I just read that Julia Child passed away in her sleep last night. Granted, she was 91 years old - we all should live so long! - but it's sad news nonetheless, just as the city Cambridge seemed to lose something special when Ms. Child decided to retire to California back in 2001. Although I'm sure I wouldn't be half the cook I was if not for Julia's pioneering contribution to the American culinary landscape, I'm embarassed to admit that I own none of her cookbooks, an egregious oversight I intend to remedy as soon as I am able. But cookbooks or no cookbooks, how could you pick up a pot or pan during the past forty-odd years and not have been influenced by her unapologetic love of good living through good food? In our "health"-crazed, fad-dieting, yet nevertheless junk-food-laden society, Julia Child dared to drink fine wine on camera while she celebrated the joys of butter, and our kitchens are all the richer for it.