throughout – just this week, I watched three episodes on my tablet while waiting for my car window master switch to be replaced and was then compelled to stop at a good bakery – exceedingly rare around here, but one happens to be just half a mile from the Hyundai dealer. In the latter eleven-hour series, filmed in Julia’s Cambridge home when she was 88, Julia and longtime friend Jacques Pépin frequently compare and contrast home and professional cooking techniques and sometimes disagree about various methods – or whether something’s done. She gives him plenty of good-natured sass, but he returns the volley more often than not. Lots of fun.

Windows Explorer tells me I now have 208 files with 105 hours of Julia Child shows in 40 gigs. Absolutely delightful.

Speaking of delightful, the image I grabbed for the video’s thumbnail is when Julia politely shushes Professor Calvel to allow us, too, to hear “la musique du pain”.

Episode Guides
[1963-1973] The French Chef episodes [201×28].txt
[1978-1979] Julia Child and Company episodes [13×28].txt
[1979-1980] Julia Child and More Company episodes [13×28].txt
[1983-1984] Dinner at Julia’s episodes [13×28].txt
[1989] The Way to Cook episodes [6×58].txt
[1992] A Birthday Party for Julia Child – Compliments to the Chef [1×58].txt
[1993-1994] Cooking with Master Chefs episodes [16×28].txt
[1993-1995] Cooking in Concert episodes [3×85].txt
[1994-1996] In Julia’s Kitchen with Master Chefs [39×28].txt
[1996-1998] Baking with Julia episodes [39×28].txt
[1999-2000] Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home [22×28].txt
[2000] Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom [1×58].txt

[I’ve none of the three in italics]

[1963-1973] The French Chef [51 of 201 eps, the rest on Amazon Video]
S01E01 Boeuf Bourguignon.avi
S01E02 French Onion Soup.avi
S01E09 Vegetables The French Way.mp4
S01E19 French Crêpes.mp4
S01E20 French Crêpes II.mp4
S01E22 The Potato Show.mp4
S02E02 Cooking Your Goose.mp4
S02E07 Vegetable Adventures.mp4
S02E13 Elegance with Eggs.mp4
S03E17 Bûche de Noël.mp4
S03E20 Croissants.mp4
S05E03 Queen of Sheba Cake.avi
S05E09 Roast Suckling Pig.mp4
S05E10 More About Potatoes.mp4
S06E18 Bouillabaisse à la Marseillaise.avi
S06E20 The Spinach Twins.avi
S07E01 Cake with a Halo.mp4
S07E02 Hamburger Dinner.mp4
S07E03 Salade Niçoise.avi
S07E05 Lasagne à la Française.mp4
S07E06 Waiting for Gigot.mp4
S07E07 How About Lentils.mp4
S07E08 Fish in Monk’s Clothing.mp4
S07E09 Gâteau in a Cage.mp4
S07E10 Cheese and Wine Party.avi
S07E11 Curry Dinner.mp4
S07E12 Apple Desserts.avi
S07E12 Apple Desserts.mp4
S07E13 Meat Loaf Masquerade.MP4
S07E14 To Roast a Chicken.mp4
S07E15 Hard Boiled Eggs.mp4
S07E16 Boeuf Bourguignon.mp4
S07E17 Strawberry Soufflé.mp4
S07E18 Spaghetti Flambé.mp4
S07E19 French Bread.mp4
S07E20 More About French Bread.mp4
S08E01 A Vegetable for all Occasions.mp4
S08E02 Pot au Feu.mp4
S08E10 The Whole Fish Story.avi
S08E16 The Lobster Show.avi
S08E18 Mousse au Chocolat.avi
S08E20 To Stuff a Sausage.avi
S09E06 Terrines and Pâtés.mp4
S09E11 Cheese Soufflé.mp4
S09E12 The Good Loaf.avi
S09E13 The Hollandaise Family.mp4
S09E14 Tripes à la Mode.avi
S09E15 Sole Bon Femme.mp4
S09E18 The Omelette Show.avi
S09E20 French Fries.avi
S10E07 VIP Cake.mp4

