As a student at the University of Pennsylvania in the 1960’s, the two most influential and enduring books that I read were Jane Jacob’s Death and Life of Great American Cities and Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume 1. (See my post from July 28th to read more about Jacobs and how she links directly to my new book and website.)
Along with countless millions of Americans, Julia Child taught me how to cook. More than any other recipe of the scores that I made, it was her recipe for ratatouille that I remember best. Why ratatouille? It was because that was where I first learned that vegetables have integrity and that vegetables can marry.
Ratatouille is a garlic-laden blend of summer’s bounty of eggplant, tomatoes, peppers, zucchini and summer squash. But the blend can only occur after each vegetable is cooked separately and lovingly – respecting each vegetable’s individual integrity. Only then may they be combined and married. Never again would a vegetable simply be a vegetable.
You can preview my recipe — Ratatouille: Homage to Julia Child — from my new book, At Home by Steve Poses: A Caterer’s Guide to Cooking & Entertaining, at our website.
With today’s opening of the Meryl Streep and Amy Adam’s Julie & Julia, we celebrate Julia Child. But I celebrate Julia every day I pick-up a chef’s knife and start cooking.