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S01.E07: Foie Gras

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During an awkward lunch with her publisher, Julia is unexpectedly inspired by an offhand comment.

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Did those encounters with Betty Friedan & Mr. Rogers actually happen? I think not but that was entertaining. Oh and I’m happy they didn’t elaborate on the animal torture that is foie gras. 

Edited by chediavolo
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I don't think the Betty Friedan/Julia Child encountered actually happened.  I think the writers of the show are using them (writing a fictional encounter) to discuss possible different approaches to or understanding of 1960s feminism, imagining them in conflict when they may or may not have been.

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Another great episode.  This is probably my favorite show right now.  It's wholesome, funny, irreverent, yummy and now with Mr. Rogers too!  When he first came up, I was thinking "oh no, this isn't going to be good".  But a little ways into it, I recognized him and the child in my giggled!  I almost teared up.  I know it's fiction but still.

I found this delight - https://www.wideopeneats.com/julia-child-mister-rogers/

 

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The minute he spoke I smiled and said it’s Mr. Rogers.. that has to be Mr. Rogers . That was a sweet moment 

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22 hours ago, chediavolo said:

Did those encounters with Betty Friedan & Mr. Rogers actually happen? I think not but that was entertaining.

 

17 hours ago, marybennet said:

I don't think the Betty Friedan/Julia Child encountered actually happened.  I think the writers of the show are using them (writing a fictional encounter) to discuss possible different approaches to or understanding of 1960s feminism, imagining them in conflict when they may or may not have been.

I agree that the Friedan encounter probably didn't happen.  I don't know if Friedan was a big supporter of public television but the gala seemed to be for a very specific set of people, makers of public television.  Also, I find it unlikely that she would attend a gala that honored a woman who Friedan (as portrayed in the episode) felt was a hindrance to her form of feminism.

 

ETA:

I must say that I'm not looking forward to the end of the season.  This series has been a warm, pleasant surprise and I find myself smiling when a new episode becomes available. 

Edited by grawlix
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An article in The Washington Post said that great poetic license was taken in this show. The producers said there is no documentation that Frieden and Child met, just that considering the social circles they were in, it was possible. I'd link the article, but it's behind a pay firewall.

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I almost started snapping my fingers.  Betty was making POINTS!!!!!! 😁 😁😁

Damn you guys are so smart.  Now I have to watch the ending again knowing it's Mr. Rogers.  I had no clue!

Dreaming up these celebrity encounters, it feels a bit like Forrest-Gumping Julia, doesn't it?

3 hours ago, hatchetgirl said:

Thank you

Edited by Ms Blue Jay
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“I Happen to Like New York”

Uggh.

I happen to hate that song.

But this is a really lovely show, though 

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1 hour ago, grawlix said:

I agree that the Friedan encounter probably didn't happen.  I don't know if Friedan was a big supporter of public television but the gala seemed to be for a very specific set of people, makers of public television.  Also, I find it unlikely that she would attend a gala that honored a woman who Friedan felt was a hindrance to her form of feminism.

I agree and I don't think Betty would have been so nasty to Julia.  This show has fictionalized some real life people in ways I don't think they would appreciate.  It's all to make "drama" and push whatever point the writers want to make.  They even inasmuch admit it in interviews.  I don't know how much I appreciate that.

I caught Mr. Rogers too.  As soon as she called him "Fred", I was certain of it.

One period accurate aspect of this episode was the wet towel on the forehead.  Wow, did that take me back.  Back then it was the common cure-all for everything from headaches to fevers to nausea.  Whenever my grandmother had a headache she'd put a wet towel on her forehead.
 

2 minutes ago, TimWil said:

“I Happen to Like New York”

Uggh.

I happen to hate that song.

I love Bobby Short, though, who sang it.  I used to see him in person at a restaurant in Greenwich Village way back when.  He used to perform there sometimes on weekends when he wasn't at the Carlyle Hotel.

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8 hours ago, marybennet said:

I don't think the Betty Friedan/Julia Child encountered actually happened.  I think the writers of the show are using them (writing a fictional encounter) to discuss possible different approaches to or understanding of 1960s feminism, imagining them in conflict when they may or may not have been.

It was a thinly disguised dig at modern-day lifestyle influencers, and I have a rant prepared if anyone needs to hear it and now is a very good time for us all to brush up on our Backlash by Susan Faludi, which keeps being relevant.

That said, I find great joy in good food and appreciate Julia’s efforts to elevate something ordinary into a ritual. I don’t really think she was presenting her food for daily consumption. She was a visionary. She was demonstrating what was possible in ordinary kitchens. And I have some 1960s cookbooks and the recipes are generally horrific and unappetizing and I am grateful for our improved cuisine. I’m no chef and my mother was a perfectly fine cook but we (my current family) eat much more interesting dinners now than I ate with my childhood family, even in the 1980s and 1990s.

