As Basic As Choux Pastry, As Classic As Julia Child


A few weeks ago, I received an email invitation from Kristen Tarnol (on behalf of the marketing team for Columbia Pictures) to participate in the Julie & Julia movie’s “Blog of the Day” program. To be honest with you, at first I did not think it was real. “As in T-H-E Julie & Julia movie with Meryl Streep and Amy Adams about Julia Child (and Julie Powell)?…!…?” was all I could say to myself. Surely this was some kind of joke or a mistake. I was in disbelief until I received another email from her. [Sorry, Kristen!]

Unlike some of the few other bloggers featured, I grew up in the Philippines without having Julia Child on TV, not seeing Julia’s cookbooks as her mother’s or grandmothers’ go-to cookbook, or even knowing who she was until later on. And I mean, later on after my mid-twenties. Here I am, a fairly new cook who avoided the kitchen for most of her life, then decided to have a food blog that is now being featured on quite arguably the most awaited foodie movie of the year. How could this be? Tickled pink doesn’t even begin to describe it.

For those who are not familiar with Julia Child, she was an American chef who introduced French cooking to the American household. She wrote what would become a classic cookbook, with all the basic cooking techniques and recipes for the home cook:

Mastering the Art of French Cooking

The first volume was published in 1961; no not the one above, it’s a 1973 ed. To ‘celebrate’ being Blog of the Day, I decided to bake choux pastry puffs using Julia’s recipe.

They came out perfect from a recipe older than I am. As she said in her book, “A perfect puff is firm to the touch, tender and dry to the taste.”

Choux Pastry Puffs

She continues:

“Hot puffs will seem perfectly cooked when taken from the oven, but, if left as they are, they will become soggy as they cool because there is always an uncooked center portion that gradually spreads its dampness to the outside crust. To prevent this sad effect, small puffs are punctured to release steam; large puffs are slit, and often their uncooked centeres are removed. This is actually the only secret to puff making.”

Rarely do I fall in love with a cookbook’s text, but Julia’s is right up there. It’s very accessible, clear, easy to understand without being dumbed down, and with a little bit of mischief I would say. If you have seen some of her shows (a quick YouTube search will do the trick), you can see what a fun character she is!

I can’t blame Julie Powell for attempting to cook all of her recipes. How fun is that and why the hell didn’t I think of it? Haha. That’s what her book and the movie is about — the true story of Julie cooking her way through Julia’s 1961 book. A “deranged assignment” indeed, but what an adventure!

Meryl Streep plays Julia Child and I think she makes a great Julia: a six-foot-two-inch Mrs. Child, who’s still admired, loved and honored by home cooks and chefs alike. And because of the movie, perhaps even the masses.

Julie and Julia

I cannot wait till it’s out! I’d love to see how they portrayed Julia Child, the cooking legend and cultural icon. Watch it with me on August 7.

I’ll post the recipe for the choux pastry tomorrow. You’ll have to wait. :-)

P.S. As I’m about to publish this, Martha Stewart’s Cookie of the Day email came in and guess what it is? Cream Puffs.

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    • joy says

      Thanks Amy! It is, indeed. I’m so thrilled! Thank you…I’ll have to give credit to Julia for a superb recipe. ;-)

    • joy says

      Thanks Bash! I just pop one into my mouth right away. Well, the empty ones. I haven’t made a filling yet.

    • joy says

      Haha…Sorry, Kristen! I only didn’t believe because it was beyond me to even be considered for it! :) Thank you again!

    • joy says

      Thank you Hélène! (I love your name.) This is a lovely cookbook with expertly explained recipes that work. :)

    • joy says

      Thank you Elle! I loooove these puffs! These are even better than our family’s usual recipe. Now it’s just a matter of making the cream. :)

    • joy says

      Coming soon. I love that her recipes just plain work. Plus she had a great sense of humour to boot and a zest for life. :)

  1. says

    I always wonder how the outside of beautiful puffs keeps so crunchy and fluffy. Oh, that’s a secret behind of making them. Thanks for sharing.
    I was the one who were not familiar with Julia Child, until the movie trailer came into place in Australia. I guess she must be a very famous person. I shouldn’t miss the movie and her cookbooks too.
    Last but not least, CONGRATS!
    .-= Christine´s last blog ..Stir-fried Broccoli with Beef =-.

    • joy says

      You’re welcome! I thought my mom already had a foolproof puff recipe, but this one is even better. Her cookbooks are worth investing in. I read somewhere that for “Mastering the Art of French Cooking”, the recipes were tested 20x. The recipes simply work, like the one for the puffs. She included very good tips for each recipe, too.

      Thank you so much! This is all so very exciting. :)


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