My lovely partner doesn't just read biographies, she studies people. Rather than just read a single book about a person, she reads a variety of books about the person …biographies , autobiographies, fiction, music, movies, recipes, art work… anything to really get a better sense of the person and a better understanding of their life and work. I used to find it quirky and amusing and just go my own way, but lately I discovered if I go along for the ride it can a mind-blowing learning experience along with just loads of fun.
I am not sure how she got on to Julia. But this journey has included Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously by Julie Powell , My Life in France by Julia Child and Appetite for Life by Noel Riley Fitch. Of course we eventually found ourselves watching the original (1962) The French Chef with Julia Child.
Now, I am your normal consumer of food porn. I get my jollies by watching the food network and checking out the centerfold of Bon Appetite. I use only real sea salt. I know the difference between Panko and Pancetta. I own a Kitchen Aid mixer in a trendy color. And my cook book collection is… well let’s just say size does matter and mine is way bigger than yours. I always considered Julia Child an out dated, PBS relic, who just didn’t stand up to the Emerils, Nigellas and Marthas of the world. WRONG!!!!
On her worst day, Julia could cook circles around an entire army of celebrity chefs and make Martha, Nigella, Ina and Rachel cry for their mommies. The woman yields a knife like the Bruce Lee of the culinary world. In one episode she chopped potatoes so fast I was spell bound. She actually tasted the food with her fingers. She uses butter and olive oil, (because FAT is good). She champions carbs (did you know that a cup of potatoes has the same calorie count as an apple) And my favorite… which I always suspected, if you drop something in the kitchen and no one sees it, it didn’t happen. All this of course in an era where tomatoes did not exists out of season, nor oranges. (no oranges… I can’t even fathom a reality without oranges 24/7 and I hate the things), crappy table wine, no artisan cheeses (she uses Swiss for a substitute for everything) and hold on… no microwaves!!! Oh and wax paper… real wax paper. It was like watching MacGyver cook a presidential dinner with only a stick of gum, bobby pin and a pound of carrots… In short, Julia Child is a cooking goddess… I mean THE Cooking Goddess . So do yourself a favor, do the world a favor and watch and worship the original… and in her own words remember… cooking is about “courage” and “not cutting off your fingers” - Bon Appetite-