Edited by KarenX
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I think there is an argument to be made about Julia making a career out of teaching complex meals that keep women in the kitchen cooking and then cleaning for enough hours that it can't be done by someone with a career of their own. It takes a team to do the work that Julia is asking a single housewife to do. But I don't think Betty would be making that point to Julia's face after just meeting her.

And obviously it's somewhat more complicated than just that because Julia's point of view is about celebrating and enjoying the experience of cooking and eating for yourself. The book was called Mastering the Art of French Cooking because I think to Julia, it was about developing skill for her own sake the way other people become a painter or as she said in her first speech an architect. Just because the result was a meal didn't mean that it wasn't artistry and craft.

I enjoyed the whole team getting time out of town. I think this did a lot of setting up for the end of the season and if we get a second season. Russ now has a documentary subject in mind and it might force some growth. Alice has a hot man in her life and the pull between work and settling down now exists. Judith is torn between her more prestigious work and the work she loves with Julia. Avis is putting herself out there after years being scared. And Paul, who on the last trip struggled with Julia's new path, was a pillar of support even overcoming the mild flu for her.

I figured out that it was Fred Rogers just before he said "I like you just the way you are" so those words made me cry. No one was perfect but he really did live a compassionate life. 

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1 hour ago, vibeology said:

I think there is an argument to be made about Julia making a career out of teaching complex meals that keep women in the kitchen cooking and then cleaning for enough hours that it can't be done by someone with a career of their own. It takes a team to do the work that Julia is asking a single housewife to do. But I don't think Betty would be making that point to Julia's face after just meeting her.

Again, I don't think that would have been the conclusion Betty Friedan would have jumped to.  That's a modern day rewriting of the original feminist ideology, IMHO.  My mother had a career AND made complex meals and didn't think she had to abandon her love of cooking to be a "new woman".  She enlisted the help of me and my father in the process and took the task upon herself.  No one forced or expected her to do it.  That was the goal of feminism back then, that women should have a choice in what doing whatever they wanted to do even if that meant not being the only person responsible for household chores, and that chores should be distributed more equally.  It wasn't about women either making a choice between career and home or this "women can and should do it all" stuff that came along later.  Julia's focus was to engage people that loved cooking and to inspire them to discover the joys of cooking, not to confirm a woman's status as being a homemaker and nothing else.  After all she was far from that herself and never pushed being a homemaker upon anyone.  In many ways she embodied the feminist ideology that women should do whatever it is that they want to do, whether that's cooking or working or even starring in their own TV show about cooking.  She was very empowering for my mother and many women back then, and I still don't think that would have been lost on Betty Friedan.  It's a very surface and IMO unfair template to put on Betty that she would have been so two dimensional not to see that.  Plus I don't think they know Betty Friedan that well.  She often clashed with other prominent feminists and later on in her career denounced the second wave of feminism in the 20th century for going too far and creating an "overworked superwoman" that turned men off, for which she was roundly criticized.  It's just par for the course these days that TV shows don't even know their subjects and take too many liberties with portraying actual historical figures in general.

Edited by Yeah No
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24 minutes ago, Yeah No said:

That was the goal of feminism back then, that women should have a choice in what doing whatever they wanted to do

Yes!  That’s the essence of feminism, plain and simple.  I think a lot of people don’t realize that, people who say, “I’m not a feminist, but…”

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34 minutes ago, TomGirl said:

Yes!  That’s the essence of feminism, plain and simple.  I think a lot of people don’t realize that, people who say, “I’m not a feminist, but…”

Exactly! I agree with some of what Betty Friedan said, but I don’t think she really understood Julia as a person and what she was doing. Nor do I think that Julia really understood where Betty was coming from. Julia worked, but she came from a family with money, and  ended up living a rather glamorous life overseas. For many of the housewives who were watching her show every day, learning about French cooking was the closest they would ever get to France, or any other foreign country. My mom was one of those housewives. 

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1 hour ago, Yeah No said:

After all she was far from that herself and never pushed being a homemaker upon anyone.

She didn’t, but I don’t think she understood that many of the women watching her show were already homemakers with husbands and kids, who didn’t have much of a choice at that point. That changed for women in the 70s, in large part due to feminists like Friedan. More women began to work outside the home and it was more accepted by society. Of course, most who did work outside of the home also ended up working doing most of the work at home (and this is still the case for too many women). But in the early 60s, most women who we’re already established homemakers with small children were stuck in that role. 

Edited by Cinnabon
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1 hour ago, Yeah No said:

That was the goal of feminism back then, that women should have a choice in what doing whatever they wanted to do even if that meant not being the only person responsible for household chores, and that chores should be distributed more equally.  It wasn't about women either making a choice between career and home or this "women can and should do it all" stuff that came along later. 

I think the goal of feminism was to get women to think differently about who they were and to be equals to men. Gender-traditional roles were being questioned, and encouraging women to spend more time in the kitchen would not have been seen as groundbreaking.

