Saturday, May 28, 2022

Lucy‘s having a moment with Julia (Child, that is)

 


LUCY BURDETTE: No one would ever accuse me of being a trendsetter, including my recent obsession with Julia Child. I did watch the movie Julie and Julia (twice) and absolutely adored the performances of Meryl Streep and Stanley Tucci as Julia and Paul. But I don’t own Mastering the Art of French Cooking, either volume one or two. I do have a lot of other books about Julia Child but until now I hadn’t read them.




But things changed as we watched the new mini series called Julia, focusing on the launch of her television career. Sarah Lancashire is brilliant as Julia. And now I’ve become officially obsessed.



 


 If you’ve seen it or if you decide to see it and you become infatuated with the show and the characters as I have, here are some other fun places to dive deeper.


A podcast about the making of each episode. You might think this is a dull topic, but it's not, it’s so interesting! (Including one for you Hank, about the inclusion of the black woman producer, who is one of the few completely fictional characters in the show.)


Here's Adam Robert’s interview with the Director, Daniel Goldfarb, in addition to a chat with Dorie Greenspan.





French pastry chef David Lebovitz wrote a long article in his newsletter about what the show got right, and what wrong—he has met and worked with a lot of the big name chefs under discussion so it’s fascinating to hear his take





Baker and cookbook author Dori Greenspan has two recent articles, one about Julia’s influence on her, and the other about the food stylist for the TV show, Christine Tobin. Both fascinating!


Because we had a discussion behind the scenes of our blog about what was real and true in the show, I finally read My Life in France by Julia Child (written with her nephew Alex Prud’homme.) Amazing book! She was an incredible woman, indomitable and totally unflustered by roadblocks in her cooking career, or in her life. It’s also a primer on having a good marriage.


And I forgot to add this photo earlier--celebrating Julia Child's birthday in 2012 with my mother-in-law and sister-in-law Lisa, who is always on trend!





Over to you Reds. Do you own or use Julia's Cookbooks? Have you watched the show? What did you think?



81 comments:

  1. Although I haven't seen the show, I do have [and use] a cookbook . . . . Julia was definitely a fascinating person.

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    1. You must watch it Joan--I think the first one is free on YouTube. You like to cook so I bet you'd love this!

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  2. Rhys: I do own Mastering the Art of French Cooking and used recipes back when I gave dinner parties and wanted to be impressive. These days my guests get broiled salmon or roast chicken! She was a fascinating character beginning with her spying during WWII!

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    1. The spy connection is fabulous! What was it she kept in the kitchen drawer to the day she died? Something connected to her spy past.

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    2. I haven't even read about the spying! Your dinner menu sounds perfect for these days Rhys--we'd rather you be writing:)

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    3. I recently read a WWII spy novel in which the main character went through training with Julia Child. It was a realistic use of a historical person in fiction. I'll search for the book and author once the household is awake.

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    4. The book is The Secret Stealers by Jane Healey.

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  3. Got to admit, I've never watched her show or any of the movies or shows about her. Just haven't caught the fever yet, I guess.

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    1. Watch one episode of Julia, just to see if you get hooked:)

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  4. ROBERTA: I own over 130 cookbooks but I don't have any written by Julia Child. Are you surprised? Never watched the original The French Chef. But I do remember watching Julia cooking with her (chef) friends such as Jacques Pepin or Sara Moulton on PBS. She was quite a character.

    And yes, I do plan on watching the JULIA mini series. So far I have just seen episode 1.

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    1. 130 cookbooks! why am I not surprised! I forgot to put the picture of my other Julia books in the post. One is the new children's book about her for our granddaughter.

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    3. ROBERTA: I hope your granddaughter enjoys the new book. And frankly, 130 cookbooks in a collection of over 14,000 books in my personal library, does not seem like much!

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  5. Thanks for those links, Roberta. I'd love to hear or see an interview with Lancashire about playing the part. We are loving the show and I do adore all things Julia. In fact, she and I share share a birthplace - Pasadena, California. The portrait of her and Paul's relationship is so sweet in the show, and they do such a good job of showing her sweet but iron will at times.

