Alamelu Vairavan, a Whitefish Bay resident, is an author and culinary instructor. Alamelu has a passion for educating the public about the use of spices and legumes in preparing healthy and tasty foods. She is also interested in educating the public about the growing research that points to the enormous health benefits of spices in preventing many diseases. Her mission is to enrich people's culinary experience and to inspire them to discover that cooking and sharing healthful foods can be an especially joyful experience.
Visit Alamelu's web site, CurryOnWheels.com.
The release of the movie “Julie & Julia” and the renewed great interest in the remarkable Chef Julia Child bring back to me fond memories of an unexpected and a thrilling experience in 1997. That was the year my first cook book (Art of South Indian Cooking) was published. My New York publisher had arranged for me to appear on the national television show, “Home Matters”. Can you believe that Julia Child was also featured in the same show?
My cooking segment was shot in the summer of 1997 in Philadelphia for the Discovery Channel. I was very excited and wasn’t sure what to expect as this was my first exposure to national TV. The hostess of the show Susan Powell was very kind and helpful as I did my cooking. It all went smoothly.
About three months later on November 12, 1997, the taped program was aired throughout the country. Our friends came to my home to watch my debut on national television. I was even more nervous anticipating the broadcast than I was when the show was being filmed. But soon my nervousness gave way to excitement and thrill when the show’s hostess announced that the great Chef Julia Child was going to discuss the essential ingredients in her own pantry before my segment was shown!!
Robin Young, a reporter who also happened to be a friend and neighbor of Julia Child in New England, interviewed Julia. This TV segment was titled: “In the Pantry With Julia Child.” In this segment Julia Child was already 85 years old. She graciously shared advice about pantry items.
The following suggestions and recommendations were made in that TV segment by Julia herself:
- A key pantry item is peanut butter. One ingredient that no kitchen should be without is peanut butter. Julia Child noted that instead of eating airplane food, she would rather eat a peanut butter- honey sandwich.
- Use canola oil instead of tasteless vegetable oil.
- Never refrigerate tomatoes.
- Oil dressing with flake garlic is not good.
- Use canned tuna in oil and not tuna in water.
- Frozen green beans are like “dreary objects”.
- Liked to mix sour cream and heavy cream for cooking.
- Use vermouth instead of white wine in cooking since the former “keeps better.”
After Julia Child’s segment ended, my appearance on the program was announced. I was thrilled to follow America’s favorite chef. When I look back, I feel deeply honored to have made my first national TV appearance following Julia Child’s interview in the same program!