Looking for more cooking lessons? My latest obsession – and luckily it’s only six short episodes, so I won’t be overly obsessive – Dishing with Julia Child, found on your local PBS station. The show features six original French Chef episodes hosted by well-known television chefs who serve as commentators critiquing the show and sharing personal Julia Child anecdotes. My favorite episode by far is The Whole Fish, hosted by José Andrés and Eric Ripert, not because I yearn to clean and filet a whole flounder, but owing to the engaging commentary from the hosts.
Andres and Ripert are both horrified and delighted at some of Julia’s techniques. Her liberal use of salt and handling of the fish makes them giggle, yet they’re also impressed, and respectful of the knowledge and teaching she imparts. In fact, all of the chef hosts comment on how Julia Child was the master at instruction, breaking down seemingly complicated cooking techniques into manageable steps that we can all master with a little practice.
The French Chef was filmed live, in real time. If Julia had a verbal slip-up or something didn’t turn out quite the way she intended, there was no director to yet “Cut!” She simply carried on, and showed us all how to fix or camouflage a less than perfectly turned out product. Julia Child kept it real, and that alone was one of her greatest lessons – perfection is not necessary. Good food with good friends and loving family – that’s what is important!