Julia wanted to share that a person, with a little bit of knowledge, could enjoy fine dining in their own homes. I don't think she was thinking about "liberating" anyone, except Americans from dismal cuisine.  The fight for equal pay and equal consideration was really heating up. Which the show has touched on beautifully with Alice's' character added to the story. She's fighting to be recognized for her ideas and abilities, to be a career woman. We've seen how condescending the men are to all of the women. They aren't doing it out evil intent, but rather how they have been trained to act toward women. Russ is historical to this story, but I don't like him very much.  Julia's show is beneath him, he keeps harping on creating shows that are illuminating and thought-provoking, and although he's doing a fine job producing the French Chef, he feels less than, because it's a woman's show for women, as he sees it, and pure fluff. Julia (and Alice) have proved him wrong time and again, but still he doesn't see it.  Even Blanche Knopf was assigning Julia to a "traditional" role as ONLY a cookbook author and not as valuable as John Updike because he wrote novels (and was a man). I laughed when she said television was a fad and wouldn't last. 

Even Julia, instead of being honest with Paul about paying for the food themselves, etc., decided to "handle" him. She has been shown as able to charm people quite effectively, although, in this episode, she didn't completely charm the chef at Lutece, Blanche Knopf, or Betty Friedan. 

It's clear that Julia and Paul loved each other very much and were able to adapt to their roles changing. And I have enjoyed watching this version of their relationship. Paul knew she was special, and once he realized that the cooking show would be successful for her, he became very supportive, but I think he was surprised, at first, at her ability to do a show. (He also thought television was a fad. )

I don't know if the creators of this show are hoping for another season, but I have quite enjoyed seeing parts of Boston in the show as well as the story.  Julia has charmed me as well.  

Edited by cardigirl
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I’ve read The Feminine Mystique once and it made good points. Burdens in the book were things like fresh baked cookies after school EVERY DAY and no one made beds in the morning because you were supposed to launder sheets EVERY DAY.

A once a week television show about challenging yourself to make art—which was alluded to by Paul in the episode while Julia was writing her speech—is not about performing drudgery.

But it’s likely that then, as now, the show or assumptions about the show were talked about more broadly to prove other people’s points, for and against “housewife” as a concept. Possibly caught up in a larger conversation about what public television was for and whether public money should be spent on boring things like women and children (Mr Rogers), and the plebes with “TVs.” Also against a backdrop of civil rights ascendency (which itself is concurrent with a withdrawal from taxes as public duty and civic-mindedness.

You guys! There is so much packed into this episode!! I didn’t mean to end up in this place when I started typing with one thumb on a phone about cookies.

What Real Julia and Real Betty actually thought was not the point of the scene. The show is adding things for temporal color, to put Julia in a context for modern viewers.

 

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25 minutes ago, KarenX said:

What Real Julia and Real Betty actually thought was not the point of the scene. The show is adding things for temporal color, to put Julia in a context for modern viewers.

I would be OK with this if I didn't feel it was putting it in the wrong context.  Issues shouldn't only be interpreted through the lens of a modern point of view.  People still refer to the classics and the seminal writers of anything, be it art, philosophy or feminism for a reason, because without that context to ground you, you can forget the lessons of history.

35 minutes ago, cardigirl said:

Julia wanted to share that a person, with a little bit of knowledge, could enjoy fine dining in their own homes. I don't think she was thinking about "liberating" anyone, except Americans from dismal cuisine.  The fight for equal pay and equal consideration was really heating up. Which the show has touched on beautifully with Alice's' character added to the story. She's fighting to be recognized for her ideas and abilities, to be a career woman. We've seen how condescending the men are to all of the women. They aren't doing it out evil intent, but rather how they have been trained to act toward women. Russ is historical to this story, but I don't like him very much.  Julia's show is beneath him, he keeps harping on creating shows that are illuminating and thought-provoking, and although he's doing a fine job producing the French Chef, he feels less than, because it's a woman's show for women, as he sees it, and pure fluff. Julia (and Alice) have proved him wrong time and again, but still he doesn't see it.  Even Blanche Knopf was assigning Julia to a "traditional" role as ONLY a cookbook author and not as valuable as John Updike because he wrote novels (and was a man). I laughed when she said television was a fad and wouldn't last. 

No, she wasn't about liberating anyone but she walked the walk even though she didn't necessarily see it that way.  She in a way similar to the modern women today that "don't consider themselves feminists" because of some later ideology that turned them off to it.  Plus I think she wisely didn't want to make what she was doing about that because she didn't see that as her role and she didn't want to be controversial, just teach her subject.  I don't know for sure but I don't think she had anything against the original sentiments of feminism.  She herself came out of a culture of an earlier suffragist movement or she would never have felt free to pursue her ambitions.  She came out of an upper crust WASP culture that sent their women to college and encouraged them to pursue their passions, within parameters of acceptability for the time, but every woman was constrained by those parameters by society, even Betty Friedan, as she has admitted about her early life.  In some ways I get this because Julia is my 6th cousin twice removed, LOL and one of my good friends is also related to her - his mother was a McWilliams.

