Julia cooking in her tiny Parisian kitchen.
Julia in on the balcony at 81, rue de L’Université. ~ these images by Paul Child
One of my favorite stories in the book “My Life in France” by Julia Child, is the part where she relates how her husband, Paul, a gifted photographer and artist, took many dramatic and beautiful images of her during the time that they live in France.
Paul Child also took many close-up photographs of Julia’s hands as she cut, diced, sliced her way into culinary history. These images were translated into line drawings by the talented illustrator Sidonie Coryn for her premiere cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking.
Julia writes in “My Life in France”:
"Paul and I spent many hours doing a photo sessions…making photographs for the illustrator. We had fun, just the two of us, tinkering with food and camera.”
When the Alfred A. Knopf Company first published Julia’s first cookbook effort in 1961, there was no such thing as splashy full color food-porn images as we have today in our cookbooks. However, these superbly drawn images make this book a true classic masterpiece and now a piece of culinary history.
I bought some beautiful artichokes from my local Italian produce market this morning and I wanted to make Julia’s recipe for Artichauts à la Buerre Fondu au Citron for a light dinner.
I looked in my 1961 copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking for the recipe and I was so very impressed by the detailed illustrations to guide me through this dish. As I read, I thought about how these expertly drawn black line drawings probably had helped thousands of other dedicated cooks prepare this very same dish for nearly 50 years.
What an inspiring way to begin cooking this evening...!
(Artichokes with melted butter with Lemon)
2 fresh globe artichokes
Trim the artichokes for cooking.
Rinse it well under cold water.
Gently boil the artichokes, uncovered, for about half an hour. When the leaves pull out easily and the bottoms are tender when pierced with a knife, they are finished cooking.
While the artichokes are cooking, prepare the lemon butter. Gently reduce the lemon juice, salt, and pepper in a small saucepan. Over low heat, whisk in the chilled butter pieces, one at a time, until your sauce is creamy.
Remove from heat, and serve in warmed ramekins.