Happy Birthday Julia!

by Mindy Lockard on August 16, 2009

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Julia Child's kitchen in the Smithsonian

I often joke that there are a few culinary milestones that I think are monumental to becoming a domestic goddess

1. Bake a pie with light and flaky crust

2. Perfectly roast a turkey

3. Master the Art of French Cooking.

This last Saturday 10 of our closest friends got together to celebrate the birthday of the late Julia Child and put number 3 to the test.

A little history: the brains behind the soiree came from darling Jen — you remember the one with the cooler — after reading July’s issue of Bon Appetite Magazine’s Happy Birthday Julia menu. Our small dinner group agreed that rather than having Jen cook all of the four courses, we would each take one dish or bring one of the wine parings.

Etiquette note: There are very, very few times it is okay to ask your guests to bring anything.  If they offer, perfect.  If it’s a joint event, great.  Never for a wedding, birthday, or any other party.  It also includes not including registry information but that is for another day, another blog.

In very Jen like fashion she delivered packets several weeks in advance including: the magazine article, recipes copied from Mastering the Art of French Cooking and a review of the movie from Oprah’s magazine.  This information gave all of us the opportunity to select our dish and mentally get into the Julia spirit. Since I like a challenge and to cook with butter and wine I selected Poulet Saute aux Herbes de Provence.

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Here’s how the evening unfolded…

I arrived a bit early as Jen and I agreed it would be best if I prepared the dish at her house.  Jen and Ryan offered a sparkling apple and pomegranate cocktail. In the spirit of Julia who liked to enjoy a spirit while cooking, I gladly accepted!

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Jen put the finishing touches on the table… Love, Love, Love! One of my favorite aspects of her tablescape is that she kept the seating arrangement traditional alternating gender and separated spouses.

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Placesetting

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Menu

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Making the magic happen

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First Course is served: Pissaladiere Nicoise and Bandol Rose

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Entree Course: My baby, Poulet Saute aux Herbes de Provence.

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Sides: Ratatouille and French bread.

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During the Main Course Jen passed around a list of Julia’s quotes and asked us to clip off our favorite and read it.  My quote: Find something you’re passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it. — Julia Child

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Third Course, Palate Cleanser: Green Salad with Sauce Vinaigrette

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Dessert Course: Reome De Saba paired with Banyuls

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Thank you Jen and Ryan for hosting a fabulous evening, and to Ms. Child for inspiring generations to get into the kitchen and Master the Art of French cooking!

{ 1 trackback }

Take to the Table Tuesday: Dinner Party Game Plan
12.14.09 at 9:20 pm

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Lisa 08.17.09 at 5:24 am

You know…one should never read about Julia first thing in the morning, and on an empty stomach!! LOVED IT!!
Beautifully well done.
PS the Ratatouille and French bread just took me over the edge.

Woman with a Whisk/Rebecca 08.18.09 at 6:10 am

What a great idea and a fantastic menu! Thanks for the tips!

Sarah 08.18.09 at 2:40 pm

Oh, my! Your friends are so cute:)

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