Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Julia Child at 100: Let's Not Forget Elizabeth David and MFK Fischer Either

Even Google got in the act this morning with a cartoon of our Julia, cooking away.  It would be  Julia Child's 100 birthday today, and the cooking and eating world are celebrating this wonderfully eccentric American French chef.  Sometime in the 1960s I acquired Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Vol. 1, and I suspect that not a week has gone by that I haven't used one of its recipes.

Note that I say, that I don't use the book, because many of its recipes are engrained in my brain I made them so often.  Last week it was her bouillabaise, this week I suspect it will be her mayonnaise.  Probably it's a good thing that I don't have to haul the book out everytime because it is falling apart:  after the fire when our books were returned cleaned and dustered, the insurance company obviously bowed to the inevitable and put it in a large plastic Ziplock bag to keep it together.

But while we're talking cooking I'd like to mention two other early food writers:  the Ameican M.F.K. Fisher and the Brit Elizabeth David.  The former was four years older than Julia, the latter a year younger (her centenary comes next year.)  Both of them introduced the best of European cuisine to their compatriots: David wrote about olive oil when it was impossible to find in most of the UK except in pharmacies. 

Food pleases throughout life, no matter what the status of one's sentimental or economic situation.  Preparing food is creative: there were years when, struggling to write, the only completed creation I accomplished was a good meal.  Offering food is the quintessentially human gift too.   

1 comment:

Bristol Book Publishing said...

Yes, it's Elizabeth David's centenary next year - she died in December. This year, on the 20th anniversary of her death, May 22, we tried to encourage people to go out and picnic. We hope people will make May 22 (or the Sunday nearest) international Elizabeth David Picnic Day, when everyone dips into their cookery books, gets out a hamper and heads for the outdoors with family and/or friends. It needs to be celebrated around the world!