Lunch with Julia

Posted by: WendyLane in: Food/Beverage -

The IACP conference in Portland this April has caused me to reminisce about the last time the IACP came to Portland:  1998.

Portland was a different food town then.  We were just beginning to talk about the amazing products that the Willamette Valley and the Pacific Ocean provides as well as the growing authentic food culture.

As a result of our emerging importance, the 1998 IACP conference attracted many national food luminaries.  Perhaps my favorite was Julia Child.  I met Julia one morning at The Pearl Bakery.   Julia and the majority of attendees on this side trip had arrived by bus.

I was with Suzanne Hamlin, a food writer for the New York Times and Fran McCullough, a cookbook author.  I had taken them to The Pearl Bakery in my car as I had invited them to have lunch after the tour.   Julia was a friend of Suzanne’s and she asked if she could invite Julia to join us for lunch.

We had been on a very fast schedule and I hadn’t decided where we should have lunch.  I called Kim Paley at Paley’s.  (They were open for lunch in those days.)  I asked Kim if I could bring Julia Child for lunch in ten minutes with two other food writers.  She happily said yes.

Julia ate two hamburgers with frites along with the Oregon pinot that we ordered.  Julia was a very expansive conversationalist and quite upbeat.  She talked about many things from her time in Paris to living in Santa Barbara.
She had also been a great friend of James Beard and since Portland was his home town, she wanted to talk about him.  She said that while she brought French cuisine to the American people, it was James who taught Americans their own cuisine based upon wonderful, fresh ingredients.

I grew up with a grandfather, a butcher, who had a grocery store in Gaston, Oregon.  My uncle farmed onions, hazelnuts and plums.  My mother, a home economist, gave food demonstrations at grange halls.    I understood those food memories.

My lunch with Julia made me very aware of the special food place that Oregon is and very excited to share it’s bounty.

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