Life Itself Is The Proper Binge


A Tribute to Julia Child

The thing I liked most about Julia Child was her philosophy of life which is summarized in the title above, a Julia Child quote.

Yes. She was an outstanding cook. And I use the word, “cook,” not chef because that is the word she used, and wanted used,  to describe herself.

But what made Julia Child so special was her down-to-earth quality. There was not an ounce of pretension in her bones. She put on no airs. She was who she was. And you could like it or not. It made no difference to her.

A Lesson In Living

When something went wrong in her TV kitchen there was no retake. No do-over. No editing the tape. She made the goof as right as she could make it right then and there and moved on. Cooking as a metaphor for life.

Her TV shows were not just about food and how to cook either. They were about living life well. Her philosophy was to embrace and to enjoy life itself to the fullest.

Cooking With Gusto Too

One of the other thing I like most about Julia was she loved and cooked with butter, lard, bacon drippings, heavy cream and all the other ingredients that makes food taste so heavenly divine and delicious.

A 2003 Ms magazine profile by Martha Smilgis says this was Julia’s mantra:

“”Do not diet,” she says emphatically. She discounts calorie counting, artificial sweeteners, fat-free meals and liquid meal replacements. “Eat a variety of high-quality food that is fresh, and limit your intake. Moderate your eating. It takes discipline,” she adds.


Food snobs will not find a soulmate in Julia Child. She frowns on “the food police” and enjoys a good hot dog or a hamburger from her favorite chain, In-N-Out Burger.

 Julia had something in common with another celebrity I love and adore, Betty White, whose favorite food is hot dogs.

So much for fat and hotdogs killing us all. Julia lived to age 92, and Betty White just turned 90. Take that food police!!!

As I mentioned above, Julia’s TV shows were taped live and unedited. Early on she was paid only $50 for each 30 minute show. Eventually she got $200 plus expenses for her shows. She never endorsed or hawked for any product her entire life. “As long as I can get clothes and a decent car, I’m not really interested in the money end of it,” she told an interviewer for the The Nation’s Business.

Julia Child did not cook for money, celebrity, or fame. She cooked because it was her passion and she loved to eat well. She seeemd to love to teach others as well.

Almost every article and profile I read about Julia Child for this post mentioned that for millions of people she took the fear out of cooking.

What a fantastic legacy.
Some of My Favorite Julia Child Quotes

You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces – just good food from fresh ingredients.

The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you’ve got to have a ‘What the hell?’ attitude.

Always remember: If you’re alone in the kitchen and you drop the lamb, you can always just pick it up. Who’s going to know?

In department stores, so much kitchen equipment is bought indiscriminately by people who just come in for men’s underwear.

I think every woman should have a blowtorch.

Always start out with a larger pot than what you think you need.

Moderation. Small helpings. Sample a little bit of everything. These are the secrets of happiness and good health.

I just hate health food.

Why languish as a giantess when it is so much fun to be a myth?

Dieting got really big in the ’60s, when fashion models were very thin. They weren’t always, you know! Now we’re eating all this fat-free, fake stuff, and we’re getting fat anyway because we’re not satisfied.

The only time to eat diet food is while you’re waiting for the steak to cook.

Fat gives things flavor.

If you’re afraid of butter, just use cream.

Personally, I don’t think pure vegetarianism is a healthy lifestyle. I’ve often wondered to myself: Does a vegetarian look forward to dinner, ever?

Featured Recipe    Julia’s Child’s Basic Vinaigrette Salad Dressing

It is only fitting that I share a Julia Child recipe today. This is a simple one and is keeping with the basic philosophy or goal of this blog:  eating well on a tight budget.

This recipe comes from Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom cook book published by Alfred K. Knopf.

“This is a bare-bones recipe for the simple all-purpose vinaigrette, which you will vary as you wish. Its beauty lies solely in the quality of your ingredients. Note that you will so often see proportions of 1 part vinegar to 3 parts oil, but that can make a very acid, very vinegary vinaigrette. I use the proportions of a very dry martini, since you can always add more vinegar or lemon but you can’t take it out.”

 This is a very basic vinaigrette. You can make many changes. Vary the vinegar to get different tastes. Like things spicy hot? Add some red pepepr or hot chilies. Add some fresh or dried herbs.

This is what you will need for 6-8 servings:

½ tablespoon finely minced shallot or scallion

½ tablespoon Dijon-type mustard

¼ teaspoon salt

½ tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

½ tablespoon wine vinegar

1/3 to 1/2 cup excellent olive oil, or other fine, fresh oil

Freshly ground pepper

Here is what you do:

After dicing the shallot either shake all the ingredients together in a screw-topped jar………

……….or mix them individually as follows:

Stir the shallots or scallions together with the mustard and salt. Whisk in the lemon juice and vinegar, and when well blended start whisking in the oil by droplets to form a smooth emulsion. Beat in freshly ground pepper. Taste (dip a piece of the salad greens into the sauce) and correct seasoning with salt, pepper, and/or drops of lemon juice.

Yield: For about 2/3 cup, serving 6 to 8.

Drizzle the dressing over your salad. Look at the yellow deliciousness of this salad dressing! This is a wonderful dressing everyone will love!

This salad goes very well with Tangy Tomato Suce and Spaghetti.

Bon appétit!!!


½ tablespoon finely minced shallot             $0.42

½ tablespoon Dijon-type mustard               $0.13

¼ teaspoon salt                                         ——

½ tbspn freshly squeezed lemon juice        $0.09

½ tablespoon wine vinegar                       $0.26

1/3 to 1/2 cup excellent olive oil                 $0.96

Freshly ground pepper                                ——

Total for salad dressing = $1.86
Cost per person = $0.31

NOTE: This cost is comparable to store bought dressings. Some were a few cents less per ounce, some were a bit more expensive. It depends on many variables such as brand and ingredients.

With the salad greens = $2.42
Total cost = $4.28
Cost per person =$0.71

Quote of the Day

I don’t think about whether people will remember me or not. I’ve been an okay person. I’ve learned a lot. I’ve taught people a thing or two. That’s what’s important.

Julia Child


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5 comments to Life Itself Is The Proper Binge

  • Bon appétit!!! I can hear her say that in my head, can’t you?

    I loved her show when I was younger. If she dumped something she just scooped it up and went on. Nothing upset her and I learned never to be upset about food. I am pleased when my food is beautiful but I’m happiest when it tastes great.

    She’s absolutely right about portion control. She learned that from the French. Never deny yourself anything but don’t eat so much you look like a tank. She wasn’t a skinny woman. Who can trust a skinny cook? LOL

    Great memories.

    • Roberta

      I sure can hear Julia say, “Bon appétit!!!” in that French accent. My mother and I used to watch on an old black and white Zenith.

      I agree. I may mot take great pictures of food with my teeny-tiny camera, but it sure tastes good. That is #1.

      I am big on portion size and moderation. Yes, that is the French way. Fat fills you for a longer time therefore you eat less over all. It is very simple.

  • A wonderful read… and a beautiful tribute to an amazing heroine

    • Roberta

      Glad you enjoyed the tribute Chef Gregorio. Yes indeed. She was amazing. Wish she was still around.

  • Love this post. I met Julia twice and she was a character. In all the best ways. I fully agree with her philosophies.