Currently, most PBS stations are re-running the 2004 documentary film, "Julia! America's Favorite Chef". "Julia Child, the doyenne of TV chefs, whose public TV show, "The French Chef" began in 1963."
This current biopic reminds me how, as I watched Julia in black and white as kid, with my mom, and while laughing hysterically at her cuisine faux pas, learned to love the divine mysteries of cooking.
But it wasn't always so easy. The film allows you to be a fly on the wall as Julia desribes her ordeal at the Cordon Bleu Academy in Paris after WWII (during which she was a spy!). She describes how her first attempts to prepare brains resulted in mush, and the scary iron-maiden device used for producing pressed duck. Thrill to the spectacle of real old-school French chefs sporting giant white toques while displaying huge platters of complicated things under aspic!
Learn about the pre-historic pre-Food Network days - Julia paid her dues getting shocked on the set by ungrounded wires. Julia didn't care - her mistakes all appeared right on-screen. She said, "You just have to have the courage of your convictions. If you're alone in the kitchen and you flip a potato pancake, and it drops behind the stove - just pick it up, nobody is going to know." And by being so human, and keeping her sense of humor, while producing such delicious, sophisticated - yet seemingly simple and most of all, accessible food, she allowed us to get beyond the silly pseudo-sophistication of the phony haute cuisine that was what we all were brainwashed into believing was fine cooking before Julia changed everything.
Don't miss the PBS biopic being re-shown this week! Julia is a delight! What a lovely human being. She is immortal. Elizabeth David came first with wonderfully accessible, yet fine, writing about cooking fine European food. But Julia was the first cooking TV star. She is the essence of grace and good humor, and her enthusiasm is just so contagious. Thank you Julia!