Tomorrow (August 15) is the birthday of the much-revered chef, television personality and cookbook author, Julia Child. What better way to celebrate this iconic food icon than to learn how to cook some of the most popular recipes from her cookbook, The Way to Cook, on what would be her 103nd birthday no less?
Chances are, after watching the movie Julie & Julia, you immediately developed two new lifetime dreams: The first, to start doing something really interesting, launch a blog about it, get really popular, land a movie deal and have someone as darling as Amy Adams star you in the film. The second; learn how to cook.
Now, I’m not calling your bluff just yet. You probably did start a blog but if you’re still going at it, chances are it’s not quite movie-material. But what happened to mastering the art of cooking? It’s been five years and you may (or may not) have fulfilled your lifelong dream just yet.
To help you get started, we’re highlighting the easiest and most popular recipes from the cookbook that you can totally learn to master. From breakfast and side dishes, to must-try desserts, here are the five Julia Child recipes so simple and delicious, you’ll be mad you never tried them sooner.
Salade Niçoise (page 365)
Known for its stellar combination of ingredients, Salade Niçoise has pleased generation after generation. Featuring Boston lettuce, fresh green beans, ripe red tomatoes, oil-packed tuna, French Potato salad, hard-boiled eggs and Niçoise-type olives (to name a few), the dish is a perfect option for lunch or dinner. Julia’s recommendation? It would be such a “cruel shame” to toss all the ingredients in one big bowl. Instead, prepare all the ingredients separately beforehand, and then arrange them in a bountiful, attractive bowl or platter.
Potage Parmentier or, Leek and Potato Soup (page 13)
Popular for its simplicity and of course, delicious taste, this leek and potato soup is a classic for a reason. With only five simple ingredients including sliced leeks, diced potatoes, water, salt, and cream, it’s bound to become one of your go-to recipes.
The Tossed Omelette (page 68)
I like this recipe for many reasons. First of all, it’s simple, second, it’s nutritious, and third, we’re actually instructed to be rough, fast, and just get the job done. Literally anything goes, so there’s no need to worry about it not looking perfect. All you need is two large eggs, water, salt and pepper, and butter for a classic, plain omelet, or opt for one of Julia’s fillings such as fresh herbs, cheese, or potato.
Crepes Fines Sucrèes or All-Purpose Crepe Formula (page 405)
This is the kind of recipe that boasts countless alternatives. Julia’s crepe recipe is one that goes under, around, or on top of many dishes, from entrée to dessert. With six ingredients including flour, milk, water, eggs, salt, and butter, this simple batter can be placed in your freezer, on-hand for any dish when you need it. From chicken and mushroom roulades to fruit-filled, this crepe recipe has endless possibilities, which you’ll have fun with.
Reine de Saba or the Queen of Sheba (page 471)
One look at this cake and we guarantee your mouth will start to water. Featured in the film itself, the Reine de Saba cake includes almonds, butter and of course chocolate. Perfectly moist in the centre, this cake literally melts in your mouth. It only stands about an inch and a half high like most French cakes, making it easy to serve. It may have a few more ingredients than you’re used to (about twelve) but it’s a recipe you have to tackle at least once (we guarantee you won’t be disappointed). Serve it on its own with a light dusting of confectioners sugar, or with Julia’s soft chocolate icing. Or, if you’re like me, both.
Renée Reardin is a lifestyle writer and stylist living in Toronto. To learn more about her, visit www.reneereardin.com, and follow her on Twitter @reneereardin.