Let’s get one thing out of the way right now. I worship idols. Not wooden totems or deities to whom you have to make gory sacrifices, but inspirational, soulful people like Julia Child. Now I’m not the first person to have made the suggestion that Julia Child deserves to be adored. But unlike many, I don’t look to her as the chef goddess. I’ve worshipped her for years (way before blogs were invented and even the internet) because she had her priorities straight.
Julia’s kitchen is at the Smithsonian Museum, in a lovely display that draws scads of curious tourists and admirers.
This past Thanksgiving, my son Liam and I visited her kitchen, examining every nook and cranny that we could see behind the protective glass wall that separates viewers from the kitchen, just as it was in her Boston home. All of it was fascinating, but what struck me most was the sign prominently displayed on her kitchen peg board:
She wasn’t just about the food or its preparation. She cherished the experience of eating and the companionship of family and friends. There is no better way to enjoy a quiet evening at home – or to make a glum day brighter – than to watch Julia and her friend/fellow chef Jacques Pepin enjoy each other’s company as they cook (and sample dishes) together. And though he was typically behind the scenes when it came to her cooking career, she had a true partnership with her husband Paul. I love to watch her dig into something she has just cooked or baked and, most of all, I love how she delighted in sharing food with others.
Whether it’s a three-course meal or a simple soup, when I make something wonderful and invite others to share, I often think of her, especially that crazy laugh she had. Thanks, Julia - for reminding me of what’s really important when I cook.