Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Bon Anniversaire . . . Julia Child

"On the shelf . . ."

I had the honored privilege to partake in the black-tie affair celebrating Julia’s 90th birthday at COPIA, the American Center for Wine, Food and the Arts, in Napa, CA, a few years ago. Working in the Food Industry does have its perks. That evening-of-a-lifetime, I mingled and rubbed elbows with renowned chefs, celebrated gastronomes and notoriousepicureanss. I won’t drop names. I’m just not that kind of gal.

Lisa, at Champaign Taste invited the food blogging community to join in celebrating Julia’s birthday with a dish made from one of Julia’s cookbooks and then post about it.

"Volume One" . . .

I missed the deadline for the round-up, but I thought I’d go ahead and include this post anyway. It appears “crêpes” are all the rage with some of us Julia devotees. Great minds think alike!

"Crêpe Recipe" . . .

And so, instead of posting yet another “crêpe” recipe here, I’ll share one of my favorite and personal Julia anecdotes I hold dear to my heart.

I had just won a wager with one of my co-workers. He claimed I would not be able to identify the number of "dimensions" a particular wine we were tasting possessed. He did not work with me very long and thought this to challenge my level of expertise in enology. Obviously, he did not know I mentored under an award-winning vintner. In order to redeem himself, and extend a gesture of humility, he agreed to take me, along with our wine co-horts, to any place I desired for dessert.

There was no question in my mind. In a heart beat and effortless manner, I simply stated, "To the Sonoma Mission Inn, please." Those who know me well, know my favorite dessert. One that I could never pass up; the superb, first-rate and incredible Crème Brulee. This venue was the place to find it. We were all seated at our table and waiting for our desserts. We were a lively bunch, laughing and enjoying the repartee between ourselves. We were sipping away on our ports and sauternes and more port and sauterne. As we continued to enjoy each others' company, we were served our long-awaited desserts. Someone, I don't recall who, began to broadcast, "Bon Appetite"! Suddenly a chorus of "BOHN APAHTEET" - "BAAAAAHN AHHHPEHTEEEEE" - "BOOOOOOHN EEEEEEHPEHTEEEEEEEE" - began blaring around the table. Of course, it was in the "Soprano" voice, as if it were the Aria straight from Puccini's Madame Butterfly, getting louder and higher-pitched each time! Oh, we were having a roar of a time!

Until . . . our server, very gingerly approached our table and quietly asked us to tone it down a bit as to not offend a particular dinner guest around the corner from our table.

We were half way through finishing our desserts when "the Grande Dame" herself approached our table with her dinner companion. I just about choked on the mouthful of sweet, smooth, custard when I looked up at the six-foot-plus personality standing before us. She kindly asked "How is your dessert?" She then took notice of my partially devoured crème brulee and commented, "That's my favorite, here. They know how to make the custard just right." We both smiled at each other and as our eyes met, we simultaneously nodded to acknowledge each other's taste pertaining to this comestible.

As she turned to leave our table, she waved and extended, in her true Julia spirit, "Bon Appetit"!

And in more ways than one . . .


"Mis en place, Future Crème Brulee" . . .

"Crème Brulee . . . Julia's Guilty Pleasure"

Grandpa with relish . . .

That's Miss Julia for you.

It warms my heart knowing that Julia and I share the ultimate guilty pleasure.

Life is a banquet, my friends.


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