Back in June of this year, Chicago Tribune columnist Bill Daley did an article titled “Celebrating Julia Child’s 100th birthday.” It was about the 100 day long celebration that Julia Child’s longtime publisher, Alfred A. Knopf, is having to honor The French Chef. Tomorrow, August 15, 2012 would have been her centenary birthday.
Reading the article made me stop and think about the huge influence this woman had on generations of people. The influences were not only on how we look at food and cooking in America, but also on how people look at the culinary field as a career choice. I’m a good example of the range of her influence.
As a teen, growing up in New Jersey, I was intrigued with Julia Child’s first television series, “The French Chef.” I watched those episodes in black and white every chance I had when they were on my local PBS station, WNET-TV, out of New York City. Julia Child was inspirational. She made classic French cooking and baking interesting, enjoyable, and achievable by the average person.
I’m sure she was part of what motivated me years afterwards to explore and follow an alternate career path to my library work that included attending and graduating from The Culinary Institute of America (The CIA) and then working at several well known restaurants, bakeries, and confectioneries in New York State and Vermont. The picture to the right shows me with one of the awards I helped earn in the 1980s for the shop I worked at in Vermont. Thank you, Julia, for instilling in me a sense of culinary inquisitiveness!
So, there’s time still to join in the Julia Child celebration. Check out Bill Daley’s column from June 20th at the link above and have fun with the JC100 celebration on Facebook at facebook.com/JuliaChild; on Twitter at @JC100; on Pinterest at pinterest.com/knopfbooks/jc100; and on Tumblr at jc100.tumblr.com.
– Tom D.