Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Julia Child's Public Drinking Exposed!

Exposed as a myth, that is.

As you have probably gathered by now, we are making our way, delicious mouthful by delicious mouthful, through David Kamp's The United States of Arugula: How We Became a Gourmet Nation, which is full of Julia tidbits. Today's finds are as follows:

"Child's antics and locutions were so alien that many viewers presumed she was drunk, respiratorily unwell, or actually French...In fact, Child was anything but sauced on the [French Chef] show. Due to budget constraints, she and the program's producers couldn't afford drinking wine for her closing toast of 'Bon app├ętit!' She saluted her audience not with a real glass of wine but with a glass of water darkened with GravyMaster, a coloring agent."

"Child could also be counted on to enliven that most dreaded of public-television events, the pledge drive. 'Hello, I'm Julia Child. If this goose could lay golden eggs, then we'd be all sitting pretty,' she said in one WGBH fund-raising appearance in the mid-sixties, propping up a plucked, headless bird. 'But it c-hhan't! And that's why we need your help...'"

Come to think of it, possums, it's not only the food world that owes Julia a great debt. We were musing this morning, and it came to us that Dame Edna Everage is simply inconceivable without Julia--the height, the legginess, the bouffant, the high-pitched voice, the locution, the zaniness.

Whenever we need a private chortle, we still think back to that time in the 80s when Dame Edna had Nana Mouskouri on her show. Asking the bespectacled Greek chanteuse about her divorce, Dame Edna said, "Had a Nana split, did you?" Who else would have asked that? Only Julia comes to mind.


Anonymous said...

Dame Edna is my idol. She ought to be played by Robin Williams. Dame Edna ought to play Robin Williams in return.

Anastasia said...

I love this book.