Thursday, August 23, 2012

Julia and her wine

So a lot of people have been writing about how Julia Child has been a great influence on them, how her masterpiece Mastering the Art of French Cooking is still relevant after all these years, how there never really will be another American food personality like her again. But the most interesting tributes come from the people who actually knew her - the ones she cooked and ate and drank with. Her friends.

Check out these two pieces: Learning How to Eat, by Tamar Adler in the New Yorker, and Wine Notes: Julia Child was well-versed in ways of wine by Katherine Cole, Special to The Oregonian. Great reads, especially the second one. A few gems:

"You can always find a place for your wine collection."
Even while his job posted them in various locations overseas, Julia's husband, Paul, kept up a substantial and lovingly documented cellar. At their Provençal vacation house, La Pitchoune, Paul turned a small garden shed into a welcoming wine cave. "He liked to cross the driveway and go into his little private place," Pratt recalls with a laugh.

"Sweet white wines are too often neglected."
So wrote the authors of "Mastering the Art of French Cooking." Child had a weakness for Château d'Yquem -- the exorbitantly priced peak of excellence in Sauternes -- especially when served with soufflé Grand Marnier or crème brulée. But she also paired Sauternes with foie gras or pâté.

"Red Burgundy = to die for"
For her 40th birthday, Child wanted roast duck and '26 Chambertin. She served Corton with beef, Volnay with brie, Grands-Echézeaux with veal kidneys or strong cheeses. She served Burgundy with pheasant. And she dreamed of the famously rare and pricey Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, which she had drunk only once.

A pretty nice story from Thomas Keller. Can you imagine - walking into the kitchen of one of the greatest restaurants in the country, tasting stuff, hanging out with the kitchen staff . . . and they get nervous about serving you because everything has to be perfect? Julia Child sounded like an amazing dinner companion; anyone who enjoys wine that much has to be a lot of fun. But is anyone surprised that she, with all her friends in the restaurant business, only drank DRC once?!


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