Culinary historians, food lovers and cookbook readers will want to mark their calendars for Nov. 5, when Judith Jones, celebrated editor and the first to champion Julia Child, will speak at the Library of Congress.
Jones, author of “The Tenth Muse: My Life in Food,” will start her talk at 11:30 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 5
, in the Mumford Room on the sixth floor of the James Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, D.C.
Sponsored by the Science, Technology and Business Division, the lecture is free and open to the public; no tickets or reservations are needed. “The Tenth Muse,” which will be released by Knopf on Oct. 23, will be available for purchase at the lecture, and Jones will sign books after the program.
Also at the lecture, the Library will display a number of the many cookbooks Jones has edited, as well as volumes from the series she inspired, “Knopf Cooks American.”
Jones, vice president and senior editor at Alfred A. Knopf, is the winner of the coveted James Beard Lifetime Achievement Award and editor of culinary luminaries such as Julia Child, James Beard, Madhur Jaffrey, Marcella Hazan, Edna Lewis and Joan Nathan.
Jones was the first to espouse the kind of cookbook in which the author encourages and enables the ordinary home cook to create the extraordinary by defining culinary terms, demonstrating techniques, whether it be boning or braising, and by providing explicit directions and detailed explanations. Jones also asked cookbook authors to provide clues to the texture, feel, smell and appearance of the dish as the recipe progresses. Often the cookbook author shares something about a recipe’s history or cultural significance or, possibly, a childhood memory or a personal anecdote.
In Julia Child’s last book, “My Life in France” (2004), written with Paul Child’s grandnephew, Alex Prud’homme, Child pays homage to Jones, a dear friend with whom she had worked for more than 40 years. Jones came up with the title of Child’s original blockbuster “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.” Jones had also tried a good number of the recipes in the manuscript, including the beouf bourguignon, and reported that it needed more than the recommended 2.5 pounds of meat if it was to serve 6-8 people. The dish was so good that five hungry people had licked the platter clean.