Julia Child Was Right
Many years ago, the iconic American chef and cookbook author, Julia Child, noted with glee that few dishes are not improved by the addition of a little butter. “With enough butter, anything is good,” she declared. The fat-free craze was nearly upon us at the time, prompting one person to express reticence. “If you’re afraid of butter, use cream,” she quipped.
This is the woman who also said: "I enjoy cooking with wine.Sometimes I even put it in the food..." and, “People who love to eat are always the best people.” This was my kind of lady! She loved life, and she loved good food. And above all else, she loved cooking. She seemed to grasp, long before the rest of us, that time spent cooking for one’s friends and family is an investment in love and nurturing. She also appreciated the value of time spent together, gathered around a beautiful meal, prepared lovingly. “I think careful cooking is love, don’t you?” she once said.
She also scoffed at the notion that one should avoid time-honored ingredients like saturated-fat-rich butter. “Fat gives things flavor,” she pointed out, quite correctly. Her iconic television show taught an entire generation of Americans that there’s more to food than canned green beans mixed with canned soup. But by the 1970s, the fear of fat in the diet was beginning to take hold in this country, and her devil-may-care attitude to French full-fat cooking seemed increasingly out of tune with the times.
She passed away in 2004, at a time when that ill-founded fear of fat was still the driving force in American nutritional thinking. But now, finally, she has has been vindicated.
Fat is no longer out. In fact, no less an authority than the New York Times has been running articles recently declaring that the war on fat was misguided, and counterproductive. What we should really be worried about, scientists now realize, are too many carbohydrates. Public health policies aimed at reducing fat intake have been wrong all along. The latest headline was prompted by the release of an important new study, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine in early September, about the effects of a low-carbohydrate diet on body weight and heart disease risk factors.
The bottom line: A low-carb diet is more effective for weight loss and disease-risk reduction than a low-fat one. So there you have it: Julia was right. I propose a toast!