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I really didn't think I was going to enjoy this show as much as I do. I started watching because I'm a fan of Sarah Lancashire. She has me totally believing she is Julia Child.  I hope she gets Emmy recognition this season for her portrayal. 

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Cried big, sloppy tears at the end of this episode. The moment with Fred Rogers was just so dear and so wonderfully framed with Julia’s emotions. Really well done. 

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On 4/28/2022 at 10:19 PM, Yeah No said:

This show has fictionalized some real life people in ways I don't think they would appreciate.  It's all to make "drama" and push whatever point the writers want to make.  They even inasmuch admit it in interviews.  I don't know how much I appreciate that.

This show concerns/bothers me in the same way that The Crown does:  how can showrunners take such exaggerated poetic license with actual people just because they are public figures?  The same was true the the move: The Social Network: the director admitted he wanted to tell a particular story and Mark Zuckerberg's personal life and private conversations were altered to fit his cautionary tale of success. 
The disclaimer notice at the beginning should at least be much more prominent.. 

I am happy to watch Julia: The Accidental Feminist.  She, with her own career and college degree, showed what was possible for (some) women -- even though Lucille Ball had already blazed trails in the entertainment industry.  
This fictionalized Betty Friedan came off as a bully.  She could have easily expressed her opinions more graciously, starting her rant with "I worry that .."  But that would probably not be dramatic enough to suit the showrunners.

Attacking Julia Child for celebrating the art of cooking is like criticizing Bob Ross for painting  -- both are sharing the thing they are passionate about.  The reaction of (fictional) Betty Friedan sems like petty jealousy because people enjoy being entertained instead of being lectured to. 

Edited by shrewd.buddha
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4 hours ago, shrewd.buddha said:

This show concerns/bothers me in the same way that The Crown does:  how can showrunners take such exaggerated poetic license with actual people just because they are public figures

They’re using artistic license. 
 

Artistic license allows artists to distort facts, change rules or omit details to improve their work of art. It also is often referred to as historical license or poetic license, though it also can be called narrative license. While it is expected to be tolerated by audiences for the sake of the art, it may offend some viewers, who might be annoyed when their favorite work of art is altered by an artist to create a new piece. In general, artistic license allows artists to be creative without getting into legal trouble for distorting real life or modifying original art to create new artistic objects.

https://www.wise-geek.com/what-is-an-artistic-license.htm

ETA - Betty Friedan did come off as kind of a “bully” in real life, too, at times. 
 

 

Edited by Cinnabon
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I found it interesting that they included both the pointed remarks from the male French chef to Julia and the scene of the employed-full-time, very busy, African American woman saying she had made all of Julia's recipes as a sharp contrast to fauxBetty's comments. Granted, the only other portrayals of Friedan I've seen are also fictionalized (see Mrs. America), but I have little difficulty believing she'd think or share these exact ideas, but I do wonder at Julia's not having a swift comeback for such comments (especially since fictionalized Julia said she'd bought Friedan's book -- presumably knowing exactly what it was about). *shrugs*

I will add to the chorus of folks who instantly knew Mr. Rogers as soon as the actor invoked that voice and teared up upon hearing a phrase from him that will likely always turn us Gen-Xers into a sappy mess, "I like you just the way you are." *sniff*

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21 minutes ago, tljgator said:

I found it interesting that they included both the pointed remarks from the male French chef to Julia and the scene of the employed-full-time, very busy, African American woman saying she had made all of Julia's recipes as a sharp contrast to fauxBetty's comments. Granted, the only other portrayals of Friedan I've seen are also fictionalized (see Mrs. America), but I have little difficulty believing she'd think or share these exact ideas, but I do wonder at Julia's not having a swift comeback for such comments (especially since fictionalized Julia said she'd bought Friedan's book -- presumably knowing exactly what it was about). *shrugs*

I will add to the chorus of folks who instantly knew Mr. Rogers as soon as the actor invoked that voice and teared up upon hearing a phrase from him that will likely always turn us Gen-Xers into a sappy mess, "I like you just the way you are." *sniff*

I don’t remember, was the woman who told Julia she’d made all of her recipes married?

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1 hour ago, Cinnabon said:

I don’t remember, was the woman who told Julia she’d made all of her recipes married?

In this episode, she was the woman Russell was interviewing with about his documentary...he presumed she'd think producing a cooking show was frivolous, and then she proceeded to fawn over The French Chef (also a telling bit). I don't think we heard enough about her personal life to know if she was married, but I could be wrong.

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I have a complicated reaction to this episode because I think it trivializes what feminism was about and reduces Betty Friedan to some kind of shrill impolite harpie.

