Friday, August 21, 2009

Julia Child's Birthday Open House

Julia Carolyn McWilliams Child was born August 15, 1912, in Pasadena, California, and as the world celebrated the birthday of this icon, so did Kepler’s Books this past Thursday. The store quickly filled with an eager audience of great cooks who wanted to talk Julia, exchange recipes, pick up excellent cookbooks at value prices, and most of all, enjoy each other's company.

The outstanding Draeger’s Markets bakery, a local favorite, honored Julia and the attendees with a spectacular cake topped by an image of Julia enthusiastically in action. A guest commented, "I actually met Julia Child. She was very tall." And indeed even the scale of the cake spoke to the way Julia towers over anyone who wants to delve into the kitchen! Alas, even its stunning beauty and size could not save this scrumptious creation from being completely consumed by the eager gourmets.

Kepler's Staff Members, Penelope Barcelo and Katie Butterick paid homage by baking Tarte Aux Pommes (Apple Tart), Tuiles Aux Almonds (Lacy Curved Almond Wafers) and Pain D’espice (Spice Bread) which were all gone within the first half hour. “Delicious!” a participant declared.

The afternoon was sprinkled with exciting raffles: red paté terrine donated by Draeger’s Le Creuset representative; silver serving utensils and “Julie & Julia” journals from Kepler’s Random House Publishing representative; “Julie & Julia” aprons, bags and reading lights; and cooking-related books donated by publishers Random House and Hachette Publishing. The two most coveted grand prizes were donated by Draeger’s: certificates to attend the highly-rated Draeger’s Cooking School. Needless to say, there were many gleeful winners!

Although Julia Child is best known for her culinary contributions, few know that she also worked for the Office of Strategic Services (OSS -now known as the CIA) in World War II. This ironically set her on the path that would lead her to her purpose in life – a Master of French Cuisine. She enrolled in the world renowned Cordon Bleu Academy in France, took private lessons with Master Chef Max Bugnard, and formed her very own school, L’Ecole de Trois Gourmandes (The School of the Three Gourmands), with fellow students Simon Beck and Louisette Bertholle. Their goal was to bring French Cuisine to mainstream America.

To this end, Julia made the most of all her opportunities. She created the legendary cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, which still guides and embolden the culinary efforts of many of us today. She used public television to translate the techniques and art of fine cooking to large audiences. Her nationally syndicated series, The French Chef, eventually won her the prestigious George Peabody Award and an Emmy.

Julia is gone, but by the looks of the audience at Kepler's this week, she certainly attained her goal. The aroma of her art keeps many in kitchens across the world connected to her achievement.

About the blogger:
John Ray Gutierrez is a beat blogger for Book flip. He is the winner of The Fundatia Alviqute Award of Romania for Best Screenplay, Don’t Drink The Water, nominated for BACE (Bay Area Cable Excellence Award) The GenX Show for Best Entertainment Series and a finalist for Best Screenplay The Lucid Dream Of Eric Butterworth at the Beverly Hills International Film festival 2009. He is currently directing a Trailer for Nick Cave’s new book The Death of Bunny Munro. And just finished his second screenplay Flan.


Shellie (Layers of Thought) said...


Kepler's said...

Next time, we'll need TWO cakes!
This was so very fun.