The Bookshelf: Julia Child's The French Chef

Julia Child's The French Chef

Now that we inhabit a supersaturated food-media world of flawless camera-ready meals, secret ingredients, and down-to-the buzzer cooking, it's no surprise that the pioneers of the genre can be overshadowed by their flashier descendents. So when Dana Polan, professor of cinema studies at New York University, came by last week's Beard on Books to discuss his latest book, Julia Child's The French Chef, we asked him some questions about Child, her groundbreaking cooking show, and the evolution of the medium.   James Beard Foundation: You write that viewers of food television in the 1960s, which was a very volatile era, took comfort in the predictability of cooking shows. Today’s food shows are more suspenseful; we don’t know if the contestants on Chopped will actually finish the dish. What

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I Love to Eat: Cooking with James Beard to Premiere on September 27

James Beard
When playwright James Still began considering James Beard as the subject for his next one-man script, he knew immediately that he had found a rich and charismatic figure who could command the stage. “With a solo play, you have to ask yourself the basic question: do I want to spend uninterrupted time with this one character? I answered that with a resounding ‘yes’ when it came to all things Beard.” We can’t say we’re surprised. After all, Beard, who filled kitchens and dining rooms with his jolly presence and sonorous speech, was tapped by NBC in 1946 to tape the country’s first cooking show, I Love to Eat. Still’s new play, which premieres at the Indiana Repertory Theatre on Tuesday night and stars actor Robert Neal, borrows its title from the American chef’s pioneering program. “I’ve been moved by his sense of being a performer and his desire to be famous,” says Still. “This led me to write what

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On the Menu: January 30 through February 5

Walking up the Beard House back stairs Here’s what’s happening at the Beard House and around the country next week: Sunday, January 30, 12:00 P.M. Winter Harvest Brunch A standard-bearer for elevated comfort food, Buttermilk Channel has earned raves from critics and a local following devoted to the restaurant’s seasonal home-style cooking. Come see what all the fuss is about when chef Ryan Angulo brings his wildly popular brunch to the Beard House. Sunday, January 30, 12:00 P.M. Friends of James Beard Benefit: Tustin, CA Longtime Beard Foundation supporter Zov Karamardian will be joined by Food Network stars Michael Symon and Anne Burrell for this fantastic weekend benefit, which includes an extravagant dinner and exciting cooking demonstrations. Tuesday, February 1, 7:00 P.M

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Remembering Jim

Today marks the 26th anniversary of James Beard’s death. He brought simple, accessible, and delicious food to a generation of Americans through his many cookbooks, TV appearances, and cooking classes. Beard championed local, seasonal eating long before it was chic and helped American cuisine to reach the elevated level of its European counterparts. At the James Beard Foundation we are proud to carry on the legacy of this larger than life man. Here’s to you Jim.

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Awards Watch: 2011 Nominees to be Announced in Portland, Oregon

medal Extra, extra! The 2011 James Beard Award nominees will be revealed on Monday, March 21 in Portland, Oregon. JBF is thrilled to hold this exciting event in the West-Coast foodie-mecca, which also happens to be the birthplace of the big man himself. Stay tuned for details...

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Tastebud: Southern Pies

The James Beard Foundation reports on pies from the American South

Sometime between Prohibition and World War II, apple pie became a token of homespun America, and it has since been trotted out in support of a political score as often as it has been pulled from an oven. We can’t help but feel a bit slighted on behalf of all the other wonderful pies that have a place in our country’s history, particularly those of the American South.

Chess pie, a traditional dessert with a custardy, cornmeal-thickened filling, is often served with tea to keep its sweetness in check. According to The Encyclopedia of Cajun & Creole Cuisine, chess pie was invented to use up extra butter, eggs, and molasses in plantation kitchens. James Beard claimed that the chess pie recalls English cheese tarts, and the lineage suggests that the name “chess” is a corruption of the word cheese. Others argue that the name refers to the chests or safes in which the pies

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