I minored in American Studies which was essentially assumed that we knew standard American history very thoroughly so instead of concentrating on grand historical events and famous figures, we used almost an anthropological approach in terms of trying to understand why it was like for the "little people" - obviously they were impacted by the great events but also how the culture evolved. 

The whole ideal of woman as a "housewife" didn't really exist until the 19th century industrialization when there came to be a separation of work existing in factories or offices where men for the most part worked and "housework" which occurred in the home. Prior to that men and women generally shared labor together and were equally responsible for enabling the family unit to survive - on farms but also in the kinds of very small businesses that were run out of the home. The 19th century begat what is called the "cult of true womanhood" in which woman were viewed as the moral center of the home in the middle and upper classes - I am over simplifying but it is interesting in terms of how this very genteel view of women was a relatively recently cultural invention of the western countries because the older role of economic helpmate no longer worked completely since the domains of household management and earning a salary were divided.

There are so interesting books on the history of housework and other "woman's work" such as cooking, knitting and even cleaning the house. Suffice it to say that there was a revolution of rising expectations in which the bar was continually raised in terms of what was expected of a good housewife. So labor saving devices didn't really save labor to some extent - you didn't have to beat your rug physically by hauling it outside but now you were expected to hoover it frequently. 

There is a fascinating history of Erma Rombauer who wrote The Joy of Cooking originally in the 1920's. It was as much of a culinary revolution as Julia was in the 1960's. Joy was released right after WW I when the middle class (and even the upper middle professional class) was losing its cheap servants so woman who had never had a need to cook before now had to learn how to cook because they no longer had a cheap in-house cook. Irma herself was a product of this as she was upper middle class but became impoverished when her husband committed suicide and so the original Joy was an attempt to make some money. 

And reading old cookbooks and how the cuisine evolved is really a fascinating look into cultural history. I used to collect vintage cookbooks and "community cookbooks". The originally Pillsbury Bakeoff (for example) began in 1949 when women were literally being propagandized back into their homes and out of the labor force to make room for the returning GI's. The baked goods were fabulous in the early days while the savory main dishes were very unsophisticated and often seem to be repulsive. Over the years that changed and baked goods are now almost completely dumbed down and the savory dishes are more "sophisticated" - albeit it not really what one would call "gourmet".

And I had no idea it was Mr. Rogers as I assumed "Fred" was Fred Silverman who was a seminal television executive and producer. I thought he would have recognized the brilliance of a cooking show appealing to the masses given that the whole genre is now such an integral part of television programming from upscale America's Test Kitchen to the ridiculous pandering of HGTV shows which aren't intended to educate people in techniques. 

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On 4/30/2022 at 11:24 AM, Cinnabon said:

I don’t remember, was the woman who told Julia she’d made all of her recipes married?

 

On 4/30/2022 at 12:33 PM, tljgator said:

In this episode, she was the woman Russell was interviewing with about his documentary...he presumed she'd think producing a cooking show was frivolous, and then she proceeded to fawn over The French Chef (also a telling bit). I don't think we heard enough about her personal life to know if she was married, but I could be wrong.

Although the woman didn't  say if she was married or not, it did look like she had a ring on her finger during the scene.

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22 hours ago, amarante said:

And I had no idea it was Mr. Rogers as I assumed "Fred" was Fred Silverman who was a seminal television executive and producer. I thought he would have recognized the brilliance of a cooking show appealing to the masses given that the whole genre is now such an integral part of television programming from upscale America's Test Kitchen to the ridiculous pandering of HGTV shows which aren't intended to educate people in techniques. 

I guess since i was a kid that grew up with him and that voice is why i was automatically thinking its MR ROGERS OMG ... then when he did the "I like you just the way you are" ... that sealed it cause that's his whole stick .. i had no idea they really met until i googled it tho :)

Edited by Keywestclubkid
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Between sweet Alice falling in love and dear Mr. Rogers consoling Julia, I'm smiling while crying. I remember watching The French Chef when I was a tiny girl (because...3 channels) and always thought she lived in exotic France. What a lovely, delightful show this is.

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The male French chef is Andre Soltner, who was chef at Lutece.   No idea if he was hostile to the idea of women chefs or if he’s being used the way Betty Friedan is, to articulate a common view and give Julia a very bad day when she might have been feeling triumphant. That’s what I wonder about:  why does the episode want her to have that experience of being dismissed three times, by Knopf and Soltner and Friedan?

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1 hour ago, marybennet said:

The male French chef is Andre Soltner, who was chef at Lutece.   No idea if he was hostile to the idea of women chefs or if he’s being used the way Betty Friedan is, to articulate a common view and give Julia a very bad day when she might have been feeling triumphant. That’s what I wonder about:  why does the episode want her to have that experience of being dismissed three times, by Knopf and Soltner and Friedan?

