Among friends, I've been called a foodie because I'm into food and love to cook and bake. But I don't think of myself that way -- I'm not really into following the top chefs, don't watch the food shows on television and am not on a perennial search for the latest hot restaurant. I do enjoy a good meal once in a while, but I'm very careful -- I've had too many experiences where you lay out a big chunk of change for a meal and then wonder what you've spent it on.
How is it that we are so eager to watch other people browning beef cubes on screen but so much less eager to brown them ourselves? For the rise of Julia Child as a figure of cultural consequence — along with Alice Waters and Mario Batali and Martha Stewart and Emeril Lagasse and whoever is crowned the next Food Network star — has, paradoxically, coincided with the rise of fast food, home-meal replacements and the decline and fall of everyday home cooking.