There are a lot of things to love about Julia Child, the always cheery, no-fuss cookbook author and star of The French Chef on public television.
She loved butter, and, as Vogue characterized it, made French cooking approachable. She broke barriers as one of the first women to have her own cooking show. And she made cooking fun without taking it too seriously.
And though she may have made hosting a multi-course French meal easy, her recipes aren’t necessarily known for their speediness and ease.
There were a few exceptions, however.
How prescient she really proved to be, now that we know, according to The Washington Post and other sources, that MSG isn’t really that bad for you.
Child’s public persona definitely involved a penchant for whole goose, coq au vin, and complicated sauces. But, true to her private lack of preciousness about food, she scrapped the fussy recipes once a year — at least for an appetizer.
According to Fast Company, Child put out Goldfish — the crackers, not the fish — each year for her Thanksgiving dinner, as an accompaniment to her “reverse martinis,” or upside down martinis, which were mostly vermouth with a little less gin than the traditional drink. How good does a cheesy cracker and a strong drink sound before a Thanksgiving feast?
So this holiday, consider honoring Julia with a socially distanced small gathering, complete with some of her favorites. Consider the current restrictions a chance to try out something new without the pressure of a crowd, like her recommended Petits Choux au Fromage, a.k.a. Cheese puffs; Brussels sprouts braised in butter; cornbread; sage and sausage stuffing; and an easy-peasy appetizer of, yes, Goldfish crackers.
Serving Goldfish crackers as an appetizer wasn’t the only odd tradition Julia Child made part of her Thanksgiving plans. She also ran a sort of unofficial turkey hotline. Back in the 1970s and ’80s, Child was at the height of her fame, but the chef never let that notoriety go to her head. She even refused to unlist her home phone number from the phone book.
Child embraced this role of unofficial Thanksgiving hotline operator, with Julian stating that she would often hear the chef reassuring the frantic callers regardless of what their mistake seemed to be.
A few decades before that, in the 1950s, Child and her husband Paul lived in France, and while they still celebrated Thanksgiving, they put a decidedly French spin on the holiday. Their great-nephew, Alex Prud’homme, told The New York Times that back then, turkey wasn’t really eaten in France.
After returning to the U.S., Child may have gone back to more traditional Thanksgiving fare, but she was clearly still willing to experiment. The chef shared recipes for things like over-stuffed turkey sandwiches, rutabaga gratin with garlic and ginger, and even suggested that people top vanilla ice cream with a mincemeat-filled fruit sauce.
Keep watching to see The Surprising Thing Julia Child Always Served At Thanksgiving.
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