[1979-1980] Julia Child and More Company [1 of 13 eps]
Julia Child & More Company Summer Dinner.mp4

[1989] Julia Child – The Way to Cook [6 of 6 eps]
01 Poultry.mp4
02 Meat.mp4
03 Vegetables.mp4
04 Soups, Salads, and Bread.mp4
05 Fish and Eggs.mp4
06 First Courses and Desserts.mp4

[1993-1994] Cooking with Master Chefs [16 of 16 eps]
101 Emeril Lagasse.mp4
102 Michel Richard.mp4
103 Patrick Clark.mp4
104 Lidia Bastianich.mp4
105 Charles Palmer.mp4
106 Amy Ferguson-Ota.mp4
107 Robert Del Grande.mp4
108 Jean-Louis Palladin.mp4
109 Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken.mp4
110 Jacques Pépin.mp4
111 Jeremiah Tower.mp4
112 Jan Birnbaum and Lidia Bastianich.mp4
113 Andre Saltner.mp4
114 Nancy Silverton.mp4
115 Jacques Pépin.mp4
116 Alice Waters.mp4

[1993-1995] Cooking in Concert [3 of 3 eps]
Graham Kerr.mp4
Jacques Pépin Holiday Meal.mp4
Jacques Pépin Stuffed Turkey Roulade.mp4

[1996-1998] Baking With Julia [39 of 39 eps]
101 Craig Kominiak.mp4
102 Alice Medrich.mp4
103 Michel Richard.mp4
104 Lora Brody.mp4
105 Marcel Desaulniers.mp4
106 Gale Gand.mp4
107 Norman Love.mp4
108 Lauren Groveman.mp4
109 Mary Bergin.mp4
110 Steve Sullivan.mp4
111 Nancy Silverton.mp4
112 Nick Malgieri.mp4
113 Flo Braker.mp4
201 Esther McManus.mp4
202 Beatrice Ojakangas.mp4
203 Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid.mp4
204 Danielle Forestier.mp4
205 Markus Farbinger.mp4
206 Charlotte Akoto.mp4
207 Marion Cunningham.mp4
208 Johanna Killeen.mp4
209 Leslie Mackie.mp4
210 David Ogonowsk.mp4
211 Joe Ortiz.mp4
212 David Blom.mp4
213 Norman Love.mp4
301 Martha Stewart 1.mp4
302 Martha Stewart 2.mp4
303 Nancy Silverton.mp4
304 Michel Richard.mp4
304a Michel Richard.mp4
304b Michel Richard.mp4
304c Alice Medrich.mp4
305 Lauren Groveman.mp4
306 Johanne Killeen.mp4
307 Marcel Desaulniers.mp4
308 Nick Malgieri.mp4
309 Mary Bergin.mp4
310 Markus Farbinger.mp4
311 Jeffrey Alfor, Naomi Duguid, and Beatrice Ojakangas.mp4
312 Gail Gand and David Blom.mp4
313 Flo Braker and Leslie Mackie.mp4

[1996-1998] In Julia’s Kitchen with Master Chefs [37 of 39 eps]
101 Roberto Donna.mp4
102 Jasper White.mp4
103 Lynne Rossetto Kasper.mp4
104 Jimmy Sneed.mp4
105 Madhur Jaffrey.mp4
106 Daniel Boulud.mp4
107 Jim Dodge.mp4
108 Charlie Trotter.mp4
109 Leah Chase.mp4
110 Christopher Gross.mp4
111 Jody Adams.mp4
112 Zarela Martinez.mp4
113 Jean-Georges Vongerichten.mp4
114 Rick Bayless.mp4
115 Gordon Hamersley.mp4
116 Dean Fearing.mp4
117 Reed Hearon.mp4
118 Johanne Killeen and George Germon.mp4
119 Carol Field.mp4
120 Michael Lomonaco.mp4
121 Monique Barbeau.mp4
122a Jacques Torres.mp4
122b Jacques Torres.mp4
122c Jacques Torres.mp4
123 Alfred Portale.mp4
124 Mark Militello.mp4
125 Julian Serrano.mp4
126 Joachim Splichal.mp4
127 Lynne Rossetto Kasper and Roberto Donna.mp4
128 Jimmy Sneed.mp4
130 Killeen, Germon, and Gross.mp4
131 Daniel Boulud and Gordon Hamersley.mp4
132 Madhur Jaffrey and Reed Hearon.mp4
133 Dean Fearing.mp4
134 Jim Dodge.mp4
135 Jody Adams and Jaochim Splichal.mp4
136 Mark Militello.mp4
137 Jasper White and Zarela Martinez.mp4
138 Alfred Portale.mp4
139 Monique Barbeau and Jaques Torres.mp4

