More on Julia Child in Maine
I have some stunning news to share about Julia Child and me. OK, so this may not shake you to your foundation like it did to me, but here’s the scoop. I’m her ninth cousin twice removed! That’s the fun of researching your genealogy, you find connections to really cool people. It must be noted however that the ancestor that we are related through is one of 2,o48 ninth great grandparents on my side and 512 seventh great grandparents on Julia’s side. “Twice removed” just means that we are two generations apart when counted down from Sarah Harvey. I don’t know what percentage of DNA we have in common, but if we were cakes it would be at least a crumb.
Julia’s husband Paul Child had a twin brother Charles. The two couples hand-built a family retreat in the 1940s on Lopaus Point near Bernard on Blue Hill Bay. This is well over on the “quiet side” of Mt. Desert Island, far from the tourism of Bar Harbor and the exclusivity of Northeast Harbor/Seal Harbor. Julia and Paul visited frequently but when Paul died in 1994 her trips to Maine brought her to nearby Deer Isle where she stayed with a school chum from Smith College. Here she liked to drop in on local restaurants, often ending up in the kitchen to talk shop and sign her cookbooks. Always gracious, humble and generous with her time, she was worshiped by local food fans. Can I be forgiven for bragging about my genetic connection?
Those familiar with Julia’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking will be interested to find that Julia made some creative alterations to some recipes to include local Maine ingredients. Bouillabaisse à la mode de Blue Hill Bay was her localized fish stew, Moulles Marinères her mussel dish and then there was Lobster Archduke and Butter-Poached Maine Lobster. This adaptability to local ingredients was what made Julia such a good cook. I’m sure sometimes there were key ingredients missing altogether and she was forced to make do with whatever she could find. If she was like me sometimes the results were less than spectacular! But those recipes never ended up in her books.
The following sources were consulted for this article: Julia Child’s Maine by Judith Gaines, Remembering Julia Child’s summers on the Island by Tom Stevenson and ancestry.com for the genealogy.