Wednesday, August 19, 2009

More memories of Julia Child

I got a nice note from my pal Kathleen Iudice in the Napa Valley. As its marketing and media gal, Kathleen was a big part of COPIA's early success and as such, she had many lovely encounters with Julia Child. My post on my own memories of Julia Child spurred her thoughts as well. Here are her memories:

"I'm sure you've heard it before, but I must say that I don't know anybody who knew/met Julia Child that didn't adore her. I've met a lot of celebs, but she truly "took the cake." Despite her celebrity, Julia was a genuinely gracious and fun-loving person. She looked everyone in the eye and acknowledged their presence - from the person holding the door and the clerk in the store, to the adoring fans that swarmed her for autographs. A couple of friends drove Julia to her Santa Barbara home after a COPIA visit (she didn't like to fly at that point) and had the time of their lives. she regaled them with stories, and had them stop at an In-N-Out Burgers for one of her favorite meals: burger and fries (she once innocently requested a burger in *Julia's Kitchen, not knowing that they didn't have hamburger on premise, and Chef Mark Dommen cheerfully chopped up a steak and served it to her like "of course we have burgers!").

She was an Honorary Trustee of COPIA and lent her name to the *"dining room" - Julia's Kitchen (we couldn't call it a restaurant), which was a tremendous honor. When her Cambridge kitchen was dismantled, she kindly donated the pegboard, designed by her husband, with the copper pots to COPIA. These arrived prior to the month-long celebration of her 90th Birthday (August, 2002), which COPIA celebrated by offering special programs, tastings and events, including butter tastings, lemon meringue pie cooking demos, meals with oysters and foie gras, and, of course, plenty of bubbly. The festivities culminated in a grand weekend of events that she personally attended (in a wheelchair), including book signings, a public party and a black-tie dinner/fund-raiser. One of the COPIA chefs made Julia’s favorite cake, which I think was Le Marquis (chocolate spongecake), plus a cake sculpted in the form of a stove-oven, which sat on display near Julia's Kitchen for weeks. The Copper Cookware wall was officially unveiled at the black-tie event with her niece by her side, and it remained on display within the permanent exhibition, Forks in the Road, until it was finally moved to the “Library” area between Julia's Kitchen and the CafĂ©.

When COPIA closed, there was only one thing to do: reunite the cookware with Julia's Cambridge kitchen at the Smithsonian. It's a good thing."

Thanks Kathleen. And good luck with your current venture, the Napa Fresh Aire Festival, happening the last weekend of August:

1 comment:

Jill said...

Hi Lora - Kathleen, who I worked with at COPIA, and I were having memories along the same wavelength, although hers are much more first-hand than mine. My almost-simultaneous post:

COPYRIGHT Lora Finnegan 2008-2009

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