Today, August 15th, is Julia Child’s birthday. She would have been 105 years old. Like many people, I watched her cook on PBS growing up.
Of course, I was like ten years old, so maybe that makes me a little strange. But I don’t care.
In her honor, I roasted a chicken for dinner tonight as I learned from her and Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume I many years ago.
I once had both of her Mastering books on my shelf. Alas, somewhere along the way, I’ve lost them. So what you get is the way I remember.
“We had a happy marriage because we were together all the time. We were friends as well as husband and wife. We just had a good time.” — Julia Child
Finely dice a stalk of celery, a carrot, and half an onion. Saute these and a teaspoon of thyme in a tablespoon of butter until it starts to get tender.
Wash a roasting chicken, about 3 pounds, and stuff it with the cooked vegetables, some chopped celery leaves and parsley stems, and a lemon cut into slices. Truss the legs with some kitchen string. Trim the wings or tuck them underneath so they don’t burn. Rub a room-temperature pat of butter all over the chicken and give it a good salting.
“I think careful cooking is love, don’t you? The loveliest thing you can cook for someone who’s close to you is about as nice a valentine as you can give.” — Julia Child
Roast the chicken in a 425°F oven for 15 minutes. Baste it with another pat of melted butter. Toss in 1/2 cup each of sliced onion and carrots around the chicken. Lower the temperature of the oven to 350°F and roast another 30 minutes.
I used rainbow carrots today. I thought they looked a little like flowers and that seemed good for a birthday.
“A party without cake is just a meeting.” — Julia Child
Baste again with a tablespoon of lemon juice. Cook another 15 minutes. Check the internal temperature at the thigh for 165°F. If it’s less than that, continue roasting until it is.
“The only time to eat diet food is while you’re waiting for the steak to cook.” — Julia Child
Let the chicken rest on a cutting board for about 15 minutes. Carve and serve.
“You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces – just good food from fresh ingredients.” — Julia Child
Happy Birthday, Julia Child. And thank you.