I remember being bored as a child, deciding to watch TV in the middle of the day and inevitably not finding anything good on. Like an electronic Ouija board, the channel would find its way to PBS and I would be staring only half interested at this tall old lady with a funny voice. I was only trying to waste time but I am I glad did so. Years later when I finally had an appreciation for cooking and everything Julia Child did for it I was happy to have memories of her while she was still on TV.
I now proudly display my Mastering the Art of French Cooking cookbooks on my coffee table and eagerly read through them like a neglected housewife getting her hands on the Fifty Shades of Grey novel. On occasion I make it a point to find a new recipe to cook from her books because it helps me feel a connection to the culinary past.
After a long life of angering fat-fearing critics, Julia Child died two days prior to her 92nd birthday. Had she only given in to the clean life that veganism offers she would likely still be alive today to blow out the 100 candles on her soy-based lactose-free birthday cake. Taken from us prematurely at the tender age of 91, she was clearly another example of a life cut short by red meat and dairy products. But like she said, “The only time to eat diet food is while you’re waiting for the steak to cook.”
On your 100th birthday – My ode to you, Julia Child.
Julia Child, a memory from my youth
Boisterous, brash, and occasionally uncouth.
You taught us to fry, to sauté, and to bake.
Gave us confidence in dishes we could never make.
Whether folding an omelet or making a roux,
Your instruction left it clear what we needed to do.
Never short on words, or caring how much is to be read.
You devoted 20 pages to a recipe for French bread!
Your French cookbook fills shelves with a tribute of stains,
From a legion of dishes with unpronounceable names.
If you were still alive my heart would be a-flutter
Sitting down to chat with you over a hot cup of butter.
I’d laugh at your quips about cooking with wine.
How it even finds its way into your food from time to time.
We’d then assail the thought of doing a liquid cleanse,
The irrational fear of fats, and the latest diet trends.
An eavesdropper would no doubt call the food police,
And then proceed to blame you for making us all obese.
To which you’d jovially reply with a characteristic gleam,
“If you’re afraid of butter, why don’t you just use cream?”
For you were ever the epicurean, flavor your only guide,
Your tastes didn’t change with the evolving public tide.
And that is why we love you, why we remember your name.
You had an unabashed love of cooking and life just the same.
So on this day Julia, marking a century since your birth,
May we always have your zeal, while cooking on this earth.