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Buttery-Rich French Fare: Gone Appetit?

Buttery-Rich French Fare: Gone Appetit?

Maria Puente | USA Today

Whether most Americans realize it or not, French technique is the foundation of what we eat today, Spungen says. “You may have Thai ingredients, but you cook with French techniques,” she says. “It’s so completely assimilated into American cooking in large part thanks to Julia.”

Family Wants More Fans

Child’s family and her many friends and supporters hope the movie will introduce her to a new generation of foodies. “It will make people want to eat French and want to learn to cook, because the act of cooking was as important to Julia as what you’re cooking,” says Susy Davidson, coordinator of the Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts.

Adams, for one, says she’s been inspired. “Doing this film inspired me to cook a lot more and in a different way – cooking with my friends and really making things from scratch,” she says. “There are recipes in (Mastering) that really aren’t that complicated. There are just a lot of steps to it, but if you follow the steps it’s very easy.”

Take the glorious Sole Meuniere that Child falls for when she and husband Paul arrive in Paris just after World War II. It’s the dish she credited with providing her epiphany, her eureka moment when she knew she wanted to learn French cooking, says Tim Ryan, director of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y.

“It’s a dish of simple perfection, and that’s what she was attracted to,” he says, adding that CIA plans to put it back on the menu of the school’s French restaurant to attract diners looking to try what they see in the movie.

Always in Style

In truth, Child, who died in 2004 at age 91, has always been au courant. At the National Museum of American History, Child’s collection of French copper pots and pans, plus items from the movie donated by Ephron, recently were added to the exhibit Julia Child’s Kitchen at the Smithsonian. Officials say it is one of the top three most popular exhibits (it’s seen in the movie) at the Washington museum.

Powell says her book and the movie celebrate not just Child but "the capacity people have to be moved and changed by their love of food.

“Julia cooked the same way she lived – with both rigor and passion,” Powell says. “She is a glowing inspiration, and if a new generation of men and women discover that, then the movie (and the book) will have done its job.”

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Contributing: Susan Wloszczyna © Copyright 2009 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc. <http://www.gannett.com>

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