April 5, 2006 in Food

Book recalls younger Julia Child finding her life’s calling

By The Spokesman-Review
 

You can’t help but hear Julia’s distinctive voice in your head as you turn the pages.

In her new book, “My Life in France,” Child shares her memories of finding her life’s calling. It was written near the end of her long life, with the help of her husband’s grandnephew, Alex Prud’homme.

There is wonderful detail in the telling – from the first time she sees France from the porthole of her cabin aboard the SS America, to classes at Le Cordon Bleu and through the difficult work finishing her first book, “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.”

I found myself enjoying it much the way Child urged people to enjoy their meals – slowly savoring Child’s company through her descriptions, stories and humor.

It’s illustrated with fascinating photos of Child in France, at Le Cordon Bleu, and it includes some family snapshots. Many of the photos were taken by her husband Paul Child.

Here is the recipe for Quiche Lorraine and Quiche au Fromage de Gruyere (Swiss Cheese Quiche) from Child’s first work, written with Louisette Bertholle and Simone Beck:

Quiche Lorraine

Classic Quiche Lorraine contains heavy cream eggs and bacon, no cheese. The bacon is usually blanched in simmering water to remove its smoky salty taste, but this step is optional. Diced cooked ham sautéed briefly in butter may replace the bacon.

From “Mastering the Art of French Cooking,” by Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle and Simone Beck

3 to 4 ounces lean bacon (6 to 8 slices, medium thickness)

1 quart water

1 (8-inch) partially cooked pastry shell, placed on a baking sheet

3 eggs or 2 eggs and 2 yolks

1 1/2 to 2 cups whipping cream or half cream and half milk

1/2 teaspoon salt

Pinch of pepper

Pinch of nutmeg

1 to 2 tablespoons butter, cut into pea-size dots

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut bacon into pieces about an inch long and 1/4-inch wide. Simmer for 5 minutes in the water. Rinse in cold water. Dry on paper towels. Brown lightly in a skillet. Press bacon pieces into bottom of pastry shell.

Beat the eggs, cream or cream and milk, and seasonings in a mixing bowl until blended.

Check seasonings. Pour into pastry shell and distribute the butter pieces on top.

Set in upper third of preheated oven and bake for 25 to 35 minutes or until quiche has puffed and browned. Slide quiche onto a hot platter and serve.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Approximate nutrition per serving, based on 6 (with half and half): 319 calories, 23 grams fat (9 grams saturated, 67 percent fat calories), 8 grams protein, 16 grams carbohydrate, 145 milligrams cholesterol, .5 grams dietary fiber, 512 milligrams sodium.

Quiche au Fromage de Gruyere

Follow the preceding recipes, but stir 2 to 4 ounces (1/2 to 1 cup) grated Swiss cheese into the egg and cream mixture. The bacon is usually omitted, and you may use all milk instead of cream.

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