How American cooking became a spectator sport, and what we lost along the way. Internet Explorer 9 or earlier. Go to the home page when harry met sally essay see the latest top stories.
Photo Illustration by Erwin Olaf for The New York Times. Location: Bulthaup Showroom, New York. French onion soup gratinée, duck à l’orange, coq au vin, mousse au chocolat. Some of the more ambitious dishes, like the duck or the mousse, were pointed toward weekend company, but my mother would usually test these out on me and my sisters earlier in the week, and a few of the others — including the boeuf bourguignon, which I especially loved — actually made it into heavy weeknight rotation. So whenever people talk about how Julia Child upgraded the culture of food in America, I nod appreciatively. Not that I didn’t also owe Swanson, because we also ate TV dinners, and those were pretty good, too.
On WNET in New York, it came on late in the afternoon, after school, and because we had only one television back then, if Mom wanted to watch her program, you watched it, too. While Julia waited for the butter foam to subside in the sauté pan, you waited, too, precisely as long, listening to Julia’s improvised patter over the hiss of her pan, as she filled the desultory minutes with kitchen tips and lore. It all felt more like life than TV, though Julia’s voice was like nothing I ever heard before or would hear again until Monty Python came to America: vaguely European, breathy and singsongy, and weirdly suggestive of a man doing a falsetto impression of a woman. More articles about the BBC. Julia Child seemed either drunk or demented. More articles about Nora Ephron.