Julia Child-- Where does one begin?
I suppose we can start with one of my favorite Julia quotes from her book, My Life in France, "This is my invariable advice to people: Learn how to cook- try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless, and above all have fun!" It seems easier said than done. But when I think about it Julia was a woman who was criticized for being 6' 2", having an odd voice, marring her husband Paul at the late age of 34, and being a woman who wanted to learn how to cook classic French dishes in a world of convenience foods. You can learn more about her life by watching this tribute to her life.You can also rent the movie Julie and Julia and watch Meryl Streep embody Mrs. Paul Child. Better yet, you can get on youtube and watch Julia Child cook homemade bread like she is in the kitchen with you. I am writing about her today not to educate you about her life but to point out that she would probably have something to say if she was in our Meaning of Food class.This semester I have been challenged to think about that way people interact with food-- and more and more I am realizing how thankful I am to have been taking this class as my last class of my undergraduate career.To live you must have air to breathe, water to drink, food to eat, and some sort of shelter. Whether you eat meat, veggies, bugs, cotton candy, or get IV nutrition--eating is something that everyone and everything must take part in on this Earth. In food we see culture, science, economics,history, sociology, etc. The list goes on and on because food is such a large part of our lives.
In the quote I mentioned, Julia Child give a long list of advice but I'm not so sure she is simply talking about food. I think Julia's advice wasn't to inspire us to learn how to cook-- I think she was telling us to learn how to live. So much of food is wrapped up in social interactions and relationships that I wonder if she was talking about being fearless to live a life in which we meet new people, fall in and out of love, try to see things from a new perspective, or as she instructs try a new recipe. After all the old saying goes "variety is the spice of life." Which means: that if you do a lot of different things and meet different people, etc., your life becomes more interesting. Having and experiencing a lot of different things is what makes your life interesting. She tells us to learn from our mistakes like the first time we bake cookies and forget to put on the timer or the time you burned a relationship bridge. She tells us to be fearless and in this cruel world we sort of have to be on our guard-- but I think she was telling us to open up and be vulnerable for other people. Whether that is to someone you are looking to start a relationship with or someone who asks you for directions on the street. If we are all connected and similar through our need for food (or some sort of sustenance being absorbed into our bodies for life) why do we look at difference and structure a life based upon WE/THEY thinking?
I know I sound a bit sappy which is probably due to the fact that tomorrow is my last day of class after 22 years of going to school but I think Julia was on to something. Whats the problem with lots of cooks in the kitchen?