Mastering the Art of French Feasting, in the spirit of Julia Child
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Mastering the Art of French Feasting, in the spirit of Julia Child

In the spirit of Julia Child’s 100th birthday, a day of reliving my study abroad semester in Poitiers, France, is more than appropriate.

In Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Julia Child says, “In France, cooking is a serious art form and a national sport.” The smell of croissants and café in the morning is impossible to sleep through, especially when your apartment is located just above Madame Mercier’s boulangerie, where kneading before sunrise and perfecting true bliss was routine for this 80 year old bakery owner. A typical morning consisted of an 8:00 am French lesson of ordering my favorite petit déjeuner, the almond croissant, a crispy and gooey piece of perfection.

My most memorable class was Chef Arnaud’s Gastronomy 101. Chef Arnaud arrived the first day with an entire spread of French cheese, wine, fruit and bread. The exams tested our ability to pair wine with food, which Chef Arnaud believed to be a natural ability that “some” have (i.e. the French), and others don’t, a comment he made as I spat out my wad of bubble gum just before sampling a Savoie white wine. “Mademoiselle Leah, What cheese pairs best with Savoie?” “Reblochon!” My obsession with French cheese prompted the quick response.  This one in particular was my favorite due to its creamy texture and nutty aftertaste.

Classmates and a spread of French cheese in Gastronomy 101

My favorite Julia Child quote brings me right back to the 4 x 4 foot table I shared with 4 other International roommates, in a tiny kitchen, where wine, French food and laughter contributed to one of the most memorable semesters of my life.

“Dining with one’s friends and beloved family is certainly one of life’s primal and most innocent delights, one that is both soul-satisfying and eternal.”

 Happy Birthday Julia! 

By: Robinsbite intern, Leah Wakefield

Follow me on twitter @leahwake1

No Comments
  • Richard
    Posted at 19:12h, 15 August

    A delightful sketch of French cuisine. Thanks for the memories.