What do you say to a cooking icon that you have admired for years and watched on TV? Oh, to finally get my chance to meet that person came true in 1996 when Julia Child and Jacques Pépin went on a book tour for their PBS series Jacques and Julia Cooking at Home. My mother purchased tickets for my husband Paul and me to go to the lecture and book signing, but as a treat she also bought tickets for the meet and greet cocktail party before the show.
There they were sitting on stools talking to foodies and admirers like me, and shaking hands with everyone. I got in line to wait my turn to meet them just like everyone else, book bag heavy with all the books I had brought for the signing. As my turn came, I started to get nervous, trying to think of something wonderful to say. What did she enjoy cooking the most? Anything French or food related would be good. Closer and closer we got and I was getting more nervous and giddy as a school girl. Now, finally it was my turn…OK stay cool, here we go, "Thanks for teaching my mom to cook." There, that was it! That was my witty and charming conversation with the cooking legends. I had my picture taken with them and stepped out of the way for the next admirer.
As we walked out to find our seats for the lecture Paul asked me what I said to them. "Thanks for teaching my mom to cook". Paul laughed for a moment and turned to me and said, "but she didn't start cooking until she retired." "I know, I know".
I always wondered if my mom had been a better cook when I was growing up maybe I would not love cooking and baking now.—Ninette Dean
Top: Cookbooks from the Libraries' collections
Middle: Julia Child's Kitchen, National Museum of American History
Bottom: Julia, Ninette and Jacques
There are many of Julia's books in the Libraries collections. Highlights include:
From Julia Child's kitchen, by Julia Child ; photos. and drawings by Paul Child ; additional technical photos. by Albie Walton. London : Jonathan Cape, 1978.
The French chef cookbook. Drawings and photos. by Paul Child.New York, Knopf, Fourth printing: 1968.
My life in France, Julia Child with Alex Prud'homme. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2006.
Julia's kitchen wisdom: essential techniques and recipes from a lifetime of cooking, by Julia Child, with David Nussbaum. New York: Knopf, 2000.