The Frugal Café | Photo credit: Rebecca Anne, "Flora's Cup"</a> | Creative Commons License, Flickr.com
Photo credit: Rebecca Anne, "Flora's Cup" | Creative Commons License, Flickr.com

Frugal Café Philosophy
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Classic Television Cooking Clips: The Incomparable Julia Child

By Vicki McClure Davidson

Julia Child always considered herself a cooking teacher, never a chef, and while she enjoyed the spotlight, she never took her international celebrity too seriously. She also never considered herself the American icon she quickly became in the 1960s. Her fame has barely diminished through 40 years. Her natural, relaxed style and her successful model for a cooking instruction TV program have been imitated for decades, most recently on the Food Network Channel on cable.

The incomparable Julia Child on the set of her cooking show

During her career on TV as the most acclaimed chef to grace the airwaves, Julia always maintained her sense of humor, her down-to-earth appreciation for her audience, and her unbridled passion for cooking. Her remarkable, detailed cookbooks became best-sellers. She blazed a culinary trail for generations of younger chefs and American homemakers.

And, Julia was TALL. Six feet tall.

While not concerned necessarily about being frugal and spending less on ingredients (authentic French cuisine is not inexpensive), Julia gave valuable information to her viewers that helped them save time, frustration, and stress in the kitchen and at the grocery store. Saving time and frustration was worth far more than saving a few dollars. She celebrated food and eating and brought a joy, a passion to the small screen of television that had not before been seen. And she loved butter! As Julia once said, "Butter and cream can be reduced, but then the dish would not be worth eating."

Julia demystified French cooking. Her cooking techniques were, and still are, timeless and enlightening. Julia passed away in 2004 at the age of 91.

 

Julia Child's kitchen, meticulously recreated at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History. You can see two of her flame-red Descoware pieces on her beloved Descoware stove. | Photo credit: Patricia Labun

Julia Child's kitchen, meticulously recreated at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History. You can see two of her flame-red Descoware pieces on her beloved Descoware stove. | Photo credit: Patricia Labun

 

Thanks to the cyber-marvels of streaming video websites such as Videodetective.com, YouTube.com, and DailyMotion.com, we can still enjoy and learn from Julia Child's cooking programs, as shown in the embedded video clips below (these were half-hour shows, which have been abbreviated here). Many of her TV cooking shows are now available on DVD.

To read more about her extraordinary life, PBS has Julia's biography available online. Bon appetit!

 

Video embeds provided here for review/educational purposes only. All copyrights honored and attributed to producers.

 


 

Julia Child, The French Chef

Original PBS series broadcast a total of 199 half-hour programs, produced between 1962 and 1966. After a four-year hiatus, The French Chef returned to television and began airing in color. The show continued until 1973.

Program's Title: "Cooking a Goose"

Synopsis: Beginning of The French Chef program; in this brief clip, Julia explains how to identify a young goose and the proper size of goose to buy.

Running Time of Clip: 1:30
Black and white.

 

 

Julia Child, The French Chef

Program's Title: "The Omelette Show"

Synopsis: In-depth lesson from Julia on how to make the perfect French omelette. This is a lengthy clip of the original show.

Running Time of Clip: 6:47
Color.

 

Julia Child, Julia Child and Company

Program's Title: "Chafing Dish Dinner" (1978)

Synopsis: Preparation of a chafing dish dinner; Julia's menu includes Steak Diane, Serviche of Scallops with Fresh Artichoke Bottoms, Mashed Potatoes, Fresh Peas, Chocolate Mousse Dessert Cake. This is a lengthy clip of the original show.

Running Time of Clip: 9:54
Color.

 

Julia Child, The French Chef

Program's Title: "To Roast a Chicken" (1978)

Synopsis: In-depth lesson on the buying and cooking of a variety of whole chickens; this is a short clip of the show.

Running Time of Clip: 1:39
Color.

 

Julia Child and Jacques Pépin, Julia & Jacques Cooking at Home (2000)

This was the last culinary TV series to star Julia Child. Teaming up with Julia for these 22 programs was acclaimed French chef Jacques Pépin. They both won an Emmy for hosting the show.

Program's Title: "Our Favorite Sandwiches"

Synopsis: Chefs Julia and Jacques banter as they prepare a classic Provencale sandwich: Pain Bagnat. When tasting the finished sandwich, Julia pursuades Jacques to drink a glass of beer with her at the end of the clip.

Running Time of Clip: 4:11
Color.

Selection of Jacques Pépin Cookbooks

 

 

Julia Child and Jacques Pépin, Julia & Jacques Cooking at Home - Series Highlights (2000)

This is another clip of the last culinary TV series to star Julia Child. Teaming up with Julia for these 22 programs was acclaimed French chef Jacques Pépin.

Program's Title: "Show Highlights - 10th Anniversary Edition"

Synopsis: Chefs Julia and Jacques banter as they prepare a soufflé, a whole chicken, and more in this video montage clip. Per Julia, chiding Jacques: "We don't care about nutrients... we care about TASTE." Oh, Julia, you crack us up! And that gun in the kitchen was just plain weird. Fun video clip collection.

Running Time of Clip: 4:20
Color.

 

Video Tribute: For the Love of Julia ... And All Things Julia Child

Synopsis: Charming photo montage of Julia Child, created as a tribute to the woman who revolutionized cooking on television.

Running Time of Clip: 2:02
Color and black and white.

 

 

American Masters: Julia Child! America's Favorite Chef (2004)

Filled with archive footage and interviews with family and colleagues, this documentary video clip traces Julia Child's life as a child in California, her time overseas with the SSO during WWII, meeting her husband and best friend Paul Child, graduating from the Cordon Bleu culinary school in France, and how she ultimately became America's first celebrity TV chef. This video is a brief clip from the documentary, which includes a few seconds of SNL's Dan Aykroyd and his 1970's classic impersonation spoof of Julia.

Running Time of Clip: 1:39
B/W & Color.

 

 

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