Monthly Archives: March 2011

Julia Child and Avis DeVoto = great reading

Julia Child and Avis DeVoto became pen pals after Avis responded to Julia’s present of a French knife in response to Bernard DeVoto’s column on the subject.  Julia Child was not famous at the time, but an aspiring cook book author, and Avis was, as she would always be, the great supporter of those around her in Boston and beyond.  Julia Child was quite an adventurous sort, which I think came across even as she cooked on TV.  She was also quite a bit more intelligent and interesting than her public image (“Save the liver!”) would suggest.  The big surprise of this epistolary book, however, is not Julia but Avis.  Avis was a grand facilitator, a truly passionate supporter of other people’s artistic ability, and editor, a keeper of the house, a parent, a cook, and a woman who had to persevere on  her own following the sudden death of her husband.  She is given credit for finding a publishing home for Julia’s book, but seeing the process in detail really emphasizes what an outstanding person Avis really was.

There’s a lot of food, a lot of politics, and a lot of goings on; they were every bit as busy as we say we are today, and every bit as interesting.  Joan Reardon does a great job editing these letters into an intimate portrait of two buoyant lives.

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Fruit Season is a’comin’

If you want to eat more fruit, or get your kids to eat more fruit, put it where you can see it.  A pretty bowl with bananas, little clementines and apples is very inviting, and when the food is right in front of you, you’re more likely to eat it whether it’s good for you or not.  So keep the candy bars out of sight, and the fruit on the dining table.*

To keep fruits fresh, try putting out just enough for grabbing and leave the rest in the fridge.  We replenish daily after the grabbing and running are done for the day.

*and while you’re in the hammock, read Brian Wansink’s fantastic book, Mindless Eating, about experiments at Cornell proving this and other funny human tricks we play on ourselves.  Mr. Wansink is a terrific writer as well.