At the moment, it is very “in” to like Julia Child. I saw Julie and Julia, and I will freely confess that it did make me want to analyze her life, and sample some of her cooking. The following week, merely days before leaving for France myself, I did indeed attempt to make the infamous boeuf bourguignon. The end result was delicious. However, we did eat dinner approximately 2.5 hours later than usual and I did use every single dish and surface in the kitchen.
On the plane ride to Paris I devoured Julia Child’s memoirs entitled My Life in France. I highly recommend it. Given to me by the mother of a dear friend, the book calmed my anxious worries by its delightful portrayal of Julia’s time in Paris. In reading the book, I grew to really admire Julia Child.
The film covered some aspects of her character, but it didn’t come close to really capturing how doggedly persistent and thorough she was, all the while shying from ever seeming arrogant. She never seemed to lose the ability to enjoy what she was doing, or in most cases, eating. I was impressed by her devotion to her husband, and his to her. And I was enthralled by her love of Paris, and perceptive insights into the quirky ways of Parisians.
Thus, I decided that I had to make a pilgrimage to 81 rue de l’Université, or “roo de loo” as Julia refers to it. I thought it to be very close to me, but I forgot the finicky nature of street numbers. 80 and 82 roo de loo are indeed not far, but the odd numbers go up on the other side at a different rate so it was quite a hike.
I finally reached 81, and it was another building like all the rest: tall and stately with enormous blue doors. No one else walking by seemed to think it was something. But to me, it was. A loud, tall, American who loved food used to live there. And I, a loud, tall, American who loves French food liked knowing that. To commemorate the moment, I ate several brightly colored macaroons, tossing some crumbs in the wind (to be fair, they fell all over my lap so I brushed them into the wind) in a sort of communal moment.
I do want to pause to say that while in the Bourgogne, I had legitimate boeuf bourguignon, and I can now assert than mine was worthy of the name. My current culinary success is making crêpes. The Pernot girls eat them every Tuesday night so I learned them on my first day in France. I have only had one mishap in throwing and catching the crêpes. It remains behind the stove, reminding me that I have not yet mastered the art of French cooking.