All about Julia

Aug. 15 would have been Julia Child's 100th birthday. She "slipped off the raft," as she liked to say, in 2004, so we can only imagine her reaction to all the hoopla, which includes:

• An app for "Mastering the Art of French Cooking: Selected Recipes," available for download on iPads and Nooks. It features 32 recipes, clips from her "Way to Cook" videos, grocery lists, color photos of each dish, and more. It's $4.99.

• A Facebook page, Julia Child, with info about events around her birthday centennial. which publisher Knopf has dubbed JC100.

• A book about her long love affair with cats. "Julia's Cats: Julia Child's Life in the Company of Cats (Abrams, $16.95) tells the familiar story of Julia's life path, but with the added nuance of each of her "poussiequettes." Charming.

• A children's book, "Bon Appétit! The Delicious Life of Julia Child" (Schwartz & Wade, $17.99). This is an illustrated view of her life, and may be a novel way to introduce this icon to young readers, yet it's marred by irritatingly hand-drawn text. Less than charming.

• On Aug. 7, yet another biography becomes available, "Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child" by Bob Spitz (Deckle Edge, $29.95), described as a "definitive, wonderfully affectionate biography." Spitz, who wrote "The Beatles," traces Child, but also the United States' growing culinary sophistication and the start of the women's movement.

• Do you have plans for Julia's 100th? Let us know at

Chocolate is a plant, too

The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, in the midst of its first-ever three-day Cocoa Camp, also is offering a single day of chocolate goodness for kids. Chocolate Day on Aug. 3 is a half-day camp designed to boost kids' skills and confidence in the kitchen by treats such as flourless chocolate cake, Mexican hot chocolate, and hard-shell ice-cream topping. Two sessions are available: 9 to 11:30 a.m. for second to fourth grade grads or 1 to 3:30 p.m. for fifth to eighth grade grads. Cost is $32 member/$35 nonmember. Call 952-443-1422 or visit to register.

Sustainable celebration

Organic Valley, the nation's largest cooperative of organic farmers, hosts its ninth annual Kickapoo Country Fair on Saturday in La Farge, Wis., about 41 miles southeast of La Crosse. The daylong festival features food policy advocate and author Raj Patel, chef Michel Nischan (a sustainable-food pioneer, author and PBS celebrity chef) and food safety advocate and author Andrew Kimbrell. Other activities include "food foraging adventure through the woods" led by Sam Thayer, author of "Foragers Harvest," a tour of an organic farm and the opportunity to meet local Organic Valley family farmers. Admission is $5 for adults, $2 for ages 12 and under, and free for ages 5 and under. To learn more, visit