Sunday, August 16, 2009
when i was a little girl, i could always make my mom laugh by doing Julia Child impersonations. "Heh-LOW! Too-day we'll be making a roast lamb in a gingery yogurt sauce. First, let's pour some WINE, shall we... (sips) and look at our WONdur-full leg of lamb... another sip... MARveLOUS..." and on. i was 7 the first time i made these little asides to her and she laughed from the first moment. it was our time, watching julia cooking. her and graham kerr, the galloping gourmet (who was one of my first imaginary boyfriends... walter cronkite was my real first) made my adventures in the kitchen not scary at all. i was diving into our pantry by the age of 5 and full on cooking soon after, with my mother's blessing. not well, mind you, but with heart.
i read julie & juila. i liked it. but more than that, i liked the film. it changed my life, i suppose. way back when, thelma & louise came out and made me more assertive. i saw it first with my father, who had won an award for Male Chauvenist Pig of the Year back in , i dunno, '75 or something? anyway, he was proud of that award, 'cuz he really wasn't and it was the era of faux kudoes of the highest order. he went with me to see the film and had reached a point in his life when he had given up his anger and ire. but he was adamant about every woman in his life seeing thelma & louise. he thought it was a vital rite of passage regardless of age. fascinating man, really.
well, that's what i felt about julie & julia, which is also what happened to me when i saw big night--interesting that stanley tucci is in both (love that man... omg...). hmm... and, so, i embark upon a culinary journey to save my soul. i'm at a crossroads in my life, you see. pretty deep. to the point that i don't know what i'm doing going to work much anymore, because i believe my joi de vivre is at an all time low and i can't abide that, truly.
so i picked up my copy of MASTERING THE ART OF FRENCH COOKING, volume 1--yes, julia and simone (simca) beck did two volumes after the first was printed and i have both... HA! and read the foreword. and here is what made me know that cooking is what my heart desires (along with writing): "Cooking is not a particularly difficult art, and the more you cook and learn about cooking, the more sense it makes. But like any art, it require practice and experience. The most important ingredient you can bring to it is love of cooking for its own sake." did you read that? i find cooking to be one of the most extraordinary gifts around. it soothes me, makes me feel alive and gives me an incredible feelin of accomplishment. i know i'm a pretty good cook, so i indulge my fantasies in the culinary world extensively. what i feel is that cooking, true cooking, takes patience and, above all, adoration for the craft itself.
is that overboard? not for me. i've seen the film twice and what it's done for me is make me willing to take chances i never really would. hard to believe i wouldn't take chances in cooking, i know, but it's true. i've never barbecued properly. oh, i've grilled my ass off, trust me, but my mother actually barbecued ribs, beautifully, i might add, and i never had. until yesterday. i slow smoked a pork butt (HA! pork butt makes me laugh every time) and it was masterful. creating the dry rub, making my own sauce with a fantastic secret ingredient... it was heaven. i like that, look forward to it and revel in it.
cooking. what a wonder. i wish it was all there was, but it's not, is it? and, i suppose, in the long run, that's okay, too.
one of my fave movies of all time is RATATOUILLE. quite extraordinary, personally. and what caught my eye when i was reading through Julia Child, Simone Beck and Louisette Berthole's MASTERING THE ART OF FRENCH COOKING was this: "Anyone can cook in the French manner anywhere, with the right instruction. Our hope is that this book will be helpful in giving that instruction." if you've seen the film, RATATOUILLE, you'll recognize those first 3 words and that's where they came from.
anyone can cook. with a little heart and an open mind, anyone. that's comforting to me.