Topic: The Culture
As most everyone knows, that famous woman from Pasadena, Julia Child, passed away this week. I still have my late mother's old copy of The Art of French Cooking somewhere or other, although I hardly ever open it. Like most guys, I work from intuition and improvise - although I have consulted that book from time to time on things that puzzled me. But Julia Child was one fine woman.
Someone I know, Louisa KL Chu, on her website Movable Feast: Diary of an Itinerant Chef has a funny story of what it was like to interview Julia Child. You might check it out here. Louisa, by the way, holds Le Grand Dipl?me from Le Cordon Bleu in Paris (2003) and then staged at Restaurant Alain Ducasse au Plaza Ath?n?? also in Paris. And she will be staging at El Bulli in September until the end of the season 2004 - think foam, of course. She is contracted with Les Ambassadeurs at the H?tel de Crillon in Paris after that, but her French work visa is pending. I believe bureaucracy is a French word - they invented the concept - and I wish her luck. Anyway, Louisa's interview will give a good sense of Julia Child.
And you might want to check out this appreciation. It hits the mark.
Julia Child's Lessons in Living
She combined a Puritan work ethic with a love of life.
Amy Finnerty - Opinion Journal (in The Wall Street Journal), Tuesday, August 17, 2004
Some nuggets from Finnerty?
Julia Child as subversive of the American ethic -
That about sums it up. Lighten-up and relax - and enjoy life. Fine by me.
And had she not been involved with food?
What? America's love of suffering?
Well, surveying the week in politics, watching the not-quite-hard-bodies staggering out of Crunch Gym down on the corner, where aerobic suffering is a specialty, listening to the din of coverage of the trials of Scott (murder) and Kobe (rape) and Micheal (child molestation)... this Finnerty woman has nailed it there too. We do love suffering. It ennobles us, and entertains us.
Crunch Gym stands on the spot where Schwab's Drugstore used to be - where Lana Turner was discovered - a pretty young teenager in a tight cashmere sweater sipping a high-carb, real-sugar soda many decades ago. Times have changed. The sweet young things on that corner now, exhausted from their workouts, looking grim and a bit mean, could easily toss any Hollywood agent who gets too fresh through a plate-glass window - and they sip cold no-carb coffee-like stuff at Buzz Coffee on the plaza outside the gym - and you don't want to mess with them.
Julia Child would just not get it.
One other -
The American poet Donald Justice died August 6th after a long illness. He was extraordinary. One of my favorites.
Here is a quick bio -listing all the awards and such.
And everyone is quoting his most famous poem -
Short and to the point.
William Carlos Williams, another American poet (Patterson, New Jersey in fact - but he was in Paris with Hemingway and Gertrude Stein and the rest of course), said this - "It is difficult to get the news from poems yet men die miserably every day for lack of what is found there."
Yep. And I think Julia Child knew something similar about food.
Slow down. Enjoy. Drink it all in.