I knew of Anne Willan long before I met her. I bought her cookbooks, heard her speak at IACP several times, and I’d planned a trip to La Varenne, her legendary cooking school in France. When I got to Paris, I found out Anne was on a book tour. I learned to plan better.

But life does have a way of working out. Sure enough, years later, Anne and I ended up being speakers at the same conference in Charleston. 

We were seated next to each other at a speakers’ dinner. I tried not to blather on and be an idiot, but I do admire her. And I failed. I couldn’t help it. Even though I have cooked for presidents, movie stars, and notables, AND I'm not easily impressed, Anne is a Queen.

Anne’s newest book, Women in the Kitchen, is about 12 essential cookbook authors who defined the way we eat. Beginning in 1661 with the first published cookbook up until today. The book features 50 original recipes as well as updated and modernized versions for contemporary kitchens. I devoured the entire book in an afternoon. It was such a treat to read. I felt I was in a time machine. 

Inspired by Julia Child’s Cream of Mushroom Soup, here’s a recipe I love to make. Julia’s original recipe is in Anne’s book. 

I serve mine in a cappuccino cup with a healthy dollop of sherried whipped cream. Because I can.