Celebrating Julia Child with My Life in France

Today is Julia Child’s birthday; she would have been ninety-nine years old. This year also marks the fiftieth anniversary of Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

Julia Child taught people so much through her cookbooks and television shows; she constantly inspired. I bought her autobiography My Life in France about two years ago and I loved reading it as well as looking at her artist husband Paul’s photographs, which greatly adds to the reading experience and charm (especially their own holiday cards and that were depicted in Julie and Julia).

My Life in France covers the period from when Julia first went to Paris, France, tagging along with her husband who had been offered a job to run the Visual Presentation Department for the United States Information Service (USIS) in Paris. Determined to be a better cook – years later, Paul would tell an interview that “Her first attempts were not altogether successful”; growing up, she had had “zero interest in the stove” and was not encouraged to cook – she enrolled herself at Le Cordon Bleu and the rest is considered history.

Click after the jump for more images and info.

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Birthday Cheer

Last Friday was my birthday. I don’t really have any recipes to share from that day but I thought I’d share photos of the day with you all here. The food I ate wasn’t gluten-free, though I am inspired to recreate my own versions that would also be refined sugar-free and (possibly) dairy-free. The only thing that was almost gluten-free was my chocolate mousse birthday cake, the only wheat being in the cake base. The mousse itself didn’t have any gluten.

I went out to lunch with my grandmother. Here, I had a grilled roast lamb sandwich. It had said lamb, with baby salad greens, ripe pear, and mayonnaise. Something I’d definitely love to eat at home! It was so flavourful with the lamb and pear balancing each other perfectly.

Then there was dessert: a princess cake for me and a passion fruit mango mousse for my grandmother. Those marks on the mousse are chocolate smears! My grandmother and I were marveling over that for a minute or two. I said, “Isn’t that amazing!” Realizing what I said, “You know what’s amazing, though? That I think that a smear of chocolate is amazing.” Oi!

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Something Better Than Pumpkin Pie + an Anniversary (SCD & GFCF)

We all love pumpkin pie. I pretty much like everything pumpkin – the only thing I’ve yet to try is pumpkin in soups or for that matter, anything savory. For years I wrinkled my nose at pumpkin soups and pumpkin in anything savory, even though I never tried it (and still haven’t tried it, yet I’ve warmed to the idea of pumpkin soup considerably since: enough for me to be willing to try it, particularly this one from Kim right now.)

Today isn’t about soup or, for that matter, anything that is savory or about the autumnal, orange glory that is pumpkin. We’re looking at another gourd, or squash, that I’ve learned to recognize by its slight hourglass shape – or is it pear-shaped? – the butternut squash. I’ll cut to the chase here – it makes fantastic pie, some even swear it’s better than pumpkin pie. Ever since I read that (in a blog’s comments thread, no less) I was keen to try it and see – taste – for myself. “Better than pumpkin pie?”

Oh, yes! That’s what I said out loud when I first tasted it. Though I did not have a mirror at the time, I am sure that my eyes sparkled at that moment as it washed over my taste buds. It was dreamy. It’s the pumpkin pie that I’ve wanted to recreate at home for ages and now have, but even better indeed than any pumpkin pie that I’ve tasted, homemade or from the store. (Pumpkin pie hasn’t gone completely out the window, though – I mean, I still like pumpkin.)

I also thought that it would be a great way to celebrate my first blog anniversary.

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