Child in time: Streep as Julia
Child in time: Streep as Julia
Sony Pictures

Mastering the Art of Julia: Mary Sue Milliken Hears a Thump

This summer, Meryl Streep will appear as the food world's warbly-voiced icon Julia Child in Nora Ephron's Julie & Julia. The movie is based on Child's autobiography and Julie Powell's Julie & Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen, in which she tells how she cooked and blogged about every recipe in Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume One.

With so much attention on the film version of Child, Squid Ink is jumping into the fray with a new series, "Mastering the Art of Julia," in which Los Angeles chefs share their remembrances of the real thing. We begin with chef Mary Sue Milliken, who recalls her first Julia sighting, experienced with her Border Grill/Ciudad partner Susan Feniger:

"The first time I met Julia I was, like, 26. Susan and I were invited to be on this panel of the American Institute of Wine and Food, which Julia was very active in. I'd been living under a stone my whole life, so I didn't know what the AIWF was. But we were really intrigued and honored to be asked to speak on a panel with Julia Child and Alice Waters. Who would say no?

So we drove up to Monterey or Carmel or wherever it was. We were in our hotel room when we heard this thumping noise out the window. Like thump thump thump, and I went to the window and pulled open the curtain, and there was the person I was so excited to meet, Julia Child, pounding on the hood of an old car saying to her husband, [high Julia warble] "Paul get out of the car!" thump thump thump "Paul get out of the car!" thump thump thump

Susan and I were captivated. It was such a good show: Watching them talk to each other, get their bags out of the trunk. After I got to know her a little bit better, I realized that she was a real doer, always on the go. That's just how she was. But what I remember most vividly was that she was so commanding -- even with her husband who she was with forever. He was a dreamer, just a dreamy guy. She completely commanded the whole experience and he just floated along. I loved her."

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