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Cooking with Crevolyn: Julia Childs zest for cooking is inspirational
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All my life I have been fascinated by Julia Child.

Some of my favorite quotes are attributed to this most interesting woman. Some like: “people who love to eat are always the best people” and “the only time to eat diet food is while waiting for the steak to cook.”

Julia was a true pioneer in her industry. After authoring several cookbooks and making guest television appearances, Julia hosted her own cooking show. I remember watching her during the 1970s and thinking I’ve never seen someone who enjoys herself so much in the kitchen. She genuinely was laughing at her own jokes and mistakes.

While everyone else was watching Walter Cronkite and Mary Tyler Moore, I was glued to the PBS channel. I guess you can imagine I was the coolest kid on the block.

I’ll have to admit, since Julia’s recipes were mostly French influenced, I didn’t have a clue about half of what she was cooking. I couldn’t even say bourguignon. But the woman was so entertaining I hung on every word she said, whether I knew what she was talking about or not. 

Something else that struck me about Julia was her kitchen. I just couldn’t get over all of her knives and gadgets hanging on the walls for everyone to see. At my house, we hid all of those things in drawers and cabinets. Julia’s kitchen is on display at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. It’s not a replica but her actual kitchen.

A few years ago, I visited Julia’s kitchen and was surprised by its small size and simplicity. Today, we live in a world of huge kitchens with all kinds of appliances. Amazingly, Julia learned to cook and taught others in a compact and functional kitchen space. 

Since I am a simple Southern cook, I was a little worried I might not have a recipe to share that was Julia worthy. After all, as a rule my recipes are not French influenced, other than fries and onion soup. But never fear because quiche is French and this is a wonderful quiche recipe. Julia had a love of butter, cream and bacon, so I think this would make her proud.

 Julia had a great appreciation for food and life. I’ll leave you with another one of her quotes: “This is my invariable advice to people: learn to cook — try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless and above all, have fun!”

Those are words to live by my friends. Bon Appetit!

Kitchen sink quiche

  • 1/2 pound thick-sliced bacon
  • 1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, finely diced
  • 2 cups finely diced smoked ham
  • 1 (8-ounce) container sour cream
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 (9-inch) unbaked pie crusts
  • 8 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
  • 8 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 4 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 8 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups half-and-half cream
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium-high heat until evenly brown. Drain, crumble and set aside.

Cook spinach according to package instructions. Allow to cool and squeeze dry.

Heat olive oil in skillet over medium heat. Saute onions until soft and translucent. Stir in mushrooms and cook for 2 minutes, or until soft. Stir in ham and cooked bacon. Remove from heat.

In a large bowl, combine spinach, sour cream, salt and pepper. Divide and spread into pie crusts. Layer each with bacon mixture.

Mix together Monterey Jack, cheddar and Parmesan, and sprinkle over pies.

Whisk together eggs, half-and-half and parsley. Season with salt and pepper and pour over.

Place pies on a baking sheet and bake on middle shelf in preheated oven for 40 minutes. The top will be puffed and golden brown.

Remove from oven and let stand for 5 to 10 minutes.

Crevolyn Wiley is a Gainesville resident with her first published cookbook “Cooking with Crevolyn” available at J&J Foods. She can be contacted at crevolyn.wiley@jandjfoods.com.

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