[1999-2000] Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home [22 of 22 eps]
S01E01 Beef.mp4
S01E02 Fruit Desserts.mp4
S01E03 Salad Days.mp4
S01E04 Our Favorite Sandwiches.mp4
S01E05 Vegetables.mp4
S01E06 Beef Stews.mp4
S01E07 Fish.mp4
S01E08 Roast Turkey Dinner.mp4
S01E09 Soup.mp4
S01E10 Eggs.mp4
S01E11 Pork.mp4
S01E12 Creamy Desserts.mp4
S01E13 Shellfish.mp4
S01E14 Roast Chickens.mp4
S01E15 Souffles.mp4
S01E16 Winter Vegetables.mp4
S01E17 Charcuterie.mp4
S01E18 Comfort Food.mp4
S01E19 Salmon.mp4
S01E20 Roasts of Veal and Lamb.mp4
S01E21 Potatoes.mkv
S01E22 Duck.mp4

[2004] Food Network Tributes August 2004
Emeril Live Tribute to Julia Child 2001.mp4
From Martha’s Kitchen with Julia and Jacques 2000.mp4
Julia Child – A Tribute – Food Network 2004.mp4
Sara Moulton – Cooking Live with Julia 1997.mp4
TV’s Greatest Food Moments 2003.mp4
Wolfgang Puck and Julia Child In the Kitchen 2002.mp4

Other
Other [1978] Chicago Tonight interview.mp4
Other [1997] Julia Child – A&E Biography.avi
Other [1997] Julia Child – An Appetite for Life 1997.mp4
Other [2000] Out of the Box with Jack Nadel interview with Julia Child.mp4
Other [2000] Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom.mp4
Other [2001] Chicago Tonight interview.mp4
Other [2005] American Masters – Julia Child.mp4
Other [2008] Julia Child – Culinary Revolutionary – The New School.mp4
Other [2012] Siting Julia – Radcliffe Institute Conference Panels.mp4
Other [2012] Dearie The Remarkable Life of Julia Child.mp4
Other [2014] Sharing Julia Child’s Appetite for Life with Noël Riley Fitch — Dinner in the Library.mp4
Other [2015] American History (After Hours) The French Chef, American-Style.mp4
Other [2017] Alex Prud’homme – The French Chef in America Julia Child’s Second Act (Full Lecture).mp4

Network quality control

On Sunday, I made a double recipe, five quarts, of Julia Child’s French onion soup – The Way to Cook variation – in preparation for my hybrid French onion pot roast beef stew on Christmas. This variation of hers is my favourite. The cognac and vermouth insinuate themselves delightfully into the soup during the three-hour slow simmer, producing intricately complex flavours in the result.

Unfortunately, last week, this news arrived regarding my food processor’s blade assembly:

Conair has received 69 reports of consumers finding broken pieces of the blade in processed food, including 30 reports of mouth lacerations or tooth injuries.

So, I signed up for a new blade and proceeded to thinly slice nineteen onions without mechanical aid. I briefly considered using the mandoline, but using that thing for the better part of an hour seemed like it might well be the start of an eventually disappointing recipe for a trip to A&E, never convenient when you’re about to caramelise twenty cups of onions for an hour or so. ’Round about onion seventeen, I did poke my thumb with the tip of the knife, the first time in some years I’ve cut myself (“Say…why is this onion running red?” I idly wondered), but the Victorinox is nice and sharp, so it was at least a clean cut.

