John Callaway interviews chef Julia Child in studio
John Callaway 0:06
Good evening, I'm delighted to have as my guest this evening Julia Child who is an old friend of those of you who watch this station or public television anywhere. Julia Child is on again with a new series, Julia Child and Company, seen here on Channel 11 At five o'clock on Saturday afternoons, and she is also out with a new book by the same title Julia Child and Company. And it is a colorful book. And I think in some respects, at departure from your earlier, French chef books in Life Magazine of 1966, you were quoted as saying, I personally will never do anything but French cooking, there are so many marvelous French recipes, I don't think I'll ever live long enough to do them all. And in a recent interview with the Chicago Tribune, you're quoted as saying, I'm tired of French cooking, it's too limiting. What's happened?
Julia Child 0:52
Well, of course, when I made that first quote, that was 12 years ago, and I've learned 12 12 years or more of cooking, I just decided that I'd like to branch out a little more. Because in French cooking, things are quite traditional. And then you have only such and such that you could serve as such and such, and they'd say, you're an ignorant ignoramus, I've decided that I've had enough of that.
John Callaway 1:16
When did the tiring process start? Maybe you've been tired for years, but haven't been able to do anything about it
Julia Child 1:21
Not tired. But I just felt that I'd like to burst out of that straitjacket into something else, then there's so many other things that I like very much like, corned beef hash, which we have in our book and various things like that. And I just didn't want to be limited by tradition.
John Callaway 1:38
In your essay in in Julia Child and company and your essay on rice. In passing. You mentioned the disagreements that you've had with yourself, you refer to Julia Child, past and Julia Child present. Now, are there some profound disagreements over the years that you've come to terms with?
Julia Child 1:54
Well, I think that, that cooking is a progressive art, because it's a very creative one, and you keep learning the more you cook, the more you learn about things. For instance, I've had a long affair with French puff pastry, Pot Feuillete. And for a long time, I felt that it was almost just too difficult to do with American flour. And then when the instantized flour came out, my colleague Simone Beck and I worked out a recipe that had some oil, as well as butter, and we use the instantized for one raw flour, and that seemed to work fairly well. And then, when we were at the White House doing, I guess it was during the LBJ days, and there was a marvelous French patissiere patissier there, Ferdinand Louvat, and he made some perfectly beautiful Vol Au Vent about that high and that big. And I said to him, Well, what kind of flour did was use? And he said, Oh, I just use American unbleached flour, but I put some cake flour in to lower the gluten content
John Callaway 2:59
It was a great discovery
Julia Child 3:00
A great discovery. And I found it worked perfectly using the classic system. And then about three years ago, I was reading a book by Chef D'Nice. Remember, Craig Claiborne and his $4,000 dinner? In Paris. When he won.
John Callaway 3:16
Some people thought that was wretched excess.
Julia Child 3:19
Oh, I thought that was terribly funny. I don't understand why people were so upset about it. But anyway, Chef D'Nice wrote a very interesting, very personal small cookbook. And in it, he gave a recipe, an idea for a very fast puff pastry. That's, that's well, I'll just try that out. And the idea was of, of breaking the butter into very large lumps about the size of lima beans and then mixing the whole thing together. And if you ever made puff pastry, well, it's a fantastic thing that makes Vol Au Vent and Patachue and you have a thin thing of dough like this. And it is hundreds of layers of pastry dough separated by hundreds of layers of butter 729 to be exact. And when you bake it in the oven, it rises because the butter cooks between each one of those little pastry layers and it just rises up like that. And in the classical method, you make a flour and butter of flour and water paste big cake of dough and then you put butter in the middle of it. Then you fold that over and you roll it out and the butter rolls out along with the dough and for long rectangle then you fold it in three. Then you roll it out again and every time you're rolling it out. You're crippling the layers. But because the flour gets activated because the gluten gets angry, refuses to be rolled, you have to rest it and it takes about four hours from the first time from when you mix it to the time you make it because of the resting. But with this new system, you start right out and you have mixed it all up in these big pieces of butter and you have to looks like a mess, you press it out into a rectangle. And then you have to have something like something to make it fold over and it just looks like a terrible mess. But then you're rolling out again and after about three rolls and folds and turns into a dough. And you can do four of these rolls. And then you have to wait for about 40 minutes, and then you can finish it off. So within about an hour, rather than three or four hours, you can have your puff pastry, and it's just as good if not better. Now, that's a fascinating discovery
John Callaway 5:31
A discovery. It's a process you've been involved in
Julia Child 5:34
25 years to evolve to this.
