Woo-Hoo out there! Have you been diligently attacking your summer reading list? I just finished a very delightful book, Backstage with Julia, I would like to share with you. The book was written by Nancy Verde Barr, who worked with Julia Child for her TV shows, cookbooks, and articles. Julia maxim was that "cooking together is such fun" and Nancy was with Julia for 18 years sharing in the fun.
I thoroughly enjoyed this look into the life of Julia who loved food and had a such an enormous zest for life. Julia gained fame with her book Mastering the Art of French Cooking and was one of America's favorite cooks. In intimate details, Nancy tells us about her work with Julia, who she adored. Nancy relates Julia's support of her staff; she helped them make contacts in the food world and encouraged Nancy to write articles for food magazines and to write her own book. As related by Nancy, a meal with Julia in one of her homes would have the guests helping to prepare the simple meal -- because "cooking together is such fun."
Julia was not enamoured with Italian cooking. She pronounced the word pasta as (in past). She did say that she liked Nancy's version of Marinara sauce. Nancy's traditional quick Neapolitan tomato sauce began with olive oil, but when making it for Julia Child, she used butter -- what a surprise :).
Nancy's Butter Marinara Sauce
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion minced -- I used a Vidalia onion
One 28-ounce can Italian peeled plum tomatoes, lightly drained
1/4 cup fresh basil, torn into small pieces
1 pound pasta, freshly cooked
1 pound cooked Italian sausage -- I added sausage for my meat loving family.
1. Melt the butter and oil in a heavy medium saucepan over medium low heat; being careful not to let the butter color. Stir in the onion, season with salt; and cook gently until it has cooked, being very careful not to let the onion brown or it will become bitter.
2. Pour the tomatoes into a bowl and break them into small pieces with your hands; then add them to the pan when the onions are softened. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and add the basil and a bit more salt. Simmer for 15 minutes. Add Italian sausage. Sever over 1 pound of cooked pasta.
My daughters who are not fans of purchased pasta sauce, liked this. Nancy says this serves two; with the addition of sausage and more pasta, this recipe served our family of five.
Julia had boundless energy and bristled when the "T" word (tired) was used. Even though many times, their work would end as late as nine, Julia always would insist on a proper meal, which would mean preparing some kind of meat, chicken, or fish and vegetables.
I loved reading about Nancy Verde Barr's adventures with Julia, recipes you won't find, only two, but plenty of interesting stories. Published in 2007, you can find this book at your local library; I have also included a link to Amazon.
Enjoy your summer reading!
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