Thursday, August 16, 2012

BON APPETIT!!

Yesterday would have been Julia Child's 100th birthday. Yesterday morning when I blearily logged onto the interweb I saw the google doodle and my heart just soared. I immediately email Johnathan with "did you see? Did you see?!! DID YOU SEE?!?!?! The google doodle!!!!!!!!!" The response I got was "Bon Appetit!" Ga, he gets me! Then again this is also the boy that can quote my favourite lines from "Julie and Julia." When he came home and found me in the kitchen wearing pearls and reading the recipe for Chamignons Farcis (stuffed mushrooms) he knew I was in my happy place. I was channeling my inner Julia.


That's me. And that's Julia Childs kitchen in the American History museum in Washington aka "the Smithsonian." I was vibrating with excitement. As in we walk by the exhibit on the way to the cafe. I wanted to skip lunch. I wasn't interested. I needed to be in Julia's space. I was outvoted. My family thought I was weird. I scarfed lunch and made a b-line for her kitchen. My family can think I'm weird all they want. I am that nerd.

There is something about her story that grabbed me almost instantly. She came to her career later in life and was driven to learn how to cook by her love of food. She is the reason some of my favourite Food Network stars exist. She didn't care if her omelet didn't look perfect. She believed ANYONE could cook and you didn't need fancy pants ingredients to do it. Everything about her is amazing me. She is the reason I learned how to dice properly. She is the reason I learned how to make creme brulee. She is the reason I own a blow torch.



When we got married I knew how to cook and bake at a pretty basic level. I knew how to make sure we were fed but that was about it. I had cooked when I lived at home but it was mostly following instructions left by my mother. I baked quite a bit. But mostly when I should have been studying for finals. I remember the first thing I ever made in our kitchen after we got married. Chicken fajitas. A pretty basic recipe. It took me forever to make them because I was terrified of screwing them up and someone bursting through the door and taking away our marriage license. "You can't cook, turn over your wife membership card please." John complained about how long it took. A few days later I made pancakes for breakfast. Again took forever because I didn't want to screw them up. John complained again about how long it was taking. I haven't yelled at John like that since. He's never commented on how long its taken to get food ready since either.

But I love food. So I needed to learn. And learn I did. About a year and a half ago my mom said the following, "You've surpassed me in the kitchen." My dream was always owning Mastering the Art of French Cooking. But I felt I had to work my way up to it. I know it was written so ANYONE could use it but the thought of making French food scared me. Then I learned it was basically, wine, cheese and butter. I could totally do that.



Then we moved to Switzerland. John had stated he was going to get me "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" as an anniversary gift but he didn't want to move it. Note to husbands world over: Don't say that to your wife. Just don't. I was disappointed to say the least. A few weeks later he came home from work with a hardcover version of volumes 1 and 2. I cried. I finally felt I earned it. Julia Child, a trailing spouse herself, guided this trailing spouse through the scary first few months of living abroad with her food and encouraging words. I could do this!

Train yourself to use your hands and fingers;
they are wonderful instruments.
Train yourself also to handle hot food;
this will save time.
Keep your knives sharp.
Above all, have a good time.

Will do Julia! Will do!


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