John Callaway 5:37
It sounds in some respects almost more like a science than an art.
Julia Child 5:44
Well, it's both it's both an art and a science. Because you have to have the science to figure out how to make things work. And then the the art is in the taste and the arrangement.
John Callaway 5:55
If good cooking really can be described as great art. Why isn't it? Why isn't a dealt that way? Well, by the unit by the universities, by the great universities, why don't we include it?
Julia Child 6:08
well, that we don't we don't still take it seriously enough. And I don't think even in France it's not created in the universities. However, there are a number of people who've gone into the history of gastronomy. There's a Barbara Wheaton in in Cambridge mass who's who is a gastronomic historian. And there's a Lorna Sass who's in in New York and has done some work for the Metropolitan Museum. So that people are beginning to realize that it is an art with with the history and a tremendous volume of literature connected with it.
John Callaway 6:42
I think people will be interested to know about some of the things that you do in in Julia Child and company in this book, for example, just a little footnote, but it may, it may surprise some people. You include, I think instant mashed potatoes in one of the recipes that you have what fora muffin.
Julia Child 7:01
For English muffins
John Callaway 7:02
English muffins, a great recipe I think, by the way, I want to try this.
Julia Child 7:05
Well. They're fun to do. Well, this is but not I started doing English muffin research, I ran into a recipe. Diana Kennedy who was a very able Mexican Cook, and she well I think her last book was the tortilla cookbook and the first one was the cuisines of Mexico. But she's English when she was doing work on English muffins and she sent me a draft recipe of hers and so I used her idea of the potato in the muffin just because I liked it. It seemed esoteric, but rather than because you only need about four tablespoons of it, I decided would be why not use instant mashed rather than a whole potato, which you could use either one
John Callaway 7:47
Julia Child, I want to go back just for one more aspect of Julia Child past and Julia Child present in a New York Times Magazine profile in 1966. You were quoted as follows. I think the role of a woman is to be married to a nice man and enjoy her home. She must have something outside to keep her conversation going and herself alert. But I can't think of anything nicer than homemaking. Do you stand by that?
Julia Child 8:11
Yes. Because I'm I'm a homemaker as well as a as a as a cook, and TV cook and a teacher.
John Callaway 8:19
but millions of women have entered the labor market since you wrote those words. I wondered if that reality in the Women's Liberation Movement had had caused any adaptation by you and your sensibility to their needs?
Julia Child 8:31
Well, I'm a working woman myself, I'm sure working day stops at around seven. When the news goes on, I start dinner. And we always eat very well. And I think the making of a home is, to me one of the most important things in the world. I just love living with my husband. And I can't imagine not having a happy home with him.
John Callaway 8:55
But that means then if you want to deal with some of the plans and proposals that you have here, you've got to be if you're working, you've got to be quite a planner, do you not?
Julia Child 9:03
Oh, I think you have to be really interested in in, what you're going to do is entertaining, if you're going to entertain and plan ahead because there's so many things that you can do ahead. And in all of my recipes, that tells you where you can prepare ahead and stop even a day or a day or two ahead. In one program. We have a buffet for 19 I think that's already been shown here, which has a wonderful recipe called Turkey Orloff in which we use turkey breast and then you make a wonderful stuffing with mushrooms and onions. You can get that done the day ahead of time ready to ready for the oven.
