"I think every woman should have a blowtorch."
Today marks what would have been Julia Child's 102nd birthday. If not for Julia -- chef, cookbook author, television host, accidental feminist -- the food world wouldn't be what it is today. If not for Julia, Americans might still be eating TV dinners and boiled hot dogs.
To celebrate her, we've chosen to share a fairly simple and classic recipe we hope you'll try to recreate at home: quiche Lorraine. The great thing about the quiche is that you can make up your own concoctions, and as Julia said, "it is practically foolproof."
In 1948, Julia moved to France with her husband, Paul, and fell in love with French cooking. While there, she studied at the world-famous Cordon Bleu, took private lessons with master chef Max Bugnard, and formed her own cooking school with fellow Cordon Bleu students Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle.
The trio collaborated on a two-volume cookbook, and in 1961 it was published under the title Mastering the Art of French Cooking.
All of a sudden, complicated French cuisine was made accessible to the American public. The book was considered groundbreaking for that, and Julia's boisterous personality carried her on to host The French Chef TV series and several other best-selling books.
Without Julia, we might not have so many food magazines, food essays, food biographies, food movies, and food competition shows. We might not have the term du jour and ever-popular concept of "food porn."
The following is taken from Mastering the Art of French Cooking under the section "Open-Faced Tarts." Make your own pate brisee (pie crust/pastry dough) or buy pre-made (we won't judge you, though Julia might).
For purposes of space, we've omitted Julia's recipe for pie crust (it goes on for pages). Any crust recipe will do. The following is for the filling:
The classic quiche Lorraine contains heavy cream, eggs, and bacon, no cheese. The bacon is usually blanched in simmering water to remove its smoky, salty taste, but this step is optional. Diced, cooked ham, sautéed briefly in butter, may replace the bacon.
Note: You will know the quiche is ready when it has puffed and the top is browned. A knife plunged into the center should come out clean. It will stay puffed about 10 minutes in the turned-off hot oven with the door ajar. As it cools, it sinks down. It may be reheated, but will not puff again.
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