The show’s creators have said:

Julia Season One executive producers Daniel Goldfarb and Christopher Keyser have stated that one of the questions the series explores is if Julia Child represents feminism or traditional values of femininity. ” Foie Gras” delves into this during her explosive conversation with Betty Friedan.

https://awardsradar.com/2022/04/28/tv-recap-julia-season-1-episode-7-foie-gras-questions-of-ethics/

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9 hours ago, Cinnabon said:

Julia Season One executive producers Daniel Goldfarb and Christopher Keyser have stated that one of the questions the series explores is if Julia Child represents feminism or traditional values of femininity.

Huh. I don’t see it that way. I see the dichotomy of “feminism” vs “personal fulfillment.”

What isn’t clear to me: is the show airing, in Boston or anywhere, during the workday or in the evening when everyone is home? Is it explicitly targeted at women?

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4 minutes ago, KarenX said:

Huh. I don’t see it that way. I see the dichotomy of “feminism” vs “personal fulfillment.”

What isn’t clear to me: is the show airing, in Boston or anywhere, during the workday or in the evening when everyone is home? Is it explicitly targeted at women?

I wondered about that, too. I was assuming that her show aired during the day, but I’m not sure. 

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2 hours ago, KarenX said:

What isn’t clear to me: is the show airing, in Boston or anywhere, during the workday or in the evening when everyone is home? Is it explicitly targeted at women?

 

2 hours ago, Cinnabon said:

I wondered about that, too. I was assuming that her show aired during the day, but I’m not sure. 

I’m sure they’ve showed people watching it in more than one episode and it definitely seemed like it was in the evening. 

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Best I can find, the shows aired on Saturdays. So far, I haven't found a time of day, but people would have, for the most part, been home on Saturdays.

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22 hours ago, Cinnabon said:
23 hours ago, marybennet said:

The male French chef is Andre Soltner, who was chef at Lutece.   No idea if he was hostile to the idea of women chefs or if he’s being used the way Betty Friedan is, to articulate a common view and give Julia a very bad day when she might have been feeling triumphant. That’s what I wonder about:  why does the episode want her to have that experience of being dismissed three times, by Knopf and Soltner and Friedan?

The show’s creators have said:

Julia Season One executive producers Daniel Goldfarb and Christopher Keyser have stated that one of the questions the series explores is if Julia Child represents feminism or traditional values of femininity. ” Foie Gras” delves into this during her explosive conversation with Betty Friedan.

https://awardsradar.com/2022/04/28/tv-recap-julia-season-1-episode-7-foie-gras-questions-of-ethics/

Thanks, Cinnabon.  My question is a little different, though. It’s not about the challenge of feminism. It’s about that moment when you might feel yourself to be riding high, and the world (your life, your day, chance) knocks you down.  In tripling the bad events of Julia”s day, the show is giving her that experience, and I’m trying to think about why or about what issues it raises for us as viewers watching her. 

Edited by marybennet

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On 4/30/2022 at 1:02 PM, tljgator said:

I found it interesting that they included both the pointed remarks from the male French chef to Julia and the scene of the employed-full-time, very busy, African American woman saying she had made all of Julia's recipes as a sharp contrast to fauxBetty's comments. Granted, the only other portrayals of Friedan I've seen are also fictionalized (see Mrs. America), but I have little difficulty believing she'd think or share these exact ideas, but I do wonder at Julia's not having a swift comeback for such comments (especially since fictionalized Julia said she'd bought Friedan's book -- presumably knowing exactly what it was about). *shrugs*

I found it interesting that Julia didn't react but only because it sounds like the real Julia agreed with him. She wanted men to be the professional chefs.  She'd still encourage and mentor women but she probably wouldn't have disagreed with his statement.

13 hours ago, KarenX said:

What isn’t clear to me: is the show airing, in Boston or anywhere, during the workday or in the evening when everyone is home? Is it explicitly targeted at women?

The premiere definitely aired in the evening. 

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11 hours ago, SoMuchTV said:

I’m sure they’ve showed people watching it in more than one episode and it definitely seemed like it was in the evening. 

11 hours ago, chessiegal said:

Best I can find, the shows aired on Saturdays. So far, I haven't found a time of day, but people would have, for the most part, been home on Saturdays.

Based on my memory, which at this point is understandably dim because it was so long ago, the show aired during the day at first, probably for a few seasons.  I could buy that it was on Saturday because I would have been in school during the day and unable to watch it if it aired on a weekday.  Unless it aired after school but I don't remember.  It is also possible that the show was repeated at different times of the day and on different days of the week too.

I remember that later seasons getting closer to the '70s, especially the ones with the newer, bigger set that transitioned into color aired in the evenings.  I forget if they were on weekends or weekdays.  

14 hours ago, KarenX said:

Is it explicitly targeted at women?

I don't remember Julia or the show promos ever saying that the show was for women or "housewives".