John Callaway 9:40
Tell our viewers about the wonderful breakfast party that you have in you book
Julia Child 9:44
Oh well, That's the one that has the corned beef hash in it and just as if it was, well I think what's fun about this, the whole program is that it's very joint effort. We have five volunteer cooks whom we call associate cooks and I was I wanted to really make the very best corned beef hash possible. So with all of us everybody in the television studio, we discussed corned beef hash and how to make it, how to get that crust and so forth. And so the end is I really think a perfect corned beef hash. It works just as well with corned beef from a can as homemade
John Callaway 10:20
eggs benedict with homemade English muffins, you know, three ways of poaching eggs corned beef, hash sauteed, chicken livers, sour cream and bread crumb, Flapjack scrapple, homemade sausage cakes, fresh fruit milk, fruit juices, and bloody marys.
Julia Child 10:35
What could be better?
John Callaway 10:36
Oh, God, splendid.
Julia Child 10:38
Trouble is people will never leave home.
John Callaway 10:41
They won't leave, they won't, they won't, they won't get out of them. You have also an essay on fish. And there and tell our viewers about some of the ways that they can tell whether or not the fish that they're getting. And much of it of necessity, you say has to be frozen? How can they tell if it's good?
Julia Child 10:56
Smell it. I think this terribly important, I think your nose is the most important indicator of how the fishes and what you do, if they will never let you smell it in the market. And this, it's just a regular fish market. You pay for it. And then you open up the package and smell it. And if it doesn't smell good and fresh, just say to him here. What kind of fish is that? Because I think we all have to make a big to do about having very fresh fish.
John Callaway 11:25
And you talk about the difference between frozen fish and I think you use the term flash frozen fish.
Julia Child 11:32
Yeah, well, the flesh frozen I think is the way most of the fishes frozen knows where it has a kind of a water covering. And then it goes through a very, very cold breath that that turns the covering into a sheet of ice. And that seems to be one of the best ways of doing it.
John Callaway 11:50
Why when you have your recipe for raw oysters, do you not include a cocktail sauce with it?
Julia Child 11:57
Well, I just don't happen to like a cocktail sauce, not just include in there what I like and which I like just plain lemon and maybe some grown to fresh pepper.
John Callaway 12:05
You thinks a cocktail sauce tends to maybe just kind of overwhelme the flavor of an oyster? =
Julia Child 12:10
Though I think some oysters don't have very much flavor. I've never been a great lover of bluepoints. I think I like the very rich sea bottom-y flavor of cutuit and some of the other oysters I think that have more flavor.
John Callaway 12:12
You have a program and you have a section in the book which talks about or which will show why cocktail parties don't have to be the boozy old things that they used to be
Julia Child 12:34
And this one is called Kitchen cocktail party, where if you have a nice big kitchen, you can arrange that with all the food there that people can wander in and serve themselves and then wander out around the rest of the house. And we have a wonderful recipe for dill salmon. And because salmon is so expensive, we also use other fish such as blue fish and sea bass, which you can cure in exactly the same way. And it's very, very good too
John Callaway 13:03
are you with two minds about privacy in the kitchen. I know from time to time on your show, when you've made a mistake. You've looked into the camera and said it's all right, you can do the same thing because you're in the kitchen alone. And yet you seem to like to cook in the kitchen and have people in also
Julia Child 13:16
Which I do. I think that when you're when you've cooked a lot to get quite used to things not going well. And you can ask someone who's there to help you or hold the pan or we were on the Phil Donahue show. And I was doing an aioli which was a garlic sauce. And we were talking so much I poured the oil in too fast and the sauce didn't take, which I was very glad that it didn't because then I could show how you can fix a curd aioli which is just as like a mayonnaise. And he was very nice. He held the bowl and we did some more and it came back again the way it should have.
John Callaway 13:50
But if you're a person and you're in somebody else's home and they want you I mean my aunt's would always say sure get out of the kitchen. Leave me alone. That's That's okay, isn't it? That's their prerogative.
Julia Child 13:59
Sure, I think people should do exactly what they like I haven't. I don't like to be shut away. In the kitchen away from everyone. I like to be part of the party myself.
