Monday, January 19, 2009


I just finished a book. A good book, a funny book, a book that - as all books tend to do to me - threw me into another world and made me feel good. And this feel-good feeling is lingering. Which I like. Which I really, really like. Because life should always be about feel-good...whether you get it or whether it takes you a year of Julia Child to get it.
Julie & Julia. Fabulous.
I remember when Julia Child passed away. Everybody had something wonderful to say and part of me really shrugged at it while the other part of me was a little jealous that I wasn’t particularly old enough to get it. Cause let’s face it - I’m not.
And so in this modern age of technology and me being in with the times (kinda sorta not really...), I looked up plenty on Youtube. And I think I’m starting to get it.
Yes, ok. A couple of videos on Youtube aren’t going to give me some goddamn epiphany on Julia Child and aren’t going to open up a big window and aren’t going to completely make me realize the wonder of the woman. Not yet, anyway. But it’s a start.
This woman had passion and love and knowledge. She was a klutz and she was funny and she was odd and unusual and that’s what made her human. And perhaps what made her so damn appealing. And people decided to embrace French food for once. As they fucking should.
Classical Cuisine. One of the best classes I have ever taken. I would walk out of there a pound heavier from all the butter consumed, but satisfied and happy and walking on clouds.
This is what French food does to me.
And it’s what French food did to her. And she fell into it and fell into teaching people about it and somewhere down the line one woman in 2002 decided to fall into it, too, discovering French food and the pure joy of Julia Child which changed her life around.
And so.
Yes, it was a good book. It was like a little bit of hope tucked away on a bookshelf.
(Or the clearance section of TJ Maxx where I was wandering around aimlessly and managed to find this book turned over for $2.)
And yes, I feel like Julia Child really is something.
And this makes me happy, while at the same time makes me crave something good and French and full of butter.
When I decided to head to culinary school, one of my mom’s friends gave me a ridiculous amount of cookbooks that she had lying around the house that she never used. Perhaps she was thrilled that she could give them to someone who would truly find some use in them. I can’t say I’ve really used them since. But in that bunch was a Julia Child & Company cookbook that I shrugged at and put aside. (I’ll confess part of me was hoping it would be the classic Mastering the Art of French Cooking....just like I hoped for the pile to really contain something of history or real depth - like the hell-of-a-book Larousse Gastronomique that hung around the bookshelf all on its own and I stared at with eager eyes every single day of Food Production class in high school. There was none of it. Except for the cool cocktail food book which I will say I liked. But I really do digress...). The point is, perhaps there is some real desire to peer inside the book now. To say "ok, fine. I’ll read what you have to say about holiday entertaining or whatever the hell else". Because well, I kind of care.
And I envy Julie Powell who went mad and made the best decision of her life.
But still, really. I’m at feel-good. And that’s just wonderful.

"Julia Child wants know how to make good pastry, and also how to make those canned green beans taste all right. She wants you to remember that you are human, and as such are entitled to that most basic of human rights, the right to eat well and enjoy life."

"Julia taught me what it takes to find your way in the world. It’s not what I thought it was. I thought it was all about - I don’t know, confidence or will or luck. Those are all some good things to have, no question. But there’s something else, something that these things grow out of. It’s joy."
-Julie & Julia

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