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53 minutes ago, Irlandesa said:

I found it interesting that Julia didn't react but only because it sounds like the real Julia agreed with him. She wanted men to be the professional chefs.  She'd still encourage and mentor women but she probably wouldn't have disagreed with his statement.

I would never assume that.  Women didn't get all in up in anyone's face back then, especially men, but that doesn't imply any kind of tacit agreement going on.  Let's remember that Julia was a woman who refused to go to the class at Le Cordon Bleu aimed at housewives.  No, she wanted the full all-male professional program because she knew it was a better education.  And she didn't care if the men grumbled about it.  They probably didn't take her seriously but put up with her like a "silly female".  I just don't think she was the type of person to get militant or ideological about anything but walked the walk anyway.  This was a time when most women were not yet "woke" to feminism but that doesn't mean they wouldn't have agreed with it if they understood it.  And I think the way Julia chose to live her life showed that she agreed with it even if she wasn't yet "woke" to it the way we are today.  She just didn't want to get political about anything and probably resisted any leanings that way in large part because that's not what she wanted to be primarily about.  She also didn't want to be a divisive figure either.  She saw her role to impart her knowledge to anyone that might be interested and benefit from it.  She never came off as a "Suzy Homemaker" type or focused on cooking as a way to cater to men, or that men and their cooking was superior in any way.  As I've said before, if she even gave a WHIFF of that off my feminist mother would never have loved her so much.

Edited by Yeah No
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1 hour ago, Yeah No said:

I would never assume that.  Women didn't get all in up in anyone's face back then, especially men, but that doesn't imply any kind of tacit agreement going on. 

 

My thoughts come from an article (I'm retroactively spoiler tagging the link only because the whole article might contain spoilers about her life that we don't know yet--although I think most has lightly already been alluded to even if she didn't react here the way she might have in actuality. )

Spoiler

 "Just a Pinch of Prejudice" from the Boston Globe.

  It's a profile on Julia. There's too much to copy here.  The whole article is interesting but the relevant section begins with the bolded "One of Julia's long time ambitions."  It's maybe a little more complex in that part of he driving force was to have cooking legitimized and she felt only straight men could really get it done but that's why I don't think she'd be completely opposed to his statement.

Edited by Irlandesa

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16 minutes ago, Irlandesa said:

My thoughts come from the article "Just a Pinch of Prejudice" from the Boston Globe.  It's a profile on Julia. There's too much to copy here.  The whole article is interesting but the relevant section begins with the bolded "One of Julia's long time ambitions."  It's maybe a little more complex in that part of he driving force was to have cooking legitimized and she felt only straight men could really get it done but that's why I don't think she'd be completely opposed to his statement.

I think that's a misinterpretation of her.  She only said those things because men were more "fearless" than women, but I wouldn't assume she felt they were naturally that way, just that women needed to be less fearful because there was no reason they couldn't cook well themselves.  She was reacting to a self-limiting self perception that women still suffer from today thanks to social conditioning.  And she was the one to help them out of that.  She was always telling the home cook to have the courage to make mistakes.  The reason she was all for straight men as chefs is because it ultimately proved that cooking was not inherently "women's work" as it was commonly seen back then.  The fact that men were making it a profession helped to lift cooking out of the drudgery of housework and into a respectable craft.  And she actually saw that as liberating for women.  If men were going to respect cooking as a craft it became elevated and so if women approached it that way and saw themselves as learning a respectable craft rather than fulfilling the subservient and lackluster duties of being a housewife, this elevates them out of that.  This was definitely not lost on my mother.  It was incredibly freeing for her to feel like she could have permission to emulate the snobby French MALE chefs and achieve something like what they did at home.  And believe me, she did.  For years after my mother died, when I went to French restaurants I tasted her food.  And it was all thanks to Julia.  Julia was ahead of her time, actually.  She may not have had the ideology we have now but she definitely walked the walk in many ways.

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Here's the WGBH program schedule for October, 1963. "The French Chef" was aired on Monday at 8PM and on Wednesday at 3PM. Look at both the Program Notes and the actual schedule (two different documents.) It also gives information on which recipes were being shown during that month. Note that it seems like most of the daytime schedule is occupied by school-related programming.

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Here are the "Program Notes" from August 1962, which seems to be shortly after the show premiered. Note that they are calling her "Mrs. CHILDS," not "Child."

image.png

 

Edited by J-Man
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On 5/5/2022 at 4:46 AM, marybennet said:

why does the episode want her to have that experience of being dismissed three times, by Knopf and Soltner and Friedan?

Yeah, that's a fair question,  but I found the conflict interesting. Knopf has a low opinion of television. Even now, it's not uncommon for people to believe that TV is trash. Back in the eighteenth century, novels were thought of as frivolous rubbish for women, much the way people dismiss soap operas today. Snobbery about different forms of art is nothing new,  even if art forms change with new  technology. I love that Blanche and Paul both thought that TV was a fad! Twenty years ago I thought downloading music was a fad! 😆

Anyway, that snobbery is a big part of what makes Russell interesting. I think he's snobby about TV even though he works there. He believes theatre and literature are higher forms of art. And he's sexist and dismissive of women's interests so he undervalues his own show. He's embarrassed to tell the documentary maker what he does!

