Today Julia Child would have turned 100 years old, a centennial that has generated a country-wide celebration. All over America, in newspaper food sections and bookstores, in restaurants and on the radio, we're toasting Child's birthday. (Check out Google's homepage! Take the PBS Julia Quiz!) And in Pasadena, Child's hometown, there will be one big citywide cocktail party this evening, a literal toast to the woman who redefined home cooking in America. For which we all remain profoundly grateful.

The Julia Child cocktail party, which was organized by the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce, will occur simultaneously in many Pasadena restaurants. And at 8:30 this evening, everyone is to raise a glass in a communal toast. Pretty cool, really, and a fitting group salute to Child. The eight participating restaurants (An American Bistro, Bistro 45, POP Champagne and Dessert Bar, the Still Room, The Royce at the Langham and Vertical Wine Bistro) will also be cooking dishes to mark the occasion.

Not only can you drink to Child, you can also dress up like her: 300 Pasadena and Toro Sushi Bar are hosting Julia costume contests. (Just channel Meryl Streep.)

If you need more inspiration than your demiglace-stained copies of Mastering The Art of French Cooking and Julie & Julia, you might want to head to Vroman's, a bookstore Child frequented, and pick up one of the many books that have come out to mark the centennial, particularly Dearie and the lovely children's book Bon Appetit!: The Delicious Life of Julia Child.

For more information, check out Pasadena Now.

Bon Appétit! And joyeux anniversaire too. We'll all be raising a glass — or a bowl of beef bourguignon.

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