Julia Child Lovefest

Thursday, January 9, 2014

I finished the Julia Child/Avis DeVoto book last week and am completely in love with both Julia and Avis.

I started reading the Laura Shapiro book about Julia Child (Julia Child: A Life), and the author starts off by talking about the large volume of letters received by every television station on which The French Chef appeared, in which the letter writer professed his or her great love for Julia.

At one point in the Julie/Julia Project, Julie Powell mentions watching old Julia Child shows:

And while we were eating, we watched Julia.  One of her later shows, when she’s just about to keel over.  Rick Bayless was the guest.  And the thing is, you know I’ve been cooking with Julia for like nine months now, and there’s a tendency to take her for granted at this point.  But watching her is always an education.  This woman is a) endlessly generous, and b) endlessly curious.  God love her – I hope with all my being that I will have her love of life when I’m ninety.  Or even now.  Julia and Willie – two people we should learn from every day.  During this episode, Julia was obsessed with the epazote – “And they say it takes the gas out of beans – is that true?”  And she was always sticking her fingers in everything.  But her best single line of the night referred to lard, of course.  When discussing how afraid people are of lard, she said, with real warbling vehemence, “It’s just terrible!”

I love her.  So.  Much.

That just cracked me up. And I feel the same way, and I haven’t even watched any of the shows. This is all from reading her books and letters.

Totally love her.

And here is one of my favorite, non-food related stories in the Julia/Avis book. Julia is telling Avis about a visit from a childhood friend, Gay Bradley, who had come to Norway when Julia and Paul were living there:

Great fun to again be with Gay and we talked and talked and never finished what we had to say. But what a different life she leads than we. Her husband is a lawyer in San Francisco, and they live in Burlingame, and must have so much mazuma that it is quite beyond our ken. They live an upper level San Francisco type of social life and, I guess, know everybody who is anybody including all the visiting big wigs who come out there. Go to the dinner for Khrushchev and sit facing the table of honor, and all that. It takes her 1-1/2 hours to get dressed in the morning, even when just here with us, for instance. And then there is the endless shopping, matching of colors, taking things back, re-fixing of hair, finger nails, face oil, bathings. Most interesting to observe for one who can easily get dressed for a big evening in about 7 minutes. For a bit I felt like a smelly old frump, but luckily reverted to my usual what the hell, as one couldn’t compete or compare. Most interesting to think about, however.

I love the phrase “we talked and talked and never finished what we had to say” as that is exactly what it is like when I’m with my friends from high school and college, we talk and talk and never finish, and also I think it’s funny that she says she can get dressed for a big evening in about 7 minutes because that is how I am too. And I have friends “with so much mazuma it is quite beyond [my] ken” with whom I “couldn’t compete or compare” and it is indeed “most interesting to think about.”

Also I love the fact that Khrushchev is footnooted in the book, because how would anyone reading today be expected to know who Khrushchev was.

And that is all for now. Though I expect this won’t be the last you hear from me on this. You know how people are when they are in love.

2 Responses to “Julia Child Lovefest”

  1. Liz Adams Says:

    What you’ve never seen any of the French Chef shows? you poor deprived lady! her warble was much more pronounced then, and the show was a hoot.

    Wonderful cooking and technique and complete lack of nerves when she dropped stuff and dusted it off and continued, or couldn’t find an ingredient and was just poking about all over the set for it! no wonder people loved her.

    She was much more tame and civilized when she appeared with Jacques Pepin, who was also in love with her! she always wore her official insignia of the cooking diploma thing,like a great big Olympic medal. And her hearty Bon Appetit at the close of each show was wonderful. Made you want to run and cook!

  2. lessisenough Says:

    I feel like I must have seen some of her shows, but not for ages. And really what I think of when I think of her show is the Dan Akroyd SNL skit — “Save the chicken livers!”. So I’m looking forward to poking around and seeing what I can find, and watching some video.

    But even just reading her writing makes you want to cook things, she has such great passion. It’s really inspiring. Especially knowing that she worked on the cookbook for more than 10 years, and it wasn’t published until she was almost 50. She gives hope to middle-aged people everywhere. It’s not too late!


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