Episode 7 of HBO Max’s “Julia” Offers Surprising Food for Thought

published Apr 29, 2022
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Julia: Season 1 - Episode 6
Credit: Courtesy of HBO Max

The past six episodes of Julia on HBO Max have been a lesson in persistence and a look at how hard it was for Julia Child to be a pioneer in her field. In episode 7, things reach a new low for The French Chef when she’s subjected to a number of hurtful comments by people she genuinely respects, culminating in a raking over the coals by a famous feminist writer and activist.

The episode is aptly entitled “Foie Gras.” Made of duck or goose liver, foie gras is a dish that is definitely not to everyone’s taste (and, because of the cruelty of its production, has been banned in a number of places).

There is so much to discuss in this episode — it’s the TV equivalent of a great book club selection — and it’s worth watching with your friends. Serve Julia Child’s quiche Lorraine or her Caesar salad with some good wine so you can keep the drinks flowing along with the conversation. 

If you haven’t seen this episode yet, please be advised that there are spoilers ahead.

In this episode, Julia heads to New York to be the guest of honor at a gala celebrating public television. She is thrilled to have lunch with her editor and publisher at Lutece, where she delights over her meal despite being condescended to by Blanche Knopf herself, who dismisses The French Chef, insisting “TV is fleeting.” When Julia compliments the chef, he tells her, “Let’s leave the real cooking to the men or I’ll be out of a job.”

This inspires her to rewrite her gala speech, describing her show as a “travel program,” and comparing food to a passport to the world’s cultures and history. She explains, “I cook for ordinary people, mostly women, and I tell them, ‘You have endless horizons far beyond your house, your block, your town.'” She gets a standing ovation, only to be dumped on by Betty Friedan, who informs her that she’s “not a good example” and that she’s “nicely raised the bar of what it means to be a good wife to professional levels.”

Although her director defends her, telling Friedan, “You’ve entirely missed the point of her, lady,” Julia leaves in tears. She’s comforted by a man named Fred who also works in the public television neighborhood.

What I learned from Julia: Haters gonna hate. Some people won’t understand you, some will feel threatened, some will be jealous. Forget about them and look for the helpers.

The first seven episodes of Julia are now available on HBO Max, with the eighth and final episode airing on Thursday, May 5.