    Several of my stand-by no-fail recipes are hers: vinaigrette, of course, her Beef Bourginon...Bourgignon...Bourguignon (got it, third try!), and her food processor pie crust.

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    1. It's funny but I did not much like the Paul character in the show. I warmed up to him by the end. Stanley Tucci was so good and positive, it would have been hard to live up to that

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    2. Stanley Tucci brought such a sexy sweetness to his Paul character, didn't he?

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    3. Agree about Stanley Tucci's portrayal of Paul.

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    4. I so agree about Paul. I've been meaning to re-watch Julie and Julia just for Stanley Tucci.

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  6. I don't own any Julia cookbooks, nor watched any of the shows about her. I did sometimes catch a French Chef back in the day, and I loved Julie and Julia. A friend's uncle was Julia's butcher in Boston. He said she loved to come in to the shop personally, and was always ready to pivot if he didn't have the cut she wanted. By all accounts, a lovely woman.

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    1. Yes, Savenor's. That's also her uncle's last name, but I don't know if they still own the market.

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  7. Yes I’ve watched all the original TV shows and the movie, but I haven’t seen “Julia” yet.

    I have a couple of her cook books including The French Chef. My favorite for a shower or wedding gift was the marvelous How To Cook, no longer in print. It started with boiling water!

    I rarely use a cookbook any more. I cook and serve whatever falls out of the fridge and into the air fryer Nor do I do complicated flambe dishes. My go to is Chef Google, with a trend toward all recipes dot com.

    Still the things I learned from Julia are the basis of my kitchen knowledge. There’s a framed and signed picture of her in her kitchen I hanging in my kitchen.

    Ann

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    1. So funny, Ann. In my kitchen, I have a framed and signed poster of Paul Newman sitting under an umbrella with popcorn falling like rain.

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    2. So funny, both of you! I think I should track down a Julia photo...

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    3. We are binge watching Julia today. And there was a reference to having her picture in the kitchen. So get on this Lucy Roberta!

      Ann

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  8. My mother, who would be 93 if she were alive, had and used both volumes of Mastering the Art of French Cooking for special occasions, so I grew up thinking of that book as essential to a cooking life. When I got married I used some wedding-gift money to buy a (LARGE!) paperback set of of the books in a lovely cardboard box covered with gold fleur de lis. Have I used them? Weeeell. . . about once a year I decide to make something like homemade hollandaise sauce or a very fancy dessert, and I turn to Julia. But compared to how often I grab The Joy of Cooking or Fannie Farmer, it doesn't even count. Still, those two French-cooking volumes make my kitchen feel complete. As for the real Julia, I never saw her cooking show, sadly, but, like Lucy, I thought Meryl Streep and Stanley Tucci were wonderful in the Julie and Julia movie. What I am familiar with--perhaps through radio?--is Julia Child's distinctive voice and accent, which were instantly recognizable.

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    1. What a great story. I think I'd be the same way if I had her two volumes...yes her voice is like no one else's and Sarah nails it in the TV show!

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  9. I do not watch cooking shows. I would watch one if I were somewhere and someone had it on TV. But, even before I lost my desire to watch TV, I did not choose cooking shows. The movie Julie and Julia is terrific and Meryl Streep and Stanley Tucci are wonderful in their roles. Sadly, I do not own any of Julia Child's cookbooks.

    We have wonderful friends with whom we used to make dinner parties until they moved to Florida several years ago. He made Julia's Coc au Vin for us once and he spent 2 days on that chicken that we all ate in a half hour. Devine! Smiling at the memory!!

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    1. I don't have the patience for a two day recipe! There's a quote I remember Diana Abu-Jaber using in her novel Crescent: Chefs know--nothing lasts. In the mouth, then gone.

