Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Food Media & News >
Sep 19, 2005 06:28 PM

MOLLY O'NEILL vs. JULIA CHILD:To Whom Would You Turn?????

  • j

Julia Child(may she rest in culinary Heaven,as I'm
sure she does)certainly was a true American foodie
icon and absolutely deserves all of the many accolades which she has recieved over her long and fruitful
lifetime.But truth be told,I honestly cannot think of one single recipe of hers which I have felt compelled
to prepare at home.
Molly O'Neill,on the other hand,was,for my money,a
truely indespensable N.Y.Superstar...(all apologies to her brother Paul,but I'm just not a Yankee fan!).Not
only have I saved just about every one of her pages from the Times' Sunday magazine,but I have committed
several dozen to memory and no longer need look them up anymore.
While I miss them both terribly,I really dread not having Molly's assuring guidance in my kitchen every week.Perhaps it was just easier to tear out a page than it was to videotape a show.
Anyone else feel the same sense of loss??And does
anyone know what ever happened to Molly after she left
the Times?Can she still be found at some other venue?
I truely hope she's still alive and cookin!!!!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I have and enjoy and use her cookbooks, Molly O'Neil's New York Cookbook : From Pelham Bay to Park Avenue, Firehouses to Four-Star Restaurants, as well as A Well-seasoned Appetite : Recipes from an American Kitchen.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Coyote

      LOVE that New York cookbook, for recipes and reading....

    2. That's an easy one for me -- I learned to cook through Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking and certain of her recipes, such as for making omlettes, hollandaise, bechamel, vinagrette, etc., are such standards of my cooking repetoire that I don't even think about them as "recipes" anymore. I'd say Julia any day!

      1. Mastering the Art of French Cooking was the first cookbook I bought when I went to college in the US many years ago, and I learnt to cook from it. and still love it. I think it's next to impossible for me to say one is better than the other. Julia Child demystified French cooking for Americans. Molly O'Neill explored and documented the foodways of New York - an amazing undertaking. However, I've never made any of her recipes.

        I last saw her on the National Mall in D.C. when New York was one of the programmes in the Smithsonian's Folklife Festival in 2001. I often wonder where she is now.

        1. Julia was primarily interested in bringing traditional and authentic French cooking to American cooks using American ingredients and techniques, not in developing and promoting recipes that would be considered "hers." Along with James Beard she was responsible for creating a revolution in cooking and eating in the United States that has had as much impact on our culture as any other development since the end of the Second World War - including, as one example, the fact that forums such as this one are participated in by so many people. You need only have come of age in the pre-Julia 50's, as I did, to appreciate how much our food world has changed as a result of her.

          Now, I'm sure that Molly O'Neill is (was?) a wonderful person who similarly enriched other people's lives with her contributions, but I'll bet that there are many 'Hounds (like me) who've never heard of her before. I can't imagine that anyone who visits here doesn't have some knowledge of who Julia Child was.

          1. That's easy: Julia in less than a heartbeat!

            I watched Julia's shows on PBS during my formative pre-teen and teenangst years where she used humor mixed with facts to get important ideals across. She demystified the idea that "French" cuisine could only be made by master chefs and that cooking, for one or a family, was as simple as reading a recipe. I first read a well-worn, obviously-used library edition, "The French Chef," in 1976. The cooking bug smacked me hard 'tween my eyes and I knew from that point forward I was "going to be a chef!" My Sainted Mother™ indulged my newfound passion by allowing me to cook most of our meals for the next few years. I used many of Julia's recipes to impress friends and family (a tradition with both my parents' abilities).

            I have collected many of her books and still use them as references when I run into something that requires explaining.

            I enjoyed her banter with all her guests. And I also enjoyed the fact that she wasn't above making mistakes and then keeping it there on the tape (and not on the editors' floor) for the viewer to get a giggle from.

            Yes, it'd clearly be Julia.