How to Sing Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking

Though she had no ten­der feel­ings for Julie Powell’s Julia/Julie blog, I like to think Julia Child wouldn’t have been entire­ly dis­pleased by the Bush­wick Book Club’s efforts to musi­cal­ize Mas­ter­ing the Art of French Cook­ing, Child’s two vol­ume labor of love (and the inspi­ra­tion for Powell’s cel­e­brat­ed blog).

The “club,” a free float­ing, dis­cus­sion-free group of New York City-based singer-song­writ­ers, start­ed in 2009, when Kurt Vonnegut’s Break­fast of Cham­pi­ons was cel­e­brat­ed with music and the­mat­ic drink spe­cials. In the ensu­ing half-decade, they’ve met month­ly to wres­tle with such titles as The Great Gats­by, Madame Bovary and Dol­ly Parton’s auto­bi­og­ra­phy.

Some con­tri­bu­tions to these events do feel half-baked, as if the per­former delayed start­ing work in case he or she might be able to fin­ish the book on the bus ride to the show. Oth­ers are well craft­ed, as well as insight­ful.

Leslie Graves’ musi­cal recita­tion of Child’s “Flam­ing Tart” is the sort of naughty fun Bessie Smith want­ed in her bowl:

And just before enter­ing 

Put a warm liqueur 

Over the hot caramelized sur­face…

Not, pre­sum­ably, what Child had in mind when she wrote those words, although the hap­pi­ness of her mar­riage is well doc­u­ment­ed. (If we could just have the kitchen and the bed­room, that would be all we need.”)

The link between stom­ach and heart under­scores Hilary Downes’ bossa nova-inflect­ed “Mas­ters of the Table” and Shan­non Pelcher’s gen­tle “Eat­ing” which looks past Child’s tow­er­ing culi­nary achieve­ment to her yearn­ing TV audi­ence.

I did hear a sound mid­way between an egg beat­er and some­one spin­ning beneath her Bon Appetit-engraved tomb­stone when club founder Susan Hwang slipped the phrase “walk­ing corpses” into Child’s “List of Equip­ment.” But she bal­anced the scales with a sin­cere com­pli­ment to the all-too-rare sound of Child’s unmis­tak­able voice.

(This made me so nos­tal­gic, I had to rus­tle up Dan Aykroyd’s taste­less but clas­sic imper­son­ation from 1978…)

Stuff your­self on the entire evening’s songs using the link at the top of this page.

Or, should you crave a dif­fer­ent sort of fare, join the Bush­wick Book Club on the Fry­ing Pan Octo­ber 29, when they con­sid­er The Shin­ing by Stephen King.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Julia Child Shows How to Edit Video­tape with a Meat Cleaver, and Cook Meat with a Blow Torch

Remem­ber­ing Julia Child on Her 100th Birth­day with Her Clas­sic Appear­ance on the Let­ter­man Show

How Cook­ing Can Change Your Life: A Short Ani­mat­ed Film Fea­tur­ing the Wis­dom of Michael Pol­lan

Ayun Hal­l­i­day is an author whose Zinester’s Guide to NYC inspired a pret­ty great song of its own. Fol­low her @AyunHalliday

by | Permalink | Comments (0) |

Sup­port Open Cul­ture

We’re hop­ing to rely on our loy­al read­ers rather than errat­ic ads. To sup­port Open Cul­ture’s edu­ca­tion­al mis­sion, please con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion. We accept Pay­Pal, Ven­mo (@openculture), Patre­on and Cryp­to! Please find all options here. We thank you!

Leave a Reply

Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.