15 August 2012

Remembering Julia Child with Caesar Salad You Eat with Your Hands

On television, in books, out in the blogosphere everyone today is celebrating the visionary Julia Child.'s centennial year. It was 100 years ago today that this engaging woman was born in Pasadena, California.  We are all blessed to be among those who owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to Julia Child for her tireless guidance, enlightenment, inspiration, and encouragement through the decades. She set a tremendous example for us, not only with her culinary expertise, but also with her marvelous sense of humour, and her indomitable grace and aplomb in sticky situations and live television.  Her work speaks for itself!!!  Bloopers such as “First you take a leek…” would perhaps have destroyed the career of those less self-assured than our Julia. 
Ever since the film Julie and Julia came out, it seems Julia Child is on everyones radar, foodies and non-foodies alike. The fact that Julia started her passion for food and cooking so late in life makes us "kindred spirits" although, like me, I am sure she had a passion for food from the very beginning, she just didn't know it. She is so inspiring to me because of her outlook on life and her unending joy for her chosen path. I’m happy to say her wonderful recipes and independent spirit live on.


If you are interested in a recipe I am resurrecting Julia's recipe for Caesar Salad.   At the time when she created this recipe for her cookbook she was probably one of the few people around who had witnessed the real Caesar Cardini making his salad. She was about 9 years old when her parents took her to his restaurant in Tijuana, just the other side of the border from San Diego. As excerpted from her book, when Caesar Cardini first served his famous salad in the early 1920s, he used just the hearts of the romaine lettuce, the tender short leaves in the center, and he presented them whole exactly like this recipe from Julia Child. The salad was tossed and dressed, then arranged on each plate so that you could get your hands into it and pick up each leaf by its short end and savour every bite. Many customers didn't like to get their fingers covered with egg-and-cheese-and-garlic dressing, so he changed to the conventional torn leaf type of salad. Too bad, since the salad lost much of its individuality and drama. I decided to resurrect the original Caesar salad from Caesar's at home...  providing my guests with plenty of big paper napkins. I love to eat with my hands!!! It's so primal!!! As Julia would always say, Bon Appetit. 

You are reading this post on More Than Burnt Toast at http://morethanburnttoast.blogspot.com. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and or owner of More Than Burnt Toast. All rights reserved by Valerie Harrison.
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20 comments:

  1. Great tribute..Salad looks so crisp and delicious.

    I just bought Kindle's daily Deal commemorating Julia..Always,Julia..
    I love her:)

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  2. A fabulous woman who will long be remembered for her talent!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  3. I am having so much fun reading everyone's tributes today. I've been grinning ear to ear -- proof of her amazing spirit and the effect she's had on us all. I had no idea she had a Caesar salad or that she actually saw the original made. We love making ours with the whole spear of romaine and just cut it like we would a steak. Makes me want some right now just thinking of it!

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  4. Val, Lovely post and wonderful tribute to Julia!! Loved learning about her going to Caesar Cardini’s restaurant at age 9….so very interesting!!

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  5. Val, what a fun history of Caesar salad and Julia! Love learning about the original presentation, I think I like that way better too. I have a large pack of Romaine in my fridge, I didn't know that it was just waiting for this post to be transformed into something wonderful!

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  6. I made Reine de Saba for her birthday today. What a great day to remember her.

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  7. I love Julia for many reasons especially her sprit to make the things and caesar salad is one of my favorites:))

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  8. Happy Birthday to Julia!

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  9. Julia taught me how to cook from "Mastering the Art" and she was so special. Love that you've made her Caesar salad. And we can use our fingers!
    Sam

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  10. I saw that video on another blog - it's hilarious! I loved her sense of humor and wonderful way in the kitchen.

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  11. I keep watching the video, it cracks me up.

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  12. Julia had such a delightful sense of humor! I used to watch her TV shows and they always made me laugh while learning.
    I am not a Caesar salad lover, but my daughter is. And over the years, I have watched the various salads she's been served. Frankly, the original version is the one she likes..and there are restaurants that still serve it that way. Cutting up romaine is a crime, really.

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  13. Love your post about Julia, Val. She is truly an inspiration, and a real character too.

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  14. Love the video - hilarious. Letterman is exactly the same - but no hair. Great read.
    :)
    V

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  15. Love everything here - the video (which I - gulp remember from way back), the tribute, the eating with your hands - you captured her gusto!

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  16. Eating with your hands makes food so much more fun!

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  17. Good post Val. When I first became interested in actual cooking (have always been interested in eating, cooking was a different story), I taught myself how to cook with Julia Child and Jacque Pepin's books. I used to read them by the hour and known even to get out of bed at 11:00 at night and start baking a cake that inspired me in one of their books. You wrote a lovely tribute to an inspiring cook we all owe something to.

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  18. Bahaha - still laughing about the "first you take a leek" blooper. Hilarious!!! The more I read and learn about her, the more I love her. :-)

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  19. If Julia said to toss a Caesar salad with your hands, than that's good enough for me! Loved her and still love a good Caesar salad!

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Welcome to my home. Thank you so much for choosing to stay a while and for sharing our lives through food. I appreciate all your comments, suggestions, daily encouragement and support.

Val

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