Friday, October 28, 2011

Julia Child, Julie and Julia, Descoware, Pyrex

Notice the Chococat bookmark? 
I just started reading the book "As Always, Julia: The Letters of Julia Child and Avis DeVoto." Much to my surprise, I am loving it! Not only does it reveal Julia's cooking techniques and her road to publishing the first volume of the legendary "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" but it also illuminates the attitudes and political climate of the 50's. In one letter Avis tells Julia that all her friends have electric dishwashers and how horrid she thinks the whole concept is. She refuses to ever get one.

I still have a long way to go with the book but based on what I've already read, I just know I will continue to love it. I took a break and watched Julie and Julia, a movie which I taped a long time ago and never got around to watching. Do NOT watch this movie if you are also reading "As Always, Julia." From the very beginning, there are huge inconsistencies with the portion of the movie that deals with Julia Child, Avis and the publishing of her first book. And the inaccuracies continue throughout. This kind of thing drives me NUTS. I am guessing that the writers (Nora Ephron, Julie Powell) thought it made for a better movie but it pretty much ruined the whole thing for me. Knowing that Julia Child did not like Julie Powell's blog (which they do mention in the movie), it made me think that she would HATE the movie since her life was not portrayed accurately. Oh, well. She and her husband's grandnephew are credited as writers for the movie because their book "My Life in France" was used. (Julia's husband was deceased when she was working on this book, which was published posthumously.)

Le Creuset stopped all production of Descoware
 after they purchased the company.
The other thing that has bugged me about the movie is that Julia Child (played by Meryl Strrep) is shown using a Le Creuset cast iron round casserole. However, my friend Karen collects Descoware so I know all about it and that it was Julia's choice. I wonder did she also use Le Creuset or is it a product placement for the movie? I did read on the web that Le Creuset sales soared after the movie came out. The movie does use the same color of pot as the popular Descoware "cherry flame" but you can clearly see that it is marked Le Creuset. In the movie, they also show this same Le Creuset casserole in the Smithsonian's display of Julia Child's kitchen. I went to the Smithsonian's website and looked at all the pictures of the actual display but I couldn't tell which brand the pot was. However, I did learn that Julia liked cats in the kitchen - just like me!

Okay, so I know I've gone on and on about this pot thing but it just bugs me that a TV show like Mad Men can try so much harder than a major motion picture. Sigh.

As a result of the movie, I have reserved "My Life in France" and "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" from the library and plan to read them soon. I may even try to cook an aspic recipe! After all, I do have a vintage ring mold that I have been dying to use.

What does all this have to do with vintage Pyrex? Well, nothing really. But I have a few cool pieces from Goodwill and one is from the early 60's. I'd like to imagine that someone made a recipe from Julia's book in this very dish!

Here is the 60's piece. Wouldn't it look great with mushroom caps in it? This piece is from the "Town and Country" Pyrex collection which was sold from 1961 to 1967.

Underneath is a 1.5 pint refrigerator dish. This is the first piece I got and I knew NOTHING about vintage Pyrex at the time. After some research, I found out that because of the rectangular stamp on the bottom and the style of the lid, that this is not from the 50's but most likely from the 70's (which is okay too - just not as valuable.) I'm not sure which way the lid fits on top as both ways seem to work.

By the way, the blog Pyrex Love is not only entertaining but a source that I use often to research older pieces, such as this one.

The last piece in my "new" collection is a 4 quart bowl from a four piece bowl set of the "daisy" collection. Here is a great ad from 1970 that shows that the set retailed for $5.95. It will be perfect for my father's famous Clam Dip (which also was Helen Gurley Brown's favorite splurge item as described in my original Single Girl's Cookbook!!)

I think Julia would appreciate that there is a cat in my kitchen! Thanks Stormy.

“She was my first cat ever, and I thought she was marvelous. ” 
― Julia ChildMy Life in France


Vagabonde said...

I just clicked on your blog and can’t believe how many posts you wrote! They are so interesting and informative. I learned facts about Julia Child and Pyrex. The cupcakes looked good. Great posts!

livininlb said...

Thank you Vagabonde! I was going to ask you if you had any Julia Child cookbooks but then I realized that you were not an American who needed to learn French cooking. You are a real French cook!Beaucoup de baisers!

Arlene C said...

Wow - lots of good info. I have that book, but never had a chance to read it. I'll pick it up again.

livininlb said...

I picked up Volume 1 of Mastering the Art of French Cooking today and am trying to decide what to make first!

Brenna Hawley said...

Love the kitty in the kitchen! Mine rarely helps, but he likes to get in my way!