How Child-ish

If you know much of anything about Julia Child, Entertainment Weekly’s review of her new, eponymous biography (penned by Laura Shapiro, something of a hero of mine after her earlier food-culture book, Something From the Oven) hits the same well-worn high notes found in other biographical sketches. You’ll read once more that Child was a former OSS member who married a guy well off enough to finance the kitchen experimentation that led to Child’s canonical Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

There is one anecdote, though, that I hadn’t heard yet: At one point in her career, a miffed Child called for what she termed the “de-fagification” of American cooking. I love this, not because of the sentiment—the gays are my people!—but because of the word. Way to coin one, Julia!

I would like to suggest, however, that we work toward the “re-fagification” of American cooking. In this potato-poppers-at-Chili’s country of crappy-food eaters, a world in which doughy antipretty boys like Mario and Emeril are on TV (well, at least Emeril still is) and the demon Sandra Lee makes festive holiday cakes with tubes of canned crescent rolls, I would like to see a return to meticulous, fussy cooking. Damn it, I want frilly little socks on poultry joints and beggar’s purses tied with chives. Is that so much to ask?

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