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  10. In the '70s my then-husband and I made French Onion soup from Julia Child's cookbook, starting with making stock with a soup bone. We took turns slicing the onions, as our eyes rebelled, and even made the bread. Adventures in the kitchen.

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    1. It really was . . . we did some fancy cooking together.

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  11. I loved half of that movie. Such joy. And then I read My Life in France. More joy. Sadly, however, ike so many tempting shows, the new series is on yet another streaming channel I don't have.

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  12. Roberta, you must read Anne Willan's Women in the Kitchen: Twelve Essential Cookbook Writers Who Defined the Way We Eat, from 1661 to Today. Julia Child and her French collaborators are one of the twelve. The book is fascinating, and includes recipes, both the original and adaptations "for the modern kitchen". I listened to the book, so mine didn't include the recipes, but the various histories were so engaging and interesting.

    Like Grace, I have well over 100 cookbooks, but many of them are still in the boxes we moved them in. My go-to choice is usually one of the three versions of Joy of Cooking, the original cookbook that came with my first microwave in 1975, a Betty Crocker, a well thumbed and dog-eared Microwave Gourmet, or my own compiled and curated book of favorites--all in one binder with plastic page protectors.

    Back in the day I was more likely to watch The Galloping Gourmet than Julia Child, maybe because of the time slot of the shows. Graham Kerr was equally entertaining, and made cooking look like so much fun.

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    1. A friend wants to put in a Little Free Library near her driveway, and stock it with just cookbooks. Isn't that a great idea? I want to paint her library for her, with fried eggs, and pans, and whisks, and pizza, a chef's hat, etc.

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    2. KAREN: I also watched The Galloping Gourmet (on reruns). Did you know the show was shot in Ottawa? Yes, Graham Kerr was charming & enjoying his tipple. Remember how he chose a (usually female) guest at the end of each show to dine with him?

      And the cookbook Free Little Library sounds great!

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    3. I did not know that, Grace! And I'd forgotten about the female guest!

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    4. Karen, love the idea of a cookbook Little Free Library, painted as described!

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    5. Graham Kerr was a little too fond of his wine, apparently. He did a later show without any alcohol (I think his wife did an intervention on him and got him to stop drinking) and had great tips of cooking substitutes, like grape juice and tea in coc au vin.

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    6. True, his wife Treena got Kerr to stop drinking and they became born-again Christians. FYI, I did some searching and saw there was a PBS series in 1995 called Cooking in Concert: Julia Child, Jacques Pepin and Graham Kerr. Did anyone see it? Two episodes are online.
      https://www.pbs.org/show/cooking-in-concert/

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    7. No haven't seen that show, and I love the LF Library idea! I will look for the Women in the Kitchen book Karen

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  13. My mom (who really did not like to cook) loved Julia Child's TV show and watched it as often as possible. Julia's final "Bon Appetits" were ingrained in our little brains. I don't think mom had Julia's cookbook, but perhaps she brought it home from the library and decided it wasn't for her. I like to cook, but if a recipe is too complicated, I will only make it once. I watch quite a bit of Food Network. I started with actual cooking shows, but they basically don't exist much any more (or not in prime time). Now the shows are either cooking competitions (Chopped) or travel shows touting restaurants (Watch Guy Eat). Just once I would like to see the host take a bite and say, "That's disgusting." I also have been watching MasterChef España to practice my Spanish and because the judges are way better than Gordon Ramsay and co.Their "pruebas de exteriores" take us to some beautiful places.

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  14. I've been a Julia fan for ages. I never saw any of the French Chef episodes, but later I not only watched her shows, but often tried to recreate recipes she showed us. The corned beef was a fail and I don't know why. The Trifle was wonderful. I own or have owned several of her cookbooks. About 10 years ago I read a very good biography, Dearie. I've only watched one episode of the new series and something felt off, not sure what. Maybe the husband. Not too happy how he was portrayed but maybe things will improve.

    I had to laugh about the character Russ. I remember him from the later years of Crockett's Victory Garden and I think it was his wife who would cook us something wonderful from the garden.

