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To say that at this point in my life I am resistant to another Julia Child-related anything would be to criminally undersell the word “resistant.”

There are the cookbooks. The TV shows. The TV shows about the cookbooks. The blog. The book about the blogs. The movie about the book about the blog. Meryl Streep doing Julia Child. The drag queens. The drag queens doing Meryl Streep doing Julia Child. There’s even a cooking competition on The Food Network right now that is vaguely sort of almost but not quite in the ballparkish area about thinking about being related to Julia (it’s not, really, but it’s gentle and sweet and I like that they all eat together during the judging).

It’s a lot to take in and all of it on top of one another really does spoil my appetite for anything else Child-related.

And now here comes HBO Max, dragging their limited series Julia into the kitchen. If I knew French, je jurerais à haute voix en ce moment!

But … it’s a complete charmer. So now I have to eat all those unpronounceable French words and tell you to watch it. It’s mainly about the creation of Child’s WGBH public television show The French Chef, and I always like things that are about people making things. That she’s making a television show hits me in the same feels that watching her make a croquembouche does. (SIDEBAR: here she is on Facebook doing just that with Martha, who manages to throw some shade at Julia in that way Martha never quite knows she’s doing, “Well, yours is … the country style”).

It’s fun to watch the creation of what was essentially the very first cooking show; things we take for granted—like having the finished product cooked in advance and in a second oven—struck the creators of The French Chef like thunderbolts. The show is scaled in such a way that little things like that become hugely thrilling for the characters and for us.

If the stakes for us as viewers feel a little low (we know the show becomes a massive hit and it’s not like there’s a murder to solve, though I’ve only seen the first three episodes, so who knows? I mean, I would totally watch a Julia-Child-solves-murders show), that’s okay. The strength (and thrill) of the show is in the casting: along the way, we get (in variously sized parts) Isabella Rossellini, Judith Light, James Cromwell, David Hyde Pierce, and Bebe Neuwirth (who gets perilously close to stealing the whole thing) and, above all, Sarah Lancashire, who is so good in it that it almost brings tears to my eyes. As I’ve mentioned before, the only thing that moves me more than people making things is people making things who are really good at it. Sarah Lancashire is really good at it.

It’s a rich stew—there are outfits and suitcases and lamps and copper pots to look at. Vintage televisions. Shiny red cars. Bon appétit!

About The Author

DG Strong took up knitting in 2014. He lives in Nashville with his sister, her rat terrier and a hound dog named Opal. He has a blog of drawings and faintly ridiculous rambling called The Psychopedia—there are worse ways to spend your afternoon.


  • The most fun Julia Child offering I seen is the Opera about Julia making a cake on Television. It is wonderful!

    • “Julia” was fabulous! I loved every minute and Sarah Lancashire was amazing. And thank you for the video of Julia with Martha. You made my morning.

  • I’m also enjoying Julia and didn’t realize how vulnerable and insecure she was.
    Also rewatched a few Dan Aynkroid French Chef skits so funny.

    If you enjoy Sarah Lancanshire that que up Hidden Valley and Last Tango in Halifax both great brit shows.

    • I’m a huge Sarah Lancanshire fan and those are two of my favorites! Loving this new production. I was surprised as so much has been done on Julia Child lately as was mentioned. But different and worthwhile. What a cast!

    • Thanks, DG. We just gave it a shot here and absolutely love it.

  • Now I want to get HBO.

  • Great review! I’m also eating this series up with a ladle!!

  • I was so delighted to find this show on HBO Max as I love both Julia Child and Sarah Lancashire. I am mystified, however, why HBO is only making it available on HBO Max (I think?) and why they have given it almost zero publicity?

    • My theory about why they do this with some shows is that the broadcast channel schedule is full, whereas they have an infinite amount of space on the streaming platform – and it needs to have a robust library. And “Julia” might be more of a niche thing anyway.

  • Merci, je suis d’accord que c’est un spectacle fabuleux! (Thank you, I agree it’s a fabulous show!)

  • “I would totally watch a Julia-Child-solves-murders show” Yessssss! Me too.

  • It is great and joyous, isn’t it?

    • I watched the first episode on YouTube. Almost made me want to subscribe to HBO, but I resisted.

  • I know perfectly well I will never watch this show for a bunch of reasons but i certainly enjoyed reading about it, DG, as I do everything you write. Thanks and keep them coming.

  • It’s just great, isn’t it?

  • My husband and I are watching and it is so good. He’s out of town for a brief photo trip and I’m waiting until he’s back so we can watch the next episode together.

  • Thanks for the tip! Didn’t know.

  • I, too, would totally watch a Julia-Child-solves-murders show. And at the end of each episode, they would all sit down to eat together.

    • I saw that Martha Stewart show with Julia when it happened, and I hated Martha for embarrassing Julia with a too-perfect production. Julia’s was lopsided and lovable.