John Callaway 14:08
Julia Child, what was the philosophy in this series? Why did you decide to do? What is it? It's 13 major proposals for parties and for company.
Julia Child 14:19
We've never done a manual book before. And I think if people like to know what goes with what because a dish is not in limbo somewhere. It's like we have one program called Dinner for the boss with a great big, expensive roast beef and the point of that is if you're going to spend all that money you better know what you're buying and how to cook it. And then what what goes with a roast beef and you're having a very conservative couple for dinner. What should you begin with and and then exactly how do you cook the roast beef and then what do you serve with it? And what do you end up with dessert and I think I think it's very useful for people to see that of course in 28 and a half minutes, which we have just as you do, if we can't show more than two or three dishes
John Callaway 15:06
so how do you handle that situation?
Julia Child 15:07
So while at the end, we come around and you see the two or three dishes I've made. And then you see the rest of the main on the camera lingers on a beautiful soup, and pita toast triangles, and then you see the meat and the vegetables, and then the dessert and the wine so that you see the ensemble. And then what's awfully good, I think, because this is the first time we've ever had a book in a television show together, you'd like to know how to make that beautiful potato salad that you saw. So it's in the book. So everything that you see on the television, and also a lot of alternatives are in the book. So it's very useful. I'm delighted
John Callaway 15:44
The fact that you've done in the color photography in this book is really outstanding and it works. I don't mean it's just fancy, but it's functional, you can see this food, but the fact that you took that care after these programs meant a significant change in the enjoyment of the food afterwards on your old shows you the crew, and you used to be able to sit around and eat and that wasn't the case always with this,
Julia Child 16:05
No because in many instances, the food had to be photographed. So we in the crew weren't able to eat it until after was photographed and they'd gone home by that time. At least it was a real hassle. Getting the book done with the programs at the same time because it had to go along concurrently. When we had finished one program that was one chapter. And that had to be already by the time we were all already doing the next program. So I think they've done an awfully good job. Another teamwork thing, our young photographer was just very, very good. And then the the people who did the layout
John Callaway 16:43
You take an hour sometimes to get one sole in a graphic shot and get it right.
Julia Child 16:49
What color photography is awfuly difficult. And even with all that care, sometimes you wish, oh, I wish to be gotten this or this or that and it but it's a it's a long, interesting and difficult process.
John Callaway 17:00
I was telling you before the program that in preparation for me to go in for this conversation that I've done some reading on the history of eating and the history of cooking and there's some interesting fascinating things for example, in I don't know what was the 16th century but they the French kings really had a problem in getting a hot meal finally up there because by the time they paraded the food from from the kitchens which were apparently located a long, long way from the palace. And everybody looked at it and they had the trumpets and so on and so forth. It was cold I mean they had the same problem that you had with your still photography. Do you get a bang out of the history of food? Would you enjoy reading about it?
Julia Child 17:37
Oh, it's just fascinating, I think particularly how how it evolved from those old days up to the present. They were going to give me a quote about
John Callaway 17:46
Yes, I thought our viewers might be interested in the Toulouse Lautrec book The Art of cuisine, saint on a grill with the help of the Vatican try to procure yourself a real saint, treat him as St. Lawrence was treated on August 10th AD 258. When you have whipped him lay him over the grill over a big bit of charcoal and like his predecessor, if he's a real saint, he himself will ask to be turned over in order to be grilled to a turn on both sides.
Julia Child 18:15
That's A likely story.
John Callaway 18:18
And then I told you I learned that Voltaire drank 50 cups of coffee a day. fascinating history
Julia Child 18:25
Balzac drank a great deal of coffee too. Maybe that hastened his death, because he would work all night in his big sort of monk's robe, just brewing and drinking that's drawing friends coffee all the time.
John Callaway 18:38
Where do you think we are in 1978? In the history of cooking, and eating?
Julia Child 18:47
Well, certainly I think in America, we were we've made great strides in cooking and an interest in cooking, don't you? although, I mean, you can say, maybe it's 20 million people are interested, but that's an awful lot of people.
