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By May 7, 2021 Read More →

Back in Time for Lunch with Julia Child

I wonder if any of you ever got to meet Julia Child during one of several trips she and her husband Paul made to the area in the 1980s and 1990s? The closest I ever got was a glimpse of her as she passed me in the hallway at South Meadow School in 1993, when she was part of a panel debate on Mastering the Art of Fine Cooking. She was certainly a tall lady!

But I did get to hear about a private luncheon Julia had in Temple in July 1983. You see my neighbor then was Carol Mahoney and she was the cook for the luncheon.

Here’s what we know…

Julia Child and her husband Paul often traveled from their home in Cambridge, MA, to visit friends in the Monadnock Region. On July 16,Julia Child in her kitchen 1983, Julia was asked to participate in a black tie event at the home of Col. and Mrs. Joseph Petrone in Dublin. The $75-a-plate dinner (or $100-a-plate if you sat at the head table with the Childs) was to benefit Monadnock Music. Julia chose the menu and wines for the evening and Linda Stavely catered the dinner. The next day Julia and her husband attended a Monadnock Music concert in the afternoon. Before the concert, they enjoyed a luncheon with Bill Banks in Temple.

Bill asked my friend Carol Mahoney, who also worked as a cook at MacDowell Colony, to cook lunch for Paul and Julia Child and he wanted Carol to use some of his Southern recipes (Bill grew up in Georgia). Now, it was intimidating enough cooking for Julia Child but for Carol to have to use recipes that were unfamiliar to her just compounded the situation. So let’s imagine this story with a slightly different twist.

Here’s what I imagine…

What would the luncheon have included if Carol had gotten to choose what was served? And while we’re fantasizing, let’s just suppose Carol asked me to help her choose recipes and to go to Temple to assist her!

I certainly don’t think we would have chosen any of Julia’s best known recipes, so no French Onion Soup, no Quiche Lorraine, and no omelettes for lunch. We wouldn’t worry if the recipe used lots of butter because Julia was fine with that. But if the final dish was light in color, we would need to make sure we only used white pepper. Julia didn’t like to see black specs in her food.

Since this was to be a summer luncheon, our menu would need to be sometime light and refreshing. Carol brought her Common Stock Restaurant recipes when she came to MacDowell where she was known to wear ‘the vegetarian crown.’ But I also remember a great white fish recipe she shared with me, so I think the fish dish along with a nice summer salad would be a perfect choice for Julia. As for dessert, I’m thinking we would go with some homemade sorbet. Yum! 

Though my imagined menu is different from what was actually served that July day in Temple, I know Julia and Paul enjoyed the meal that was served. When Carol was introduced to the Childs at the end of the luncheon, she told me Julia said she was always happy to have someone else do the cooking. Carol was happy to have made it through the meal without any disasters and she would always remember the day she cooked for the famous Julia Child.


Here is what we ate…

Baked White Fish

Avocado Citrus Salad

Click for the recipes!

Learn more about Julia Child

Next week, we will be Back in Time for Dinner with Calvin and Grace Coolidge!


Lorraine, the Monadnock Center's Resident Culinarian  

Lorraine Walker is the Monadnock Center’s resident culinarian. When she isn’t serving up tasty treats from the Phoenix Mill House hearth, she can be found poring over historic cookbooks and local history documents in the archives.