Julia Child, an American treasure who we have written about many times before, would have turned 100 years old today. Her breakthrough cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, permanently changed how we thought and felt about food. There is perhaps no better way to celebrate her life than to jump in to the kitchen and cook for yourself. As part of the celebration, we turned to some of the biggest names in cooking and asked them:
What dish would you cook to honor Julia today?
Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa:
That’s easy! Her classic chocolate mousse. Julia Child taught an entire generation how to cook – and she had such fun doing it on TV! I will be forever in her debt.
Sara Moulton, chef, cookbook author and television host:
Salade nicoise. I can just hear her saying it with the emphasis on the salade. I’ll make it with canned tuna, yes canned tuna in olive oil, green beans, Julia’s French potato salad, Nicoise olives, ripe summer tomatoes, and involves hard boiled eggs. I will serve it with champagne, a Julia favorite.
Paul Qui, ”Top Chef: Season 9″ winner and executive chef of Uchiko
We just bought a new Coq au Vin style pan by Staub and I love to use it! Braised chicken dishes are just very comforting to me.
Lidia Bastianich, best-selling cookbook author and PBS host:
As Julia was a dear friend of mine, and we cooked together many times in my and Julia’s kitchen alike, I would cook the Sole Meuniere, as it found on French and Italian menus alike.
Patricia Jinich, host of PBS’ “Pati’s Mexican Table“:
One of my favorite recipes from Julia Child, is her French Onion Soup. It symbolizes, and tastes, so much of what Julia Child was able to bring to all of us: the taste, technique and history of another continent’s cuisine and deep down honest, food that can be anyone’s comfort food. And she made it all brilliantly and deliciously accessible.
Amanda Hesser, founder of Food 52 and New York Times food columnist:
Everyone thinks of the recipes in MTAOFC as elaborate affairs but one of my favorite recipes in the book is the very simple Pommes de Terre Sautees (Potatoes Sauteed in Butter). It’s the kind of recipe you think you don’t need a recipe for, but Julia’s method is specific and detailed. She has you use baby potatoes. Make sure you tediously peel them as she instructs you to do. Also, she calls for clarified butter, and don’t take the lazy route, or the potatoes will burn. Julia knew what she was doing. Then you simply brown the potatoes in the butter, season them, and then cover them to cook through. At the end, she has you toss in chopped herbs and some more butter — a signature Julia move. She reminds you to have a hot vegetable dish ready for serving, because if you use a room temperature one, the butter cools on its way to the table. You’ll never saute potatoes any other way.
Ris Lacoste, Chef/Owner, RIS
I would cook Beef Wellington with a delicious red wine sauce.
Rayna Green, curator of Julia’s kitchen at the National Museum of American History:
“Because Julia liked a big piece of meat I would make for her a great, slow-cooked Texas BBQ in her Big Green Egg.”
Sarah Rich, blogger at Smithsonian.com’s Design Decoded, co-founder of the Food Print Project and author of a new book on urban farms:
Very hard question I’d probably answer differently at different times of the day. Right now, I’d say Tarte aux Poires.
To honor Julia, tell us what dish YOU are cooking today below. In the meantime, watch her prepare Crepe Suzette:
Additional reporting conducted by K. Annabelle Smith and Brian Wolly