Cooking School Journal: Julia

What a day. I spent last night trying to convince my brother-in-law to flee Tampa and head inland to Orlando. He was steadfast in his resolve to ride out Hurricane Charley in Tampa. I awoke to the horror of Charley being upgraded to a Category 4 hurricane. All I could see were the ruins left behind from Andrew. I was terrified for him.

Staring at the news, the anchor broke away from the storm coverage to announce breaking news. “Julia Child has died in her sleep at her home in Santa Barbara. She was 91.”

Oh my God.

My heart sank to the floor.

She’s one of my greatest heroes. And what a hero she was.

She brought the art of French cooking to an America that was busy making Jell-o molds and lunching at McDonalds.

There is a young writer who has on the web documented her own self-study of “Mastering the Art of French Cooking”. She has carefully studied and tested each recipe, page by page, in her home kitchen. A noble pursuit that we should all undertake.

But more than that, the noble pursuit we should all undertake is trying to live our lives like Julia lived hers.

Another pat of butter, a good cheeseburger, another glass of wine. All with a smile, knowing that we have worked hard to give America back its greatest cultural asset… the dinner table.

Growing up in a generation that has become afraid of its food, afraid of its wine and too busy to sit together at the dinner table, I’ve tried so hard to bring her philosophy into my home.

She was an amazing woman. She didn’t even take her first cooking course until she was 37. It took her and her co-authors more than 10 years to publish that first book. That’s quite amazing to me. My generation is convinced that if you’re not an executive by 30, you’re not a true success. An idea, by the way, that leaves most women who choose to spend their twenties changing diapers, feeling quite discouraged and depressed. A-hem.

She transcended all of those ideas. Whether she was standing tall at 6’2″ on her first cooking series, or hunched over laughing with Jacques Pepin 30 years later she showed Americans what it truly means to follow your dreams. Live your life. Do what you are meant to do. And absolutely enjoy it all.

Rich is fine. He made the right choice to hunker down. Charley turned a quick right into Ft. Meyers and missed Tampa, and descended hard on Orlando.

Thank God he’s okay.

Let’s all hope Julia is okay too. I’m sure she’s toasting all of us with a generous pour of wine and a wonderful cheeseburger.

Jules

1912 - 2004

1912 - 2004

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