Of course, the soup cannot just lazily sit in the fridge waiting for Saturday night. Quality testing protocols must be followed here at the Finley Quality Network, and that’s where I come in. I also happen to be the sole employee, but that’s neither here nor there – we (I) have standards to maintain regardless of piffling staffing levels. Plus I needed dinner.

Click for a mouth-wateringly HD version

As may be obvious from the photograph, yes, it passed with flying colours. If this has piqued your interest, here’s a printable image I put together of the three related recipes from The Way to Cook: the soup, the French bread croûtes, and the gratinée variant.

On Amazon, I found the defective processor blade, used on about twenty models over a nineteen-year period, is still being offered for sale. As if that wasn’t bad enough, my eyebrows like to shoot off the top of my head when I then, out of curiosity, looked at the oldest reviews and found one in 2012 clearly describing a metal fatigue problem in the blade. I don’t wish to cast aspersions or, more specifically, get sued, but I certainly hope Conair hasn’t been sitting on any similar information they might have been privy to.

My Inspiration

Eight-and-a-half years ago, in a forum thread requesting people’s “Favourite Cookery Programme of All Time”, I answered:

“The French Chef” with Julia Child. As a kid, I watched in rapt attention her obvious joy while making baguettes on that show: flinging the dough onto the counter, raising clouds of flour, and warbling her detailed instructions, cracking jokes all the while. The memory of that is what, years later, got me started baking and cooking myself. I have every one of her cookbooks (and use them regularly), about a hundred episodes of her various shows, and I think of her every day. She was one of my few heroes.

The specific episode that I remembered years later when I finally began to bake and cook for myself is on YouTube:

From the time I watched this episode as a kid to the time I did something about it was about eighteen years, so while I may have been a slow starter, I did have a long and impressionable memory. The very first thing I made was French bread, using the first cookbook I ever owned, From Julia Child’s Kitchen. Why? Because I remembered that she made it look pretty straightforward.

Tonight, I thoroughly enjoyed making it again, raising clouds of flour as I kneaded and smiling at the memory of Julia doing the same. Because I’ve concentrated on sourdoughs in recent years – mainly boules because they’re great for sandwiches – I haven’t made this recipe in quite a while, but I found I remembered the ingredients exactly: a pound of flour, 1¼ cup tepid water, 2¼ teaspoons salt, and a packet of yeast – or 2¼ teaspoons out of a large jar in my case – dissolved in 1/3 cup tepid water. I did have to read her instructions on the multiple steps to form the loaves, though. They were clear as a bell, as usual.

P1020415w

Cooling with air circulation all around. Click for a larger version.

These aren’t true baguettes as they lack a few inches of length; my biggest baking sheet, just a few inches narrower than the oven itself, will accommodate loaves of 22″ if I angle them slightly.

P1020419w

Click for a larger version

Connections

In the midst of reading As Always: The Letters of Julia Child and Avis DeVoto by Joan Reardon, and while separately reading of Mark Twain’s two-week experience as an amateur and eventually too-reluctant Confederate soldier, I discovered an interesting connection.

Avis DeVoto’s husband, Bernard DeVoto, had written an article in Harper’s on the difficulty of finding good kitchen knives in the US – this was in the early 1950s. That article is what prompted Julia to write; he was fairly busy at the time, so his wife answered instead with a four-page letter.

Thus began a long correspondence and friendship, and something else that was momentous. Avis had connections in the publishing world that eventually led to the release of Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Knopf in 1961, nine years after Julia and Avis first exchanged letters in 1952.

Julia_letter

Click to view a larger version

The unusual connection I wasn’t aware of until just now – or, rather, for which I hadn’t yet connected the dots – is that Bernard, a historian, was an authority on Mark Twain who curated and edited Twain’s papers. He edited a few books of Twain’s work, including the still in print The Portable Mark Twain, one of the first Twain volumes I read many years ago. Before I knew of the Child connection, I only recently bought DeVoto’s Mark Twain’s America, originally published in 1932, to get a better sense of what the country was like at the times of Twain’s travels.

