julia child, mastering the art of french cooking, julie powell, french cuisine

Mastering the Art of Technology


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“Nowadays anyone with a crap laptop and an internet connection can sound their barbaric yawp, whatever it may be.” – Julie Powell


Julia Child got her start on television in 1961 when she was interviewed on a program called I’ve Been Reading to talk about her new cookbook, Mastering  the Art of French Cooking. Unfortunately, before her scheduled on-air appearance, the television station caught fire and burned to the ground. The interview eventually took place in a makeshift “station”, during which – to everyone’s surprise – Julia made an omelette.

The program staff had been planning to produce a cooking show and liked Julia’s on-camera personality, and so she was invited to outline a cooking series. The president of the station was so impressed, he decided to produce three half-hour pilot programs during the summer of 1962. When all was said and done, The French Chef totaled 119 programs.

Julia Receives Help from Hidden Assistants On-Air

Because the TV station’s fire had destroyed everything at the station, seven “studio sites” were quickly improvised in various parts of Boston while a new facility was built. One of these sites, the industrial Cambridge Power and Light Building, is where the first few episodes of Julia’s show were produced in a demonstration kitchen on the second floor. The place featured a freight and passenger elevator which set off a loud bell that could be heard throughout the building. In these early days of production, most TV programs were rehearsed, then shot in their entirety without interruption and recorded on kinescope with little or no editing. While filming her first episode, Julia was 20 minutes into the show when the elevator bell rang. Quick on her feet, Julia paused her whipping and said, “Oh, somebody’s at the door, but I’m much too busy.”

Julia Child jumped through some serious hoops to get her message out to the public, yet fifty years later, all it takes is a computer and an internet connection. Julie Powell started her blog when it was still a fairly new concept, and for the first few entries, there’s no sign of life where readers are concerned. She was months into her blog experience before finally receiving a comment – and even then, it was from her own mom. I’m not criticizing her efforts – I’m merely pointing out that she had no way of telling people about her blog other than word of mouth. And photos? Forget it. She was a self-proclaimed “technological moron who couldn’t make the pictures post.”

And that brings us to today. Less than ten years after Julie’s blog success, I’m already one technological step ahead – I have the magic of facebook at my fingertips. In moments, I can alert thousands of people that this little website in a remote corner of cyberspace even exists. Viral marketing has made our world so small when it comes to communication; people from Great Britain are reading these posts. I don’t even know anyone in Great Britain! Today’s technology is truly amazing, and in many ways I’m sorry that Julie – and especially Julia – weren’t able to fully take advantage of the luxuries that I have in this endeavor.

Flip Slide HD Camcorder

Which brings me to the final point of this post. (Were you beginning to wonder?) Today, I took a step into the next level of tech savviness…I got a Flip Video Camcorder. (A Flip Slide HD Camcorder, to be exact.) While I would not recommend this little video camera for documenting family vacations, it is perfect for the purposes of a website. Small enough to fit in the palm of my hand, it takes up to four hours of high definition footage. Then – and this is the best part – a concealed USB arm slides out from the side, which plugs directly into your computer so you can instantly upload the video. Which means, friends, that when the time comes, I’ll be able to bring you live action footage of cooking demonstrations! We can literally master the art of French cooking together! Granted, it’s highly likely that some of these little videos may serve the purpose of learning what NOT to do, but hey…learning is learning, right? What would Julia Child say about a Flip Video Camcorder? I can’t help but think she’d be pretty fascinated by it.

I’m excited about this new addition to our site, and hope you are too. It’s almost time to get started…have you cleared off your countertops and washed all your pots and pans? We’ll be cooking before you know it!


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