Julia Child

Julia Child

I can’t say we were friends, more like friendly acquaintances. We would sometimes sit together at industry events and food conferences. Lucky me. Like almost every other cook at the time, I revered her because she was not only one of the first TV cooks and her recipes never failed to produce something glorious, but also such a generous, non-pretentious super star—always willing to share.

As her cookbooks inspired so many people, I once asked her what cookbooks inspired her.

She replied quite simply in that sky-high voice, “ I started out with the Joy of Cooking. This was before I went to France. It took hours for me to get dinner on the table, and then I was often too tired to eat.”

Whereas I loved all of Julia’s recipes, many becoming mainstays of dinner parties and family celebrations, only one recipe from the Joy of Cooking made my staples list—a pork roast.

Frankly, I never met a cook I admired more than Julia, and I never made a pork roast I liked more than the Joy of Cooking’s Roast of Pork.

OLD FASHIONED PORK ROAST WITH PAN GRAVY (As remembered from the Joy of Cooking)

Rub a 5 to 9-pound bone-in pork butt or shoulder with crushed garlic. Dredge roast with flour. Put roast, fat side up, on a rack in a roasting pan. Sprinkle with salt and black pepper, and, if desired, crushed dried herbs such as rosemary, sage or thyme. Place roast in a preheated 450-degree oven. Immediately reduce heat to 350 degrees. Roast uncovered 30 to 35 minutes per pound or to an internal temperature of 185 degrees. Remove roast from oven and transfer it to a cutting board or meat tray; let sit in a warm place while you make gravy.

Pan Gravy:  Pour pan drippings into a measuring cup, leaving about 2 tablespoons fatty drippings in pan. Drain fat from drippings in cup and add enough milk, cream or broth to make 1 cup liquid; set liquid aside.

Place roasting pan over heat and sprinkle 1 to 2 tablespoons flour over drippings, whisking until mixture is well combined and smooth. Whisking constantly, slowly add reserved liquid and cook until gravy thickens, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper (and a touch of rosemary, sage or thyme if desired). Can thin gravy with additional liquid if desired. Serve immediately.