Soltner is plain sexist, while Friedan thinks Julia is on the wrong side of the fight against sexism. That conflict reminds me of the backlash to the success of one of Nigella Lawson's first cookbooks. Lawson called her baking book "How to be a Domestic Goddess", and when it became enormously successful, and 'domestic goddess' was part of the cultural zeitgeist, and cupcakes were an unavoidable phenomenon, there was criticism that Lawson was raising the bar for women. Like, this is another thing you have to be? A cupcake-making domestic goddess in addition to killing it at work and looking perfect at all times? Lawson explained that she had meant the title as a joke! She always felt like an awkward, slapdash person who was anything *but* a domestic goddess. But once the book was published, the concept had a life of its own.

Edited by Kirsty
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17 hours ago, Kirsty said:

Anyway, that snobbery is a big part of what makes Russell interesting. I think he's snobby about TV even though he works there. He believes theatre and literature are higher forms of art. And he's sexist and dismissive of women's interests so he undervalues his own show. He's embarrassed to tell the documentary maker what he does!

I think the real Russ Morash is far more interesting and could have been made so on this show without turning him into a sexist, elitist douche.  And the real Russell Morash, who is still very much alive and well is now on record as being livid over the way this show has chosen to portray him because it couldn't be further from the truth.  I saw him on a PBS Zoom Webinar tonight airing his feelings about this and don't blame him one bit.  There's poetic license, and then there's character assassination.  And based on what I know about Betty Friedan I don't feel her portrayal was any more realistic.  Using poetic license is a poor excuse for bad writing and devaluing very real people.  I have to wonder what they were thinking when they did this.  Betty Friedan can't defend herself, but good for Russ Morash for not taking it sitting down.

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On 5/1/2022 at 11:25 AM, amarante said:

And I had no idea it was Mr. Rogers as I assumed "Fred" was Fred Silverman who was a seminal television executive and producer. I thought he would have recognized the brilliance of a cooking show appealing to the masses given that the whole genre is now such an integral part of television programming from upscale America's Test Kitchen to the ridiculous pandering of HGTV shows which aren't intended to educate people in techniques. 

I think he just realized she was upset and wanted to comfort her.

On 5/4/2022 at 11:46 PM, marybennet said:

The male French chef is Andre Soltner, who was chef at Lutece.   No idea if he was hostile to the idea of women chefs or if he’s being used the way Betty Friedan is, to articulate a common view and give Julia a very bad day when she might have been feeling triumphant. That’s what I wonder about:  why does the episode want her to have that experience of being dismissed three times, by Knopf and Soltner and Friedan?

I wonder if Paul would have responded to either Knopf or Soltner if he had been at lunch.  I suppose that's one of the reasons he had to have the flu, in-story.

On 5/5/2022 at 1:25 PM, chessiegal said:

Best I can find, the shows aired on Saturdays. So far, I haven't found a time of day, but people would have, for the most part, been home on Saturdays.

On 5/6/2022 at 12:31 AM, Irlandesa said:

The premiere definitely aired in the evening. 

The premiere aired at 8 pm.

On 5/7/2022 at 1:18 PM, J-Man said:

Here's the WGBH program schedule for October, 1963. "The French Chef" was aired on Monday at 8PM and on Wednesday at 3PM. Look at both the Program Notes and the actual schedule (two different documents.) It also gives information on which recipes were being shown during that month. Note that it seems like most of the daytime schedule is occupied by school-related programming.

That makes sense, because in the early 60's, most families had only one tv, and if it only aired at night, this would mean that husbands who were not interested in the show would have to cede the television to their wives in the evening for a cooking show, and I bet many of them would not be happy to do so.

I also wonder how people were able to cook these meals.  Did they take copious notes during these half-hour shows?  That would have spoiled the fun of watching.  Or did they watch in the evening and then take notes during the daytime rerun?  Were the recipes published in the local paper?

 

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On 5/4/2022 at 10:46 PM, marybennet said:

  why does the episode want her to have that experience of being dismissed three times, by Knopf and Soltner and Friedan?

Because it is the classic Hero's journey.  The Hero faces 3 obsticles and fails then meets a hero who helps guiding them to the next part of the journey.   It is just classic story telling.  Julia is beat down by these three dismissals and she loses courage and direction for a moment before Paul comes through in a big way accepting his own place as her right hand helpmate fully and allowing her to not only go back in for season 2 but also to demand time for herself to continue on with her other equally to her important heroes quests.    

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I finally watched this, and loved Mr. Rogers at the end. I didn't watch his show, but now I wish that I had. 

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