In many ways, I owe Julia Child my life.
That sounds super weird, but there you have it.
My first interactions with Julia were really in passing. I was vaguely aware of her as a child and occasionally watched her show on PBS in re-runs. You see, I’m actually too young to have witnessed Julia first hand. I was 16 when Julia died and even younger than that when she retired to California. I was brought to her through her writings, and others writing about her, and mostly (if not embarrassingly) through the writing of Julie Powell , of Julie & Julia fame. Suddenly, I was catapulted into an obsession with the woman, the legend, stemming from our shared gargantuan height and her love of all things French.
Plus, her dear friend and cookbook compatriot was Simone Beck, and my name is Simone….so it’s like we’re connected?
When I’m feeling particularly courageous in the kitchen, I attempt a recipe from Mastering the Art of French Cooking. There is a chocolate cake that is absolutely to die for (you can read about that here). Her recipes are often extraordinarily time-consuming, but at the end of them, you truly feel accomplished. It boggles my mind that this woman cooked like this all the time.
And writing a book! I can’t imagine putting in the time an energy to do something like that. Sometimes my laundry seems an insurmountable task, let alone writing a book. In moments when I just can’t handle my life, I think of Julia and her life and her books and that high-pitched way she said, “Bon Appétit!” and somehow, I feel better. Stronger. More powerful.
Julia would have been 100 years old yesterday. Though she is gone, I’m not sure there will ever be a time when she is no longer with us.