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:
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.”
“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.
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.