For the past month, we’ve been hosting a contest called Be Like Julie: Cook From Julia, wherein participants blogged about preparing recipes from Julia Child’s iconic cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking. You can see the fantastic entries in the comments section of this post and in the contest’s Flickr pool. I counted 47 entries in all—a splendid showing!
This morning, I assembled a panel of judges to choose a winning entry. I’m not exaggerating when I say it was one of the hardest decisions we’ve made in a long time. We had 8 judges and wound up with a hung jury. Finally, a call to a tie-breaker was made, and we had our winner: Phyllis Grant and her post on Dash and Bella.
Though other entries impressed us with their astounding table settings and party favors, this post won us over with its charm, candor, and warm humor. Also, Phyllis’s take-away lessons are helpful for anyone preparing a recipe from Julia Child’s cookbook, my favorite one being: LESSON FIVE: READ, READ AGAIN AND THEN READ FOR A THIRD TIME EVERY JULIA CHILD RECIPE BEFORE YOU START COOKING. Having just prepared a peach tart from Mastering the Art, I can vouch that things would have gone terribly wrong had I not read all 20 pages of the associated recipes and tutorials several times. Phyllis’s experience is one that I think we can all relate to: crises emerge, some steps are forgotten, and custards will sometimes break. But the important thing is savoring the food and learning something about the intimidating, but inspiring art of French cooking.
For her laudable efforts, Phyllis Grant has won a copy of Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking (a brand-new one with no food stains!), The Way to Cook, Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home, Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom, The French Chef Cookbook, and My Life in France. She’s also won a surfeit of goodies from Williams-Sonoma, including a stunning red 13-qt. Le Creuset Dutch oven. Finally, she gets a gift subscription to Bon Appétit, along with two of their original cookbooks. Phyllis, I hope you’re ready to receive some heavy boxes!
I’d also like to take this time to spotlight some of our runners-up. As I mentioned, picking a winner among so many superb entries was very difficult, and so I cannot bear to sign off on this post without sharing some of our favorites. First off, here’s the other blog that resulted in our hung jury, Julia’s Jaunt à la Harlem.
How far did your jaw drop just now?
It was such a pleasure to read along as Allicette worked her way towards one heck of a dinner party. I wrung my hands as she called butcher shop after butcher shop in search of veal knuckle. I listened along to her dinner party mix CD. My mouth watered at all the homemade bread (oh, delicious bread). In short, Allicette’s dinner party was an achievement, one she can look back on in pride for years to come.
I also want to give a shout-out to one of our crowd pleasers: Nisha Bhat’s post on What Would Julia Do? I think we all split our sides with laughter at Nisha’s Julia Child impersonation; I particularly guffawed at the picture of her gingerly taking a knife to a whole chicken. This is the spirit of Julia Child: one amateur cook tackling on new techniques with gusto!
Together, these trois gourmandes embody everything we love about Julia Child: grace in the kitchen, a flair for presentation, and relentless good humor. Hats off to you, ladies!
I would be remiss if I didn’t point you to three more fantastic entries.
1.) Figments: Check out the beautiful presentation of The Julia Dinner
2.) Pots and Pins: Nan wins the award for #1 Julia Child fan!
3.) Johanna Julie Julia: Cutest entry ever. This blog left us all in puddles. Johanna, I am going to start cutting up onions with goggles on. Thank you for the idea!
And lastly, thanks to all of you for participating in this contest. After reading all of these entries, I can see how Julia Child has empowered us: she’s empowered us to tackle whole chickens and multi-course menus and to reclaim the joy of home cooking. You’ve all been a huge inspiration to me, just as Julia Child may have been an inspiration to you. I raise my water bottle to you (hey, I’m at work): bravo, and bon appétit!