The final connection is a mention of a particular type of cooking in Virginia City, Nevada, where Twain lived in the early 1860s, from just that volume:

They came to Virginia City as soon as the true value of the Comstock was perceived. They constituted, no doubt, a deplorable source of gambling, pleasure and embroilment. They were not soft-spoken women, their desire was not visibly separate from the main chance, and they would have beheld Mr. Harte’s portrayal of them at Poker Flat with ribald mirth. But let them have a moment of respect. They civilized the Comstock. They drove through its streets reclining in lacquered broughams, displaying to male eyes fashions as close to Paris as any then current in New York. They were, in brick houses hung with tapestries, a glamour and a romance, after the superheated caverns of the mines. They enforced a code of behavior: one might be a hard-rock man outside their curtains but in their presence one was punctilious or one was hustled away. They brought Parisian cooking to the sagebrush of Sun Mountain and they taught the West to distinguish between tarantula juice* and the bouquet of wines. An elegy for their passing. The West has neglected to mention them in bronze and its genealogies avoid comment on their marriages, conspicuous or obscure, but it owes them a here acknowledged debt for civilization.

*Tarantula juice was one of the many names for bastardised whisky in that corner of Nevada, cut with rather novel ingredients. According to J. Ross Browne in the January 1861 edition of Harper’s, “The whisky contained strychnine, oil of tobacco, tarantula juice, and various effective poisons of the same general nature, including a dash of corrosive sublimate; and the gin was manufactured out of turpentine and whisky, with a sprinkling of Prussic acid to give it flavor.”

Apparently, strychnine, deadly in higher quantities, would, in smaller quantities, produce effects not unlike those of methamphetamine. In 1864, Twain wrote of the Dashaway Association, a temperance group started by a group of San Francisco volunteer firemen in 1859. He said its ranks were increasing because the new adherents “fear strychnine more than inebriation.”

Old-school butchers

They’re a rarity in Massachusetts, especially since Blood Farm’s fire last December, though the Blood family are nearly done rebuilding the combined smokehouse, processing, and retail building that was lost. At a Groton town meeting the other day, Elliot Blood said they’re planning a “soft” opening around the end of this month – meaning a grand reopening event is also in the works, I imagine.

There’s a place equidistant from my house that claims to be a butcher shop. It’s not. When they opened several years ago I went in there twice, once shortly after they opened to be disappointed and the second time a few months later – to see if they were still as dismal, not because I’m a glutton for punishment. They were.

Anyway, it sounds like I should be able to get one of Blood Farm’s delightful smoked hams for Christmas again this year. Here’s last Christmas’s cider-baked ham with deep-fried cauliflower and Julia Child’s Purée de Pommes de Terre à L’ail – that is, garlic mash, from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Vol. 1, recipe at the end of this post. To me, there’s nothing better than raw garlic if you’re looking to ruin a batch of perfectly mashed potatoes, but slow-braising the garlic in butter first provides the perfect mellowing.

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In the meantime, I may visit Fairway Beef, which I recently found mentioned in an eGullet thread. It’s about 30 minutes from my office and sounds like my kinda place. Who knows, I might even be able to get some of the specialised cuts I can order at Blood Farm, though I strongly doubt Fairway sells goat or has bacon smoked over the other side of the building.

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PURÉE DE POMMES DE TERRE À L’AIL (Garlic Mashed Potatoes)
Julia Child

Two whole heads of garlic will seem like a horrifying amount if you have not made this type of recipe before. But if less is used, you will regret it, for the long cooking of the garlic removes all of its harsh strength, leaving just a pleasant flavor. Garlic mashed potatoes go with roast lamb, pork, goose, or sausages. Although both garlic sauce and potatoes may be cooked in advance, they should be combined only at the last minute; the completed purée loses its nice consistency if it sits too long over heat.

