HBO Max Just Released the First 3 Episodes of “Julia” and They’re Such a Treat

published Mar 31, 2022
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Julia season 1
Credit: Courtesy of HBO Max

Julia Child was a frequent presence in my childhood home. I was only a little girl when she first appeared on our black and white TV and I remember my mom glued to the screen as the French Chef whipped up dishes with names I had never heard before — Boeuf Bourguignon! Coq Au Vin! —  in her own inimitable and enthusiastic way.

I was fascinated as much by my mother’s obvious affection for this seemingly eccentric woman as I was with Child herself. Although my mom never missed an episode and her dog-eared copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking now sits on the kitchen shelf of her house in a senior living community, I honestly don’t think she ever made one of Child’s recipes.

So I was looking forward to watching Julia, HBO Max’s new 8-episode series, to gain some insight into the woman who was such a role model for my mom. And, after watching the first three episodes, which were just released, I get it. 

Julia focuses on Child as a pioneer, a wife, and a middle-aged woman going through menopause. She may be larger than life but she’s real. And it’s easy to see why American housewives fell in love with her.

Here’s my recap of episodes one, two and three. There are spoilers ahead, so if you care about those things, please be advised. When you do get ready to tune in though, do yourself a favor: Grab a glass of wine and savor every delicious moment.

Bon appetit! 

Episode 1: Omelette

Child is a guest on WGBH to promote her new cookbook. She surprises everyone by pulling ingredients out of her bag and making an omelette on a hot plate on live TV. She has so much fun, she decides to pitch the idea of a cooking show to the male producers, who only agree to a pilot after she offers to fund it and they taste her Queen of Sheba Cake.

Star dishes: Omelette and Queen of Sheba Cake

Julia’s take on omelettes: “I just love omelettes. They’re nothing more, really, than coagulated eggs. It’s the perfect meal and a lovely lunch. Mix three eggs, salt, fresh ground pepper and give it a good whisk. A great omelette needs a great amount of butter – I’d say a full tablespoon. Don’t be stingy, baby. Let the butter generously coat the entire surface and just before the butter turns brown, add the eggs, then gradually jerk the pan toward you. Voilà! Over she goes and there you have it — an omelette.”

Julia’s take on Queen of Sheba Cake: “It’s actually quite simple, which is one of the reasons I adore it. It’s made primarily of lots of yummy chocolate and almonds and if you ask me, it’s the best darn chocolate cake you’ve ever tasted.”

What I learned from Julia: Food has the power to change minds and making a good meal for someone can get them on your side. 

Credit: Courtesy of HBO Max

Episode 2: Coq au Vin

Child buys a TV and prepares for her pilot with help from her trusted team: her husband, best friend, female editor, and female producer. She has to figure out how to present a dish that takes four hours to cook in just 28 minutes, and their solutions pave the way for today’s cooking shows and demonstrations. The show, however, doesn’t go quite the way she hoped it would.

Star dish: Coq Au Vin

Julia’s take on Coq Au Vin: “Coq Au Vin is French for chicken and red wine — one of the best, one of the most famous French chicken dishes. It will fill your home with the marvelous aroma of sizzling bacon and garlic and herbs and onions and mushrooms and red wine. And dare I say it’s just about the most delicious coq I’ve ever put in my mouth and that’s saying something.”

What I learned from Julia: Treasure the women in your life; as Julia says, “I consider a confederacy of women an estrogen safety net.” A strong sisterhood lets you be brave and do things that have never been done before. Also, it’s OK if you drop the food you’re cooking. “If you’re alone in the kitchen, who’s going to see?”

Episode 3: Beef Bourguignon

Child’s dad comes for a visit, dampening the mood, and Child teaches cooking classes in her home to raise money to fund her show, which has been picked up by WGBH. Despite setbacks, doubt, and criticism, episode one airs.

Star dish: Boeuf Bourguignon

Julia’s take: “Boeuf means beef.” Sorry but that’s all she says about the now-classic dish that launched 201 episodes of The French Chef.

What I learned from Julia: Ignore the haters and, nevertheless, persist.

The first three episodes of Julia are now available on HBO Max with following episodes airing weekly through May 5.