“Find something you’re passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it.” Julia Child
The second week of August always results in a tussle for the television remote, especially during the evening hours, before dinner. Eventually one gets to watch the latest sports round up or the current political scenes; while the other ends up watching You Tube for the vintage episodes of Julia Child’s shows namely “The French Chef”. Marking the birth week of Julia Child who had made French cooking sound feasible, few shows presenting her famous recipes, episodes or the iconic movie Julie & Julia (2009), paying a tribute to this legendary chef. Though one mayn’t be an avid chef or interested in the art of cooking, there are a couple of lessons on the kitchen front that Julia Child had taught her viewers over the years.
“You’ll never know everything about anything, especially something you love.” Julia Child
“…no one is born a great cook, one learns by doing.” Julia Child, My Life in France
The first few years away from the home environment results in one learning the basic few cooking skills. As the years move on, with the intermixing of cuisines and experimentation, taste buds refine and the likes develop. Entering into relationships and the adult life of the family, cooking for loved ones including making or recreating dishes as per their taste. As one’s own family evolves, cooking comes from the heart. In sequence, what comes from the heart is born out of love, care and interest for the loved ones. Such purpose will conquer the fear of “the dish going bad or wrong”. Along with finesse, it is the dash of love that matters the most.
“The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you’ve got to have a what-the-hell attitude.” Julia Child
“You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces – just good food from fresh ingredients.” Julia Child
During the early years, kitchens were fun especially during the rainy days. Learning to mix the flour, knead it and make flatbread was more about fun and doing, than understanding what happens. Then as home science begins during the middle school and science is explored further, one begins to comprehend the science in the kitchen. Later once alone, cooking becomes an experimentation of flavours, mix of colours, interest and imagination. Eventually cooking evolves into a form of art and science, spiking the interest of the mind as well as the senses.
“The more you know, the more you can create. There’s no end to imagination in the kitchen.” Julia Child via Lynn Gilbert, Particular Passions: Talks With Women Who Have Shaped Our Times
“One of the secrets, and pleasures, of cooking is to learn to correct something if it goes awry; and one of the lessons is to grin and bear it if it cannot be fixed.” Julia Child, My Life in France
Over the years from a novice to learning to master the meals for family and friends, there have been epic disasters, emergency restaurant bookings, late night takeaways and unplanned visits for the family homestead dinners. Yet through the mess, mistakes have been understood and corrected. New recipes and cuisines experimented, modified and old, tested or tried recipes redone with one’s own signature style. Through the uphills and downhills in the kitchen, it is still the fun that stays in the memories made for the self, with children, family and friends around. Man mayn’t live by bread alone, but making it in style, from scratch and with own flavours gives a full sense of accomplishment, happiness within and fun memories to hold onto for a lifetime.
“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!” Julia Child, My Life in France