Julia Child videos from The Way to Cook

Youtube decided to proffer the series of shows which accompanied Julia’s The Way to Cook, published in the 1980’s. So far, I’ve watched the ones on soups and vegetables. These are closer to cafeteria food than French-style recipes. Butter, salt, and black pepper are the stars, with garlic and herbs in cameo appearances. I’d have been in my 30’s when these programs were on TV, and grew up in meat and potatoes America. Other than loving spinach and cruciferous vegetables, my palate aligned with that of my generation of white Americans of northern and central European extraction.

I was puzzled that Julia’s most common cooking method was a vigorous boil. Sometimes she baked or sauteed vegetables AFTER boiling them. A few were steamed or sauteed. She MUST have known that boiling, while it sets green color, depletes nutrients, flavor, and texture. Some vegetables got a “boil-steam” treatment: butter and enough water to come halfway up the veg in a covered pot, cooked until the water evaporated. She even commented that steaming conserves water and utilities, so it’s surprising to me that boiling was her go-to method. Even eggplant!

In the “times have changed” department, I kept imagining how much better that platter of X veg would be if drizzled with roasted sesame oil or teriyaki sauce or ranch dressing… Also, no mention of microwaves, which help many cooked vegetables retain flavor. I bought my first one in 1979, at which point they were not yet ubiquitous, and I think my Amana cost $400, but they were certainly well-known and steadily increasing in popularity, apace with the growth in two-career households.

I don’t foresee learning much from rewatching The Way to Cook, but it’s an interesting ride in the Wayback Machine!


I have similar feelings about The French Chef. As a chowpup, I watched reruns of this on PBS and absolutely adored it. I still catch it from time to time on Pluto TV and admire her vintage Descoware, Pyrex and green paper towels :slight_smile:
As much as I was drawn to cooking because of Julia, times have changed. But I still appreciate her confidence in the kitchen even though I don’t make many of her recipes. Except her crème patisserie. It comes out perfect every time.

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I forgot to mention her chopping style, as highlighted in the Julie&Julia movie: whaling away at the onions or other vegetables with a chef’s knife that must get dull at every outing, rather than a sliding, rocking motion with a palm stabilizing the back of the knife.

Yes! And sometimes she uses a tiny knife to cut a shallot or onion.
I really do like to watch her cook with Jacques; I wish there were more episodes of that show.

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