      • Oh, I didn’t think Julia was embarrassed – she did point out that hers was lopsided first. Martha’s gonna Martha, god love her.

        • Julia just looked old at that point, and Martha is always so exasperatingly perfect. The Julia show is great – we’re all enjoying it. And Russell Morash did go on to produce Crockett’s Victory Garden which was filmed right in the GBH parking lot! I’m not sure if he initiated This Old House too, but that show is still running.

    • Make it so, HBO!

  • Can’t wait for the next episode – #5. And we take overhead mirrors for granted too. I remember watching other Rus Morash shows. The Victory Garden with his wife doing a quick 5 min cooking segment with the harvested veggies. I wonder where they got the idea to put in a cooking segment on a garden show? Lol. Julia is a delight.

  • We are also thoroughly enjoying Julia…I grew up with her shows on PBS and as you said, it’s so interesting to see more about how the program evolved.

  • Yes, I’ve been watching, and it’s lovely.

  • One day in 1965(?) my husband came home from class and told me his Method acting teacher, Uta Hagen, had assigned the class to watch Julia Child, who maybe 25 people in NYC had ever heard of at that point. Uta Hagen said she was the most natural and real performer she’d ever seen. That was it for us – Julia ended up teaching us both to cook, one show or recipe at a time, with skills we would never have learned from family!

    I have since met several people who worked on the early series who say she was truly exactly what you saw on TV, and just as fun.

    Enjoying the series, which seems based on material that’s not been published (?), and also recommend, for rabid fans, As Always, Julia, a book of her correspondence with BFF Avis deVoto – lots about the trials of producing the book and some about complications that landed them in Cambridge.

  • Couldn’t agree more. Also agree with posts re: Sarah Lancashire. She’s marvelous & it’s great that she’s getting attention on HBO.

  • I started watching this last night and am now hoping to rewatch all of Julia’s PBS series again. Delightful.

    • Me too! It’s inspired me to pull out the cookbooks (which I got as a gift years ago and was too intimidated to try) and to find the shows!

  • I think your reviews are the absolute best thing on MDK every time! Thank you for writing so well that I want to watch everything you talk about. You have a way with words – bright and intellectual without sounding highfalutin. wink Thank you Thank you

  • I’m in total agreement with you about Julia! I have seen other productions about Julia but this is by far the best yet. Sarah Lancashire, whom I’ve loved in so many other series, is outstanding as Julia. It’s almost like Julia Child embodies her. This is a time of great anxiety in our country but this show gives you a respite from it all. I highly recommend grabbing your knitting and sitting down to be delighted with this show.

  • I have a Julia Child story. When I was a little girl my father took me to the WGBH studios in Boston and The French Chef was being filmed. The lights on her were so bright that she was sweating profusely. When she dripped onto her recipe, she said well, we’ll just have sweaty tarts and kept on cooking. Such a forthright, down to earth person! What a gem!

  • OMG I just watched episodes 2 and 3 last night after discovering the show on Thursday! It’s wonderful!! I texted 3 people this morning before I read this Keep up with the great recommendations

  • Love this show!

  • I’m sure she was a wonderful, intelligent, thoughtful, good person, but I can’t tolerate he voice Andi don’t care enough about cooking to try.

    • Duly noted

  • It is indeed splendid! Sarah has been a favorite actor in so many roles, as are David Hyde Pierce and many others. I recognized so many Boston/Cambridge streets and buildings, and set designs are just outstanding!

  • Oh my gosh!!!! This is the most amazing show. I hadn’t heard about it from anywhere, and within minutes of reading DC’s suggestion, I found the show and was watching it. I’m laughing out loud and reading subtitles to my husband. It was a hoot. Thank you so much. The “Dishing about Julia” for each episode is also great, and it is only audible – so nothing to see on the screen. I’ll get more knitting done during that segment for sure. Ina Garten is one of the people interviewed to followup after Episode 1. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.

  • Looks like this would be a great show to watch but unfortunately, we do not have HBO. The French Chef reruns are currently on the Magnolia network, so I’ll have to be satisfied with them.

  • Julia is wonderful. This is the first time I’ve laughed out loud at a program in a long time! My husband was also drawn in. I wholeheartedly agree with all who love this series and the actors/creators.

  • In pursuing this lead, I found a conference recorded at Radcliff in 2012 on Julia Child. 4 sessions of autobiographical and critical analysis as well as lots of stories and personal reminiscences. An incredible treasure trove. You can finish that shawlette. YouTube now has many, many more of her programs and interviews posted.

  • I tried this show and didn’t get too far, but tried it again on your recommendation and you’re right! So glad to have something fun to watch, thanks!

  • Isn’t it grand? Fresh out of college, I worked at WGBH where a very ancient Avis DeVoto had an office next to ours.i interacted with her only slightly as a clueless 22 year old in ‘82. I’m loving the show, watching her navigate her way. It’s lovely.

  • Would you be my friend DJ? Wish you lived next door.

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