"Bon appetite." Have any of us said that phrase in a normal voice since 1964?
Do you know anyone who hosted a TV show and never tried to change themselves?
Apparently, Julia Child did not.
(Above photo Photo of Julia and Paul Child)
With Julia, what you saw was what you got.
I am reading Julia Child Rules, Lessons on Savoring Life, by Karen Karbo. I was struck by the notion that we have been trained that something is wrong with us, that we need to change, or that we ought to work on ourselves.
More "How–Books abound than any other. On top of that, we need "Life coaches" because we can't figure it out for ourselves. I am guilty of all that myself, having taken more seminars than you can shake a stick at (I never understood why anyone would shake a stick at anything, but it was one of those sayings mothers perpetrate on their children.)
Most of us want to savor life but don't know how.
Apparently, savoring life was built into Julia. There she was, a 6 foot 3-inches tall, a young woman in the 1930s, too tall to play the damsel in distress in school plays, so instead opted to play the Emperor. Even after shaving three inches off her height, she was too tall to be accepted into the WACS or WAVES during wartime (talk about discrimination), so she because an OSS researcher instead. That was dreary work, typing files, so she moved to India on a whim, where she was knee-deep in classified information and where her organizational skills were appreciated. Julia was not a typical desired young woman to be courted; she was a spinster until age 32, but in India, she met and later married the love of her life Paul Child.
She and Paul were rare birds—mix-matched, he was shorter than her by 6 inches, a sophisticated French man of the world, interested in intellectual pursuits and love affairs—she a giddy free spirit. Yet, they married and lived a forty-eight-year love affair.
Paul introduced Julia to French food. She introduced herself to the Le Cordon Bleu Cooking School; the rest is history. "How magnificent to find one's calling at last," she said. She was thirty-eight years old.
After seeing the movie Julie Julia, you know that publishing her book, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, was no small feat. After many failures, she decided that writing an 800-page cookbook that didn't sell was better than working on an 800-page novel that didn't sell, for they still needed to eat, she still had the recipes, and she still loved to cook.
When her mayonnaise recipe, one she had successfully made thousands of times and even made to bolster herself up after a cooking failure, did itself fail, she turned her attention to the scientific interaction of ingredients, or was it the bowl's temperature or the eggs? Julia made so many mayonnaise recipes that Paul finally called a halt, and she threw gallons of mayonnaise down the commode. See, people do research because they want to know. (I need clarification on why her mayonnaise failed, Karbo didn't say, and I'm not making sixteen gallons of mayonnaise to find out.)
When Julia turned 80, a birthday she would have preferred to ignore, her vast following was in the mood to celebrate her. And, according to Karbo, Julia, who had the stamina of a shed dog at full peak training, attended all 300 birthday bashes. (Some commanding $350 a plate.)
Julia was robust and healthy, except in later life, her knees failed her, and she sometimes cried in pain at the end of the day.
Julia followed her own rules, "Obey Your Whims," "Live With Abandon, "Be Yourself," and she became an original. She will long be remembered as The French Chef. (Who was neither a Chef nor French. Don't you just love it?)
Well, I have a Revere Ware pan in my kitchen, not French standard issue, a travesty by French standards, but it is over 50 years old, I have burned more food in it than I care to count, and I have expended more elbow grease in cleaning it than I care to mention. On top of that, I need a decent kitchen knife in the house. I'm no French Chef or a chef of any other nationality, but I love watching cooking shows.
Here's butter to you, Julia.
Excuse me, I'm going out to eat…