For 6 to 8 people

2 heads garlic, about 30 cloves

Separate the garlic cloves. Drop into boiling water, and boil 2 minutes. Drain. Peel.

A 3- to 4-cup (small) heavy-bottomed saucepan with cover
4 tablespoons butter

Cook the garlic slowly — low heat — with the butter in the covered saucepan for about 20 minutes or until very tender but not browned.

2 tablespoons flour
1 cup boiling milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
Pinch of pepper
A sieve and wooden spoon, or an electric blender

Blend in the flour and stir over low heat until it froths with the butter for 2 minutes without browning. Off heat, beat in the boiling milk and seasonings. Boil, stirring, for 1 minute. Rub the sauce through a sieve or purée it in the electric blender. Simmer for 2 minutes more.  (May be done ahead of time. Dot top of sauce with bits of butter to keep a skin from forming. Reheat when needed.)

2 1/2 lbs. (just over a kilo) baking potatoes
A potato ricer
A 2 1/2 quart enameled saucepan (medium)
A wooden spatula or spoon
4 tablespoons softened butter (2 oz)
Salt and white pepper

Peel and quarter the potatoes. Drop in boiling salted water to cover, and boil until tender. Drain immediately and put through a potato ricer. Place the hot purée in the saucepan and beat with the spatula or spoon for several minutes over moderate heat to evaporate moisture. As soon as the purée begins to form a film in the bottom of the pan, remove from heat and beat in the butter a tablespoon at a time. Beat in salt and pepper to taste. (If not used immediately, set aside uncovered. To reheat, cover and set over boiling water, beating frequently.)

2 to 3 tablespoons heavy cream
4 tablespoons minced parsley
A hot, lightly buttered vegetable dish.

Shortly before serving, beat the hot garlic sauce vigorously into the hot potatoes. Beat in the cream by spoonfuls but do not thin out the purée too much. Beat in the parsley. Correct seasoning. Turn into hot vegetable dish.

I miss her

JuliaChild

Photo: Paul Child

It’s been just over ten years since Julia Child left us here to cope with a planet made considerably poorer by the lack of Julia Child.

I owe a lot to her. She’s responsible for my love of cooking and baking, not to mention at least some of my attitude toward life, more probably a large part. She had such a lively disposition, and a devilish habit of speaking her mind regardless of whether there might be consequences. She wasn’t snarky, she was impish. She was – and is – my hero.

I first started watching her when I was a kid, probably right around the time of this episode of “The French Chef”:

This sort of programme was still pretty revolutionary at the time. She probably presented ten times as much information on lobsters as anyone else on television had up to that point. Her thoroughness and breadth of knowledge fascinated me no end, and I remember thinking, “She is great. I want to be like her.”

The episode that really set itself firmly in my memory was when she made traditional French bread. When kneading, she would slam the dough onto the counter, raising great clouds of flour and clearly having a ball. When I did finally start making food for myself years later, that bread was what I remembered, and my first baking project was baguettes, using her detailed instructions in From Julia Child’s Kitchen, the first cookbook I ever owned. That they came out fantastically well guaranteed that I’d never stop, thank goodness. Had I failed miserably at that first attempt, there would be a more than middling chance that my life would be at least an order of magnitude poorer now. I didn’t fail because that’s how good she was at teaching and encouraging novices.

“The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you’ve got to have a what-the-hell attitude.”

In years past, I saw her more than once just off Harvard Square, at the Church Street car park. Each time, I would wave and give a cheery hello, and she did the same. I never had one of her cookbooks with me, but I later wrote a letter of thanks to her and asked if she would sign my copy of The Way to Cook, which I included along with a postpaid box with which to return it. She did, and it is a treasured volume.

I miss her often. Whenever I do, I watch a few of the hundreds of hours of her shows that I have. She brings a smile every time.

A new rose was bred in 2004 and named after Julia Child. It is, of course, the colour of butter. A really good butter. She would have no less.

“Giving up butter means that in about two years you will be covered in dandruff.”