lessons from Julia

The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you’ve got to have a what-the-hell attitude. ~Julia Child

Julia Child, with shellfish, on an episode of The French Chef. / © WGBH Educational Foundation

One thing I remember from my childhood is watching Julia Child on PBS. I don’t remember any of the meals or recipes she made but I do remember her voice. She had the sweetest soothing voice with some sort of accent that I couldn’t place but as a child thought was British. I remember how at ease she was in the kitchen and comfortable with the equipment and ingredients that she used. It was calming to watch after a busy day of school, well played Mom.

I remember the way she talked to her guests on the show. The playful banter they had was both funny and endearing. She would sometimes offer them advice or ask them why they added a specific ingredient instead of another. Cooking to her was a conversation, not just about following directions from a book. She cooked because she wanted food to taste good. She shared because she wanted others to be able to experience good food.

As an adult and a mother, when I cook I often talk to myself in the same manner. I like to pretend I’m on the cooking show with Julia talking to her about my dish. I create that same conversation in my head. Why am I mixing certain flavors? Would other spices make the dish taste better? How can I change the ingredients to meet my family’s allergy needs without sacrificing flavor? It’s maddening for my husband who loves food and has to put up with my criticisms of it after each meal. But I feel like I’m always trying to learn and reviewing my own creations makes me a better cook.

I tend to have the same attitude in motherhood. I am constantly having conversations with myself about what I’m doing. At the end of the day I try to do a quick review. How could I have handled that situation better? What can I do tomorrow to make these rainy days more fun for my kids? Why didn’t my 4 year old eat at all today and what can I make her that will make her enjoy real food?

For these reasons, and to possibly become less of a crazy person talking to myself, I started this blog. This is sort of my own television show to share my thoughts on the mothering events throughout the day. It will be an added bonus if my conversations end up helping someone else in a similar situation. And of course I will be sharing my personal recipes, both homemade and my “cheaters” that make cooking fun, easy, and most importantly delicious!

I’m excited for the journey ahead and look forward to taking you with me.

Bon-Appétit!

Jessica

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