John Callaway 19:02
But at the same time, you see the development of all the fast food industry and people rushing through their life.
Julia Child 19:08
How many people I mean, even if you have 20 million people who are just doing home cooking, that's a great many. And it'll be interesting to see what happens to with all the conveniences we have with microwave ovens in the food processor.
John Callaway 19:22
Now you when you embrace some of those conveniences I know you embrace the processor. What about the microwave oven.
Julia Child 19:29
Well I'm not going I used it quite a bit when I first got it. And I find it very useful, most different defrosting, but I haven't gone into cooking with it very much.
John Callaway 19:38
And you also use your freezer. That's something that comes through this book. Oh, give us your freeze.
Julia Child 19:43
Oh well, you must. And my point is to make cooking easy for people so that they can enjoy it and do it rather than making it a kind of art for the We Happy Few which is it should be an is I think everybody's pleasure. It's a civilized art. Don't you agree?
John Callaway 20:03
Oh, yes, no, but I hear you use the phrase of the term food snob. What do you mean by food snob or cooking snob.
Julia Child 20:10
I think they're the kind of people that will refuse to go to McDonald's or won't use a canned ham or won't use a garlic press are that they have a very precious and snobbish and special and we happy few attitude about things
John Callaway 20:27
is a part of that also nutrition consciousness, which is developed and they're afraid, perhaps of what they've heard about chemicals and food.
Julia Child 20:33
I think they're just snobs are snobs, just like wine snobs or other kinds. And then I think you do have people who are so concerned with, with nutrition that food is a medicine to them. And that, I think most people can never really treat food as a, as an art or as a gastronomy as an art because there to them. It's a medicine and they're, they're very often afraid of their food. And I think people who are afraid of their food are probably going to an early demise.
John Callaway 21:05
Do you like to grow vegetables?
Julia Child 21:08
No, i'm not a gardener
John Callaway 21:09
you're not getting into garden. Oh, have you ever gone hunting or fishing?
Julia Child 21:12
Yes. I love that.
John Callaway 21:13
Do you do much fishing?
Julia Child 21:15
Not nearly as much as I'd like. I just love it though
John Callaway 21:18
If someone were to if you were circumstance were to leave you deposited in a wilderness someplace or an island? Do you think you could get your own fire started and get your own meals prepared under those horrible circumstances?
Julia Child 21:32
Well, I'd hope to not I will, I will eat most anything. If it was an island and there were lots of shellfish around and wild berries and things. I've never have gone into it, though very much of you, like the way you Euell Gibbons eating of pokeweed and all kinds of nourishing things. Well, I think you're trapped to try anything. If you're in a situation like that.
John Callaway 21:54
Tell our viewers some of the things that you found out about tomatoes. I've I for one didn't know you weren't supposed to leave an unripened tomato in the sun. I've been leaving them in the sun.
Julia Child 22:05
Well, I understand that ripens them too much. But one thing is, I think it's very difficult for the grocery store to handle them because they're so perishable. And if they ripen too fast, then they rot. And I think the whole business of fresh vegetables in the grocery store is a very difficult one. There is a very good service for people called the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Association, which is stationed in Washington. And anyone who runs a grocery store should certainly subscribe to it because they have pamphlets on every vegetable and fruit that you can think of. and a very large and detailed one up tomato, I say tomato rather, tomato, maybe I say tomato because of the French les tomates. But one thing is any I think any gardener knows that a tomato, you can pick it before it's ripe, and then leave it in the kitchen and it will gradually ripen. But as soon as you put it in the refrigerator, it stops maturing and growing. It may it may redden but it will never get its flavor. So once you've never keep a tomato in the refrigerator, if it stays more than about a day or so at below 55 degrees, you've killed its flavor, flavor developing processes.
John Callaway 23:24
You certainly have I don't I can testify to that. Do you have? Do you have any desire to own and run a restaurant?
Julia Child 23:32
No, I know too much about it.
John Callaway 23:35
I know that that prevent you from wanting to do it.
