Julia Child’s Childhood HomeJan 19th, 2010 | By Lindsay | Category: Celebrity Homes
One of the best things about being a member of the Screen Actors Guild is that each and every January all guild members receive, often without notice, DVDs of various movies that have been nominated for an upcoming SAG award. These DVDs are doled out “for your consideration” so that members can watch them before casting their ballots for the upcoming awards. And, let me tell you, I can hardly stand the anticipation as I head to my mailbox each day during awards season, wondering what treasure I will find waiting for me in there. It’s like Christmas in January! This week alone I received five different DVDs, one of which was Julie & Julia. Ironically enough, while at a birthday celebration last Sunday night, some new friends were inquiring about my blog and asked if I had yet to see the Meryl Streep/Amy Adams movie, which I had not. They ordered me to run right out and rent it immediately, as not only was it a fabulous flick, but its plot also centered around the true life story of an intrepid young blogger named Julie Powell who they said reminded them of me. So, you can imagine my surprise when I opened up my mailbox just a few days later and found a copy of Julie & Julia waiting for me! YAY! So, I, of course, watched the movie that very night. I honestly didn’t have high hopes for it, though, despite the glowing recommendation I had just heard, because I am not that interested in the culinary arts. Actually, truth be told, I am not AT ALL interested in anything having to do with the culinary arts. I am an absolutely HORRIBLE cook. I somehow managed to ruin an entire serving of rice the other night – while using a RICE COOKER, no less! I am very lucky, though, because my fiancé actually does all of the cooking in our household. He LOVES to cook – says it calms him after a long day at work – and, really, who am I to argue? 😉 What can I say, he’s the perfect guy – he not only brings home the bacon, but cooks it, too! Anyway, amazingly enough, I ended up absolutely ADORING Julie & Julia. I pretty much loved EVERYTHING about the movie – both Meryl Streep and Amy Adam’s performances, the love both women had for their husbands, the amazing life story of the famous chef and how she inspired a young government worker to spend an entire year cooking out of one of her cookbooks and then writing a blog based on her experiences. But what I loved the most about Julie & Julia is the fact that it is the very first movie ever to be based on a blog. Now I just need someone to create a movie based on my blog and I’d be one happy camper! Amazingly enough, the movie also inspired me, rice-ruining Lindsay, to cook! I have never in my life had a desire to cook anything – ever. But after watching Julie & Julia, I immediately ran right out and bought my very first cookbook, written by Julia Child, of course. I opted to purchase The Way To Cook, instead of Mastering the Art of French Cooking, which is the tome Julie Powell conquered in the movie, because the former is geared toward people with “little to no cooking experience”, which, let’s face it, describes me to a T! But more on that later. Anyway, while watching Julie & Julia, I was shocked to find out that Julia Child actually grew up in Pasadena – the same city which I now call home! So, after watching the movie, I went on a cyberstalking mission to find her childhood house and almost immediately came across a website called Pasadena Daily Photo, which spelled it all out for me! Thank you, Pasadena Daily Photo! So, the next morning, I dragged my dad right out to stalk the place.
As the daughter of John McWilliams, Jr., a successful landowner, and Julia Carolyn Weston, heir to the Weston Paper Company fortune, Julia Child grew up very wealthy. The Colonial-style home pictured above was built for her parents in 1912 by architect Reginald Johnson, who was also responsible for designing Pasadena’s All Saints’ Church and Santa Barbara’s Biltmore Hotel, among numerous other prominent Southern California structures. The home, which boasts five bedrooms, five bathrooms, and a whopping 4,210 square feet of living space, is truly ginormous and beautiful in person and it definitely has that Old Pasadena feel to it! It was so fascinating to be standing there decades later, imaging Julia Child as a little girl playing in the front yard, looking out the blue-shuttered windows, and walking in and out of the front door. While living in this house, Julia attended the prominent Westridge School for Girls, which is also located in Pasadena. While doing a bit of research on the world-famous chef, I found out that while growing up Julia’s family not only employed full-time drivers, gardeners and housekeepers, but chefs, as well. Ironic, dontcha think? 😉 And, her parents also honeymooned at San Diego’s Hotel Del Coronado, an oft-used filming location which I blogged about last summer. So cool!!!
Taking a page from Julie Powell, I decided to not only cook a Julia Child meal this past Friday night, but to also blog about my experiences, as well. Like a dolt, though, I completely forgot to take photographs of the finished feast, so you’ll just have to take my word for it that it turned out beautifully. For the meal I decided to cook Julia’s Cream of Mushroom Soup, Broccoli-Sauced Broccoli, and Chicken Breasts Meuniere: Sautéed in Butter. And while the chicken and soup turned out simply AMAZING – so amazing that I am still finding it difficult to believe I actually cooked them – the broccoli left a bit to be desired. But I am fairly certain that was due to me either leaving out an ingredient or misreading an instruction somewhere along the way, because the finished product did not look anything like its photograph in the book. When I realized I had messed up the dish, I had visions of Rachel Green after she completed her English Trifle/Mincemeat Pie desert in “The One Where Ross Got High” episode of Friends. Anyway, I’d like to share a few things that I learned while cooking on Friday. One – my fiancé and I do not own a set of measuring spoons. How that’s even possible I’m not sure! Two – simmer does not mean low heat, as I had previously believed. It actually refers to a temperature just below boiling. And three – cooking is HARD WORK! It’s enjoyable work, don’t get me wrong, but, wow, it’s WORK! I had no idea how hard it was. I truly felt like I needed a nap afterwards. But it was also extremely fun and I am already looking forward to my next go at it. I swear, if you had told me two weeks ago that I’d actually be able to enjoy the act of cooking in the near future, I never would have believed you in a million years.
Until next time, Happy Stalking!
Stalk It: Julia Child’s childhood home is located at 625 Magnolia Avenue in Pasadena.