Wednesday, August 15, 2012

happy birthday, julia child

This is my invariable advice to people: Learn how to cook—try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless, and above all have fun!
~ Julia Child
She may have gone to Smith, but Julia Child had the heart of a born unschooler. Today would have been her 100th birthday and if there were ever a reason to eat a good meal and appreciate every bite, this is it.

I don't own Mastering the Art of French Cooking, nor any other books by Julia Child. I love her mainly because I have memories of coming home from school and watching her show. She fascinated me because she was both extremely knowledgeable and kind of silly. She was sloppy and playful and skilled all at once—a reassuring model for any child.

During this same time my neighbor was going to college in Cambridge, where Julia lived and worked. She remembers occasionally catching glimpses of the green VW Beetle with a spoon or a spatula (she doesn't remember which) wired to the antenna; everyone in town knew it was Julia's car. She and her friends gathered every week to watch The French Chef as it was broadcast, then again on the weekend to cook the dish Julia had made on tv. Apparently Julia's favorite corner butcher shop always ran out of the cut that was featured in the recipe, so savvy Cambridge residents would get there as soon as possible after the show.
Remember, 'No one's more important than people'! In other words, friendship is the most important thing—not career or housework, or one's fatigue—and it needs to be tended and nurtured.
                                                                                                      ~Julia Child

I suspect that cooking was merely a medium for Julia's particular joie de vivre. She loved food because she loved living. She loved to cook because she loved eating with people. And likewise, we love her not for her beef bourguignon, but for her huge and inquisitive spirit.

Last night some friends and I paid our own kind of tribute. The movie Julie and Julia played in the background while we assembled salade niçoise, warmed up quiche and mixed upside-down martinis.
Dessert? There were two: chocolate mousse, and reine de saba cake, complete with birthday candle and singing.
Whether or not you are inclined to make a special meal, I hope today that you eat well, try something new, tend to friendship, and above all, have some fun.

And if you do any one of these things, give a little nod to Julia Child.


  1. love love julia and love this post — what a great tribute. xoxoxo

  2. Great post! Would messy sewing, if done with laughter and joyful intent, satisfy requirements for a tribute? If so (sew), Bon Appetit!

    1. Absolutely! Hope you had a great day sewing!


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