Throwback Thursday: Happy (Almost!) Birthday, Julia Child!

James Beard and Julia Child

 

Tomorrow, Friday, August 15, would have been culinary icon (and James Beard's dear friend) Julia Child's 102nd birthday. To mark the occasion, we're sharing the cover of the Summer/Fall 1998 issue of Beard House magazine—which happened to be the "Culinary Education Issue"—featuring the duo. After Beard's death in 1985, it was Julia Child who came up with the idea to preserve his townhouse in New York City. "We need such a place as the Beard House in New York, where we can meet and commune and dine and celebrate—and where we can honor our generous patron saint, James A. Beard," she said. For her brilliant idea to preserve her friend and mentor's home, and for her indelible mark on the American culinary landscape, we're grateful to the late chef, author, and television personality. Happy birthday, Julia! 

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Throwback Thursday: James Beard on American Cooking

James Beard

 

In the age of ramen burgers, molecular gastronomy, and other innovations and trends, it can be easy to forget the roots of true American cuisine. As we've prepared for James Beard Foundation's Taste America®, our cross-country food tour celebrating this country's long-standing regional traditions, we dug up this essay from our patron saint's 1982 collection, The Armchair James Beard. Throughout his strikingly evergreen observations (save for calling garlic "very new and chic"), Beard reminds us where American cooking began, and the changes it has endured. It's brimming with his characteristic insight, wit, and charm. And, of course, there's a recipe.

 

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"American" Cooking

(from The Armchair James Beard)

 

People are trying very hard to make American cooking as phony as nouvelle cuisine sometimes... Read more >

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Throwback Thursday: Dining with James Beard in His Own Words

James Beard

 

In a 1955 letter to his friend and frequent correspondent, Helen Evans Brown, James Beard describes a day in the life of a legendary gourmand. He depicts lavish dinner parties, complete with foie gras and Champagne; days spent cooking with friends; an ambitious use of butter; and a simple meal for one. He demonstrates his fondness for food, appreciation of friends, aptitude for entertaining, and his charming wit—all the qualities he was most loved for. Below, his letter, which was printed in our Winter 1997 issue of Beard House magazine: 

 

Dearest Helen, 

 

I had dinner for the Gottliebs, the Sam Aarons, and Jeanne Stahl of Life magazine last night. Bill Veach had brought me a large selection of a wonderful pâté a foie. I had one can of that with drinks, then mushrooms with snails, which everyone adores more than snails in the shell. My lobster àl’Américaine was about the best one I ever made. I used three lobsters for six people.... Read more >

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Coming Soon: "America's First Foodie"

 

Dean of American Cookery. Father of American Cuisine. James Beard collected many nicknames as he paved the way for this country's modern culinary movement. Thanks to a forthcoming feature-length documentary about his extraordinary life and legacy, he's acquired yet another: America's First Foodie.

 

Featuring interviews with Judith Jones, Ruth Reichl, Jonathan Waxman, and other luminaries, America's First Foodie chronicles Beard's life and enduring influence, from his upbringing in Portland, Oregon, to the chefs whose work embodies the ideals that he pioneered until his death in 1985. Here's a great trailer for the film:

 

 

America's First Foodie is relying on donations to finance production, marketing, and other costs. You can give the film your support... Read more >

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Letter from the President: The Quotable James Beard

James Beard

 

James Beard may be known most famously for saying, “Food is our common ground,” but his two dozen cookbooks are peppered with wonderful one-liners that illustrate his wit and underscore his love of food. You could call these Beard quotes “words to live by” for the coming year. We thought we’d share our favorites, one for each month of 2014!

 

January

“Don’t be the type of host who has to be put to bed by the guests.”

 

February

“With all of my restaurant experience I have come to learn one thing... There are great restaurants, good restaurants, and poor restaurants, but no restaurant is better than the performance you can exact from it by knowing the chef.”

 

March

“Good bread and good butter go together. They are one of the perfect marriages in gastronomy, and they never fail to cheer me.”

 

April

“How much more... Read more >

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Recipe: James Beard's Salt and Pepper Spareribs

James Beard's salt and pepper spareribs

 

With so much of our energy channeled toward others during the holiday season—making lists for others, full-contact shopping for others, hosting parties for others—it's no surprise that it can feel impossible to make a simple dinner for ourselves. When we need a break from the 'tis-better-to-give-than-to-receive mantra, we turn to James Beard's recipe for salt and pepper spareribs. It's as elemental as it sounds: grab some spareribs, rain salt and pepper over them, throw them in the oven, and put your feet up.

 

Get the recipe here.

 

Your can also find this recipe and more of James Beard's classic dishes in The Essential James Beard Cookbook, a collection of dishes culled from twelve of his iconic books, including Hors d'Oeuvre and Canapés, Menus for Entertaining,... Read more >

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Remembering Clay Triplette

 

It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of our dear friend and longtime JBF house steward Clay Triplette, who died yesterday, September 9, after a brief illness. 

 

For chefs who have cooked at the Beard House, chances are Clay was the first person they met when they walked in the door. Clay was James Beard’s right hand for 30 years, beginning in the 1950s, and while the Beard Foundation has carried on James Beard’s legacy, Clay carried on his spirit.

 

“Life with him was a bowl of gravy,” Clay used to say of Mr. Beard, laughing heartily as he recalled stories about their years together cooking in the legendary West 12th Street kitchen, shopping at long-since-closed Lower East Side and West Village food markets, and creating unforgettable meals.

 ... Read more >

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Recipe Roundup: Pasta

 

Reinvent pasta night with a bowl of one of these impressive but easy-to-make carb-laden entrées.

 

Crab Carbonara with Meyer Lemon, Black Pepper, and Parsley

Dungeness crabmeat and a squeeze of Meyer lemon juice give the classic carbonara company-worthy panache.

 

Pappardelle with Duck and Juniper Ragù

Red wine, brandy, and citrus zest intensify this rich, hearty winter dish.

 

Rao's Cappelletti con Prosciutto e Radicchio

Cappelletti is similar to a freshly made mini tortellini. You can substitute store-bought cheese tortellini or ravioli.

 ... Read more >

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America's Classics: St. Elmo Steak House, Indianapolis

Every year the James Beard Foundation recognizes five new America's Classics, which are restaurants with timeless appeal, beloved in their regions for quality food that reflects the character of their community. Establishments must have been in existence for at least ten years and be locally owned.

 

Throughout tonight's ceremony, we'll be posting videos that spotlight this year's America's Classics inductees, presented by the Coca-Cola Company. First up: St. Elmo Steak House in Indianapolis.

 

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