Julia Child was born August 15, 1912 and would be turning 105 years old if she were alive today. She brought French cooking into the homes of millions, changed the way Americans think about food, encouraged us to enjoy our meals, and inspired us to cook more often.
During the1990s fat hysteria, she was reputed to have used unpleasant words like “nutrition terrorist” or “food nazi” when referring my fellow dieticians. I love her attitude. I love her spunk. And I totally agree with her description of my more zealous colleagues.
I made my first ratatouille following each of her meticulously laid out steps. Julia warned that a really good ratatouille is not one of the quicker dishes to make because each vegetable was to be cooked separately.
Every August I make a couple of ratatouille and I say thank Julia. Not for the recipe. I just don’t have the patience to follow her meticulously written recipe so I’ve developed my own sloppy method.
I says thanks Julia for celebrating fat and supporting my belief that fats are part of healthy eating despite those dark restrictive years back in the 1990s when for the best of intentions even a ratatouille was labeled unhealthy for having too much fat.
You need vegetables – zucchini, eggplant, tomatoes, and peppers combined to make about a kilo (2 pounds). And you need good olive oil – about 60 grams (4 tablespoons) and some garlic, parsley, basil, or any other fresh herbs you have on hand. Cook it all up, salt to taste, you’re good to go. At my table we get about 3 – 4 servings per batch.
Use fresh, local, just harvested vegetables for the best taste and flavor. Most of the calories do come from fat, somewhere in the vicinity of 68%. Excellent fiber, not much complex carbohydrate because vegetables are mostly water, and some simple natural sugars from those vine ripened tomatoes. And don’t worry about too much fat.
First olive oil is mostly healthy unsaturated fatty acids. And second because Julia says so. It’s the best way to honor the memory of Julia Child on her birthday. Just enjoy your ratatouille.