Posted by: Josey | August 26, 2009

Dreaming of France, Channeling Julia Child: Beef Bourguignon Night

This month my book club is reading Julia Child’s My Life in France. Go ahead, make fun of her voice all you want. But I love her. There, I said it. I love her childlike silly and curious ways; her stick-to-it-iveness; her desire to find her calling and convert her passion into her profession. I admire her respectfulness towards other cultures, that of France being only one of several examples. (She and her husband Paul also lived in China, Germany and Norway.) She was determined to do right by their cuisine and language throughout her time living there, and she became somewhat of an ambassador back in the States, as well—a role she took seriously.

I have a terminal case of wanderlust, it’s no secret; but it reached a fever pitch while I read this book. And, since I sadly don’t have any plans to rent a Paris flat like Julia Child’s “Rue de Loo,” I decided I could at least cook (and eat!) the way she did while she lived there… starting with the Julia Child recipe for beef bourguignon. I typically tend to take, ahem, many liberties while, um, “following” recipes. But I’m proud to say that this time I took very few. I even insisted on buying an actual Burgundy at the wine store, even though the store owner tried to talk me into a cheaper pinot noir.

“But it’s not from Burgundy! ‘Bourguignon’ by definition means ‘Burgundy!'”

“But, lady, you’re cooking with it. You won’t even taste it!”

“The recipe doesn’t call for a whole bottle. I’ll drink the rest.”

He thought about it. “In that case, that’ll be $23.48.”

Oh, and, of course, I wanted Jeff to play along with my French Culinary Adventure, so I assigned him—what else?—French silk pie. It didn't require actual baking, but he did make the whip cream from scratch… without an electric mixer! Here are the photos:

Jeff is always in charge of cutting onions; it burns my eyes too much. (Read: I’m wimpy.)

Meet the Buttertons! (I never, ever cook with butter—this is usually an olive-oil-only household—but I know Julia would have had it no other way.)

Mmm, bacon soup

Getting there…

Who’s in charge of dishes when we both cook?

The accoutrement: haricot verts and some wild (and crazy) rice

Chillin’… Baker’s-Square-style

Time to “plate” as a verb

Et voilà! We bon-appetit-ed.


  1. After all that you didn’t tell us how it tasted????

  2. It tasted like Beef Bourguignon!

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