I’ve decided to pen a new series on my blog called Sunday Specials where I write about related topics to wine – in this case famed Chef Julia Child. Yesterday would have been Julia Child’s 108th birthday in addition to being Ferragosto. Today, a group of women from Les Dames d’Escoffier International celebrated her life with a panel discussion about food and culture by fabulous chefs. Among them, I found it inspiring and touching to listen to Donna Battle Pierce talk about her relationship to food and how African American cooking has been overlooked through the years. I just signed up for her Skillet Project newsletter and am excited to learn more about what she’s doing. The entire panel was wonderfully interesting and made me think of how central food has been during this Pandemic for so many, me included and how much time I have spent in the kitchen recreating my Mom’s recipes.
Les Dames d’Escoffier is a philanthropic organization of women leaders in the fields of food, fine beverage and hospitality. The by-invitation membership, composed of over 2,400 members in 45 chapters in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France and Mexico, is highly diversified and reflects the multifaceted fields of contemporary gastronomy and hospitality. I was inducted to the New York Chapter in 2014 and it remains a highlight of my career in the wine world.
I consider myself a wino rather than a foodie but one doesn’t need to be food obsessed to appreciate Julia Child’s impact on our lives. Years ago I went to visit her kitchen which is at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. That was right around when the book and movie called Julie & Julia came out. As always, Meryl Streep was fabulous and back in the day I still liked Stanley Tucci, before his wine show.
The scene at the museum was very funny. Packed with people of all ages, everyone was looking gleefully at pots and pans.This appealed to me immensely. I am happy to see home cooking elevated to the level of art, something to be cherished and desired. I
Growing up, the dinner table was a place of lively conversation, some arguments, lots of wine, jokes and laughter. Like many people, one of my favorite rooms in any house is the kitchen. This is why it made me so happy to see people waxing poetic about Julia’s kitchen.
Now that people are paying more attention to food and where it comes from, I think celebrating Julia Child is a must. Yes she used more butter in every dish of her food than I use in a year but that aside, she made people celebrate cooking and feel that they could cook well too.
The fact that she liked cats made her all the more endearing to this cat lover.