Happy birthday “Skinny McWilliams”!

(All together now… “Who’s “Skinny McWilliams”?)

She and I pictured below…

The event was a Boston Beer presentation in 2001 featuring Julia Child, Jasper White and other cookbook authors. The photo above was taken when we traded books… Yes, I have a first edition of French Cooking… inscribed.

The nickname was given to her in college… according to a gentleman who called her that.

(Name available on request.)

Gone but not forgotten!

Jim Koch of The Boston Beer Company held the event at the pilot brewery in Jamaica. The purpose of the event was to celebrate the food and beer appreciation of some of the best chefs around. My notes are not as thorough as I would like to report but there is mention of warm weather, not too many local media but a lot of trade press and meeting Jasper White (author and chef/owner of the Summer Shack in Boston) and Julia Child.

Still in the midst of marketing “Cooking & Eating with Beer”, my second book, it was a heady atmosphere. The small talk and few words exchanged were done between professionals and I remember a lot was said in a few words with a great deal of ease. And that was before the beer was poured.

The nick name…

In the late ‘60s there was a cooking school in the south of France that was run by Simone Beck. My source was a student at one of the sessions. He tells of a soft summer evening reception featuring the efforts of the students. The guest of honor was Julia Child and she was, of course, the center of attention. After the initial impression was made the reception returned to small talk and sampling the food. It was then that my source strolled up to Ms. Child and asked, sotto voce, “Aren’t you “Skinny McWilliams?” … As he tells it, her demeanor froze for a moment and then, at the mention of a mutual friend’s name, the original source from her college days, thawed into a glow that was her trade-mark.