Thursday, November 18, 2021

Entertain in Julia Child-Style (Webinar)

WGBH presented this webinar today that featured Chef Jacques Pepin and author Alex Prud'homme (who is Julia Child's great-nephew, co-writer, and keeper of her legacy) discussing Julia Child and cooking for Thanksgiving. 
And it was delightfully informative, beginning with this tidbit: 
  • The famous Dan Ackroyd/Saturday Night Live sketch in which he played Julia bleeding all over the place was based on an actual event. Julia and Pepin were about to do a demo on the Tom Snyder show, and Julia badly cut the end of one finger just before going on. According to Pepin, it was a really serious cut - he kind of helped push the skin back into place, then wrapped it in a towel. Julia was pretty blase about the whole thing, insisting that Snyder not mention it on air. Of course, as soon as they started Snyder brought it up. She ended up having to get stitches after the show. Also, it was great to hear that Julia loved the Ackroyd sketch.
  • Pepin stated that he believes in "taste over presentation" - although you want your food to look good, taste is the ultimate issue. He made the comment, "All food critics should be blind."
  • Chef is not as picky about wine as you'd expect from someone who is both French and a chef. His favorite wine is "free" (wines that people bring to him). When buying, he looks for wines in the $12-$20 range. Other than that, he's just not picky about it.

Chef Jacques Pepin

  • Guilty pleasures: Julia never felt 'guilty' about eating any type of food. Among her favorites that might be considered guilty pleasures for someone of her stature in the food world are hamburgers and Chinese food (she and her husband, Paul Child, were stationed in China during World War II). She also loved serving Goldfish crackers as during cocktail hour.
  • Julia owned one of the early microwave ovens. She referred to it as her "NASA contraption". She once attempted to microwave an entire meal - chicken, vegetables, and for some reason, ice cream - all together, all at once in the microwave. Needless to say, it wasn't a success.
  • Julia's favorite fall dishes (according to Alex): Her Beef Bourguignon and chicken stew.
  • Chef was asked about the array of pans hanging on the wall behind him, specifically which ones were his favorites, and about what kinds of pans he prefers in general. He doesn't have a specific favorite, but stated that he likes non-stick pans for omelets and cast iron for roasting. Which pan he picks pretty much depends on what he's cooking.
  • Both were asked about their favorite thing about spending so much time with Julia. Chef: The camraderie, that she was always straight-forward, so you knew where you stood with her, and that she was genuine - the person you saw on camera was the same person off-camera. Alex: Being around her was instructive, fun, inspiring, and never dull.

Alex Prud'homme

It was a brief but fun and informative webinar. I hope they do more of these.

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