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    1. Judi, I have that book Dearie, but it's in Florida. I will have to remember to read it!

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  15. It's me, another Julia. I don't know what I did to make Blogger mad at me, but she still won't let me sign in via my Google account.
    I don't own any of Julia Child's books and I never have - I'm very much a "simple dinner that the kids like" cook, and honestly, it's not a fun thing for me to do. But I was fascinated to get to see her huge influence on her alma mater ('34) when visiting the Maine Millennial ('14) there. In addition to leaving her papers to the Smith archive, the $2M proceeds from the sale of her Cambridge House were a significant part of building the new Campus Center in the early aughts.

    In addition, Smith has an annual Julia Child Day, with lectures, discussions, and of course, cooking!

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  16. What a fun post, and timely because I'm looking for a new show to binge. I watched Julia's PBS show when I was growing up. When I walked into the Smithsonian exhibit of her kitchen set I was floored - it was tiny! What magic she did in such a cramped space. I'm a take out kind of girl, but I did make her beef bourguignon twice and it is divine! Thanks for putting this on the radar!

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    1. Hank Phillippi RyanMay 28, 2022 at 10:31 AM

      Oh I so agree, beef bourguignon recipe is fantastic

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  17. I own The French Chef Cookbook which my mother gave me when she was no longer using it. When I made Suprêmes de Volaille from it for my boyfriend one night, he proposed to me and that was over 43 years ago. I don't use it often and now not at all but I cannot get rid of it. I also own Mastering the Art of French Cooking but rarely use it but I do use The Way to Cook and think it is terrific.
    My husband and I have enjoyed watching Julia. I grew up watching her on TV as the French Chef.

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    1. What a great story! I captured my hub with a rack of lamb. A good friend helped me make it and I've never made it since...

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  18. Hank Phillippi RyanMay 28, 2022 at 10:30 AM

    Mastering the art of French Cooking was my absolute Bible for years! I absolutely revere it. There has never in the history of the universe been such a fabulous onion soup. (Although it takes about four hours.) I am sure my copies are splattered with tomato and wine and flour, and well they should be. One of the things I thought was marvelous about that otherwise iffy show :-) was how they talked about that Julia was devoted to having the recipes work, every time. And I think that is the triumph of it. Follow the rules, and they work. Absolute genius. I would love to read that book about her life, Lucy, it sounds amazing.

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    1. Wait, Hank. By "iffy show" do you mean Child's PBS show or the new Julia? If the latter - you don't like it?

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    2. Julia's onion soup: Sublime! I still make it. SO GOOD!

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    3. Yes you should read the memoir Hank ! And now I have to make the onion soup too...

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    4. SO good! Warning: It smells really awful until you remember it's onion soup. And it takes a long time. And patience. And a lot of butter. But so good--I even bought special bowls for it. In 1971!

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  19. LUCY: I need to update my computer so that I can get Netflix to watch the new Julia movie. Years ago I saw the Julia and Julie movie with Meryl Streep and Amy Adams. Loved Tucci as Julia's husband. I vaguely remember seeing Julia Child on PBS. Yes, I have one of her cookbooks. I think it's BAKING WITH JULIA ?

    Always fun for me to learn how to bake or cook new recipes.

    Diana

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    1. DIANA: I think the Julia miniseries is on HBO MAX in the US, not Netflix. Canada's broadcast licensing rules are different than the rest of the world so I watched Episode 1 on CRAVE TV streaming service.

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  20. I always liked Julia Child. Loved her on SNL!

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    1. That was Dan Aykroyd--he was hysterical, though it was a very bloody clip

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  21. My Mother was a fan of Julia Child. She owned a copy of The French Chef. She watched the TV show religiously, usually while doing the week's ironing. It made her laugh out loud! Mother loved that Child would seemingly just toss detritus off the counter onto the floor. By far, her favourite episode was the one where Child showed how to butcher some beef. Holding a cleaver high, Child says "Do Not Be Afraid" and whacks the cleaver down. My Mother laughed soooooo hard and "Do not be afraid" became a watchword for her.