Julia Child 23:38
Well that it's an absolutely seven day 25 hour A day 25 hour day eight day week is what it is in a restaurant if you're on a really run a good one. I think you have to be there all the time. And are the you are tremendously well trained person has to do with the buying And if you want to do it well, I think it's a complete life and you don't have much of anything else.
John Callaway 24:02
Do you think it's possible to have good cafeteria food or is that a contradictory term?
Julia Child 24:09
The important thing is to have somebody who knows what they're doing. I was thinking we were talking about the White House. And the chef there, Henry Heller, who came in during the mid mid part of LBJ 10 years and is still there now knows exactly what he's doing. And he has a very small kitchen in very difficult service problems, but he knows exactly what the serve and you will be delighted yourself to serve a dinner for six that he has served for 260.
John Callaway 24:37
But what what is going on there that makes it good. Are there simple limitations to what you can do under those circumstances.
Julia Child 24:43
He knows what he's doing. Of course he he has an adequate budget which helps. But I think you have to. If you're going to serve cafeteria food, you have to know what you can do that you can prepare ahead and what will keep nicely or if you're going to have green vegetables, how you handle them. It should be, it should be perfectly possible. We were, as a matter of fact, we came back from Europe on Le France a long time ago. And we came tourist class and they had about 800 that they were serving in each city and it was extremely good food, but they knew exactly what they were doing.
John Callaway 25:21
Are there any foods that you don't like?
Julia Child 25:24
I don't like things that are not fresh and not well prepared and cooked by someone who doesn't know what they're doing.
John Callaway 25:31
But I mean, you don't have anything like for example, I have a problem with raisins. I just
Julia Child 25:35
Oh, you just don't like raisins
John Callaway 25:36
I just don't like raisins. And I have a problem with cooked carrots. Just pure cooked carrots unless they are in a stool or something like that? Do you have any of those at all?
Julia Child 25:44
No, I don't think so.
John Callaway 25:46
Do you agree with Clifton Fadiman.
Julia Child 25:47
I just thought it's like good food properly prepared. And I'll eat almost anything that comes under those categories.
John Callaway 25:55
A good hot dog. Good sauerkraut. whatever
Julia Child 25:57
I love a good hotdog, yeah, good hamburger or good. tuna fish sandwich. Anything that's well done. I'll eat
John Callaway 26:03
Clifton Fadiman, in an introduction to one of the food books I was reading said that a well developed palate tongue really could not possibly occur before the age of 30. That we all went through this, I don't like the cooked carrots mommy sort of thing. And it really takes till you're 30 any truth to that, in your opinion? Or is that food snobbery?
Julia Child 26:22
No, there might be, I just haven't. I don't know about that. But I do know that if you're a parent, you can certainly help a great deal in developing your children's pallets of really serving good, carefully prepared food yourself and then discussing it so that the children know what you're talking about and making a really an event of things. They may go through a hot dog finger food period. But if I know with my nieces and nephews who have been brought up with very good food, they're all good cooks and they like food. That's just because they were brought up that way.
John Callaway 26:57
And you've written the children can and should be introduced into the kitchens early
Julia Child 27:02
I think it's terribly important for children, because they they can get a great deal of ego satisfaction out of doing something that turns out well like baking a cake or making a stew and everybody eats it and loves it and says Charlie, that's so good. That he he has a feeling that he's created something in this set of success, which is very important in the bringing up of children
John Callaway 27:25
in the less than one minute that we have left. Are there any cooking problems, that you're working on things you haven't surmounted yet?
Julia Child 27:35
Heavens, well, I'm, I'm always thinking of new things to do. I'm probably going to do a study of couscous. And I might even do cheesecake. We're probably gonna do another 13 programs. There's all kinds of things. It's an endless thing. Well, as I said about the French cooking, if they have 200 ways to make potatoes, I wouldn't have only done 100 of them maybe.
John Callaway 27:58
And I thank you very much for being with my guest Julia Child, whose new book and new television series which is here on Channel 11. At five o'clock on Saturday afternoons is entitled Julia Child and company. I'm John Callaway Good night.
Keywords: julia child
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