Julia Child: 100 Years, Le Grand, and a Personal Reflection

August 15 2012, 10:30 AM

If somehow you haven't heard, today would have been Julia Child's 100th birthday. Much is made of this culinary icon who, though her television show The French Chef and her two volumes of Mastering the Art of French Cooking, is credited with teaching Americans how to decipher French cuisine.

Ask most anyone who cooks and they have a Julia Child story, be it from following her recipes, watching her on PBS, or through reading My Life in France or Julie & Julia. So, it seems only fitting then that today is marked by celebrations across the country (even Google gets in on the act), many of which are detailed on the JC100 Facebook page.

My encounter with Child was a little more personal. Several years ago, I had the great fortune of meeting her at the Food & Wine Classic at Aspen. I was in the press room when Child wandered in and I approached her and asked if she happened to remember a woman named Jodie Weed. She looked at me and said, "Why, yes, of course!" Weed had been her roommate at Smith College—she was also my grandmother. We spoke for a few minutes and shook hands before parting ways.

I have my mother's tattered copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking but I'll admit to rarely cracking the cover. My once-a-year ode to Child comes at Thanksgiving when I painstakingly follow the directions for her turkey gravy. It is always rich, full-flavored, and worthy of a special occasion.

Celebrate Locally: Through Friday, August 19, Le Grand Bistro & Oyster Bar pays tribute to Child with a three-course menu of French classics for $25 at lunch and $40 for dinner. Choose from ratatouille or vichyssoise; coq au vin or beef bourguignon (pictured); and enjoy tarte normande aux pommes (apple-frangipane tart) for dessert.

1512 Curtis St., 303-534-1155

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