In the background, as I am typing this blog entry, is the high-pitched, nasal and gushy voice of Meryll Streep playing culinary legend Julia Child in the movie Julie & Julia. I am not ashamed to admit that I watch this movie, or just have it as a background while I go about my house chores especially when ironing my clothes, at least once a week.
Julia Child, unlike Julie Powell whose relationship with the American culinary legend stemmed from a childhood memory, has never played a key role during my childhood. Her show, The French Chef, never seemed to have made it in the programming of the then wee 5-TV channel selection in the Philippines. So this movie marked the beginning of my relationship with the endearing Julia Child.
Apart from my weekly viewing of the aforementioned movie, I went out and bought myself a copy of Julia Child’s autobiography, “My Life in France” I devoured page after page after page, hearing the signature Julia Child high-pitched, nasal and gushy voice inside my head though her writing as she enthusiastically grappled with her life in a new and fascinating country with her husband. I hung on to every word like I was her long lost grandchild, sitting at the foot of her rocking chair as she went on and on about her spirited adventures in her younger days.
And as Julia Child’s long lost grandchild, I took it upon myself to go through her old letters to eavesdrop more into the day-to-day happenings in her fascinating life. Hence, I bought a copy of “As Always, Julia: The Letters of Julia Child and Avis Devoto”, a compilation of the correspondence between Julia Child and her penpal, dearest confidante and almost sister Avis Devoto.
Through their letters, which were in so much detail with words written in an age without the convenience of digital cameras that sometimes rid the use of words to capture all scenery, thoughts and feelings, I’ve learned how much I see bits of my reflection in Julia Child’s life that somehow seems to have strengthened the bond I have with her.
We both were trailing spouses, following our husbands to their respective corners of the world. She followed Paul to France, where she obviously chose, nursed and grew her passion for cooking, while I followed The Husband to the Middle East, where I now am still struggling day to day to find, nurse and grow my passion for food. We both are writers. She, of course, was then in the process of completing a mammoth of a book project, “The Art of Mastering French Cooking”; while I am trying very hard to write my legacy on my modest food blog. We both are relentless students of the realm of the kitchen. She was actually anal figuring out the exact measurements and specific ingredients used to come up with the perfect recipe, while I am learning my way through the kitchen, going through a similar journey on a smaller scale, of course, increasing my kitchen skills and knowledge by the day and building my dream kitchen one nifty gadget at a time.
Somehow, I feel that part of Julia Child lives in me today and that I have lived part of Julia’s life in the past. Maybe I am her long long grandchild in another parallel food universe. I am just hoping that someday, one day I’d be able to fill in her huge culinary clogs and make her proud just like every grandchild would.
I certainly have no ambition to cook my way through “The Art of Mastering French Cooking” just as Julie Powell did. All I want is to do ala Julia Child is write about food from the gut, without fear or as she would say “with the courage of your conviction”, and radiate the passion for food and cooking, shining and radiating happiness like the sun for those who are somehow groping in the culinary darkness like I once was.
Delirious about delicious,