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  22. I don't own any of Julia's cookbooks but I was inspired by her show on PBS once to make croissants. They were delicious but twice the size they were supposed to be. Oh well. Me and proportions. I've seen the movie Julie and Julia and enjoyed it. I loved the ease with which Julia worked in the kitchen.
    on her TV show. What a lady!

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    1. so funny about croissants. I haven't been tempted to bake them. Waiting to return to Paris LOL

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  23. This is enough to get me to subscribe to HBO... I own "Mastering the Art" (a wedding present) and "From Julia's Kitchen." Pages that are stained and rippled include recipes for Quiche, Onion Soup and Soupe au Pistou (both of them a ton of work worth every minute), Roast pork, Risotto, Tarte Tatin and Tarte Aux Fraises. There were always steps you could shortcut or leave out, but I usually made them painstakingly to recipe the first time.

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    1. I'm wondering if cookbooks are still considered a good wedding gift? A lot of us still love them...

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  24. Such a fun post, Roberta! We really enjoyed the series--Rick didn't think he'd like it, but he did--in spite of the inaccuracies and the weird casting of Paul. I also read David Lebovitz's post, and was especially fascinated by the link to Sara Franklin's piece about Judith Jones. https://lithub.com/what-julia-hbos-new-julia-child-series-gets-terribly-wrong-about-legendary-editor-judith-jones/ I'll be reading her book when it's published! And now I want to follow all your links--It is very easy to become obsessed with all things Julia. Oh, I adored My Life in France and have a copy in my kitchen. Funnily enough, although we watched The French Chef when I was growing up, I don't think my mother owned Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Nor do I, although I have a wonderful book called Julia Child and Company. My friend who went to culinary recommends this one as her favorite.

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    1. Hank Phillippi RyanMay 28, 2022 at 2:14 PM

      Agreed! That piece about Judith Jones was fascinating!

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    2. Julia Child and Company, on the list. I think the producer and screenwriters felt free to make details fictional

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  25. Hank Phillippi RyanMay 28, 2022 at 2:17 PM

    And I was just remembering that my mother taught me – – is this possible? a cooking secret from reading mastering the art. I think it happened when i was making lasagna one day, can this be? And i’m assembling it like crazy and then I got to the part that said something like – – add the bechamel sauce. And I said to my mom – – Bechamel sauce? How am I supposed to have Bechamel sauce? And mom said: did you read the recipe before you started cooking? Lesson learned.

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    1. too funny Hank--though it must have been a distressing moment!

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  26. She was a fascinating and brilliant woman for sure!
    "Julia Child was placed at multiple stations abroad during her career as an intelligence officer with the OSS, (now the CIA) holding positions in China and India. In 1944, she was sent to work in Kandy, Sri Lanka, where she met her husband, Paul Child, a fellow OSS officer."

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  27. "Julia's Kitchen Wisdom" is a staple in our kitchen. We love how she presents basic recipes then variations -- once you have the standard version down, you can easily figure out how to do so much more! And yes, yes to her Onion Soup and Beouf Bourgignon! I often say my only formal cooking training is watching Julia Child videos!

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  28. Right there with you, Luc!. I loved the recent tv series - terrific acting all around- and loved to watch Julia herself back when, I've read her memoir and other books about her too. Such interesting people. I actually lived in Cambridge around the time she was becoming a local celebrity. She lived a few blocks away - in a much nicer part of town!-and though I never saw her, I knew people who did. (I havea few stories if you'd like them) Plus my husband, years later, worked at RandomHouse/Knopf, and used to bring home the best cookbooks ever, real classics, edited by- yes- the fabulous Judith Jones.

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    1. Oh, we want to hear EVERYTHING!! xx

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    2. I don't know why this came in as "anonymous"! How would you like me to tell my couple of Julia stories? Triss Stein

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