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  • Writer's pictureKaren Seiger

Happy 99th Birthday, Julia Child

Julia Child is my inspiration.  She was tirelessly joyful, adventurous, smart, fun, naughty, and caring.  I’d tear up when I’d read about her relationship with her husband Paul, especially towards the end of his life.  There was so much love, respect and admiration between them.

She traveled the world for her work at the start of her career, as did I.  And then she found her passion in food later in life, as I found my writing passion in the markets.  Never before or since has anyone been more herself at all times, whether it was shopping for a bed in Norway, visiting the fish market in Marseille, or filming The French Chef in Cambridge, MA.

I never met her, but I did feel her presence very strongly one cold day in early 2002.  My sister Andrea took me to see Julia’s Cambridge kitchen when it was on display at the Smithsonian Museum of American History.  There was a streaming video of The French Chef, and we caught the dessert segment.  Julia was preparing an Apple Charlotte.  I’d heard of an Apple Charlotte, but I’d never seen or tasted one. Even in black and white, you could see the rich, golden goodness of this sweet, buttery structure as it slid right out of the mold.  Suddenly, Andrea and I were famished.

It was about 3 in the afternoon, and all the kitchens nearby restaurants were closed between lunch and dinner.  We stepped into Jaleo, a tapas bar on 7th Street, and they said we could have some hot coffee and dessert.  We sat and perused the dessert menu.  We were astonished to find Apple Charlotte listed!  It was so incredibly unlikely!  I know Julia had put it there just for us.

So happy birthday, Julia! In my author photo taken for Markets of New York City, what you can’t see is that I’m holding my beat up copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking. [singlepic id=1126 w=320 h=240 float=center]

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