Any expatriate living in France has had a moment of happiness with Julia Child, people who love to cook even more, people who love people- the most. I spent my day in bed yesterday and I got around to watching old episodes of "the French Chef" and realized how amazing she truly was.
More than just the woman who brought French cooking to America, she also was one of the pioneers in documenting the true France before it began getting overrun with other cultures. She witnessed the changes in marchés to supermarchés, she detailed her love affair with the sole meunière. Ironically I was first introduced to Mrs. Julia Child when I was 18 and had no care for cooking- but was an avid addict to the Food Network. I received the book Julia & Julia and ravished it; it took be about 2 days to finish and although I loved the funny humor surrounding the giant Mastering the Art of French Cooking I found that Julie Powell left little for those who have a deep seeded love for France and cooking.
Hungry, I found copies of the French Chef, Child's series from the younger years. I watched her flipping and messing up potatoes, squirting garlic juice everywhere, making giant messes, losing her train of thought- but always turning out delicious plates of food.
I read through her biography and felt a certain coven within her words; but even moreso when I moved to France 7 months ago. I recently picked up the book from it's shrine (I don't really have a shrine.. ..) and started reading through it once again. Her mishaps in the market, the language barriers, her beautiful relationship with Paul, her love for French food and the French market; I realized that Julia Child is the expatriate's dream... she can relate and yet humor the differences.
Kinship. She describes in a simple phrase that she found herself floating more away from the American culture into the French culture, as if she, herself, were meant to be French. Her friendships with the French women, the fact that although French people seem cold, they are in fact the warmest group. Every word is true. I'm sure that if Julia Child had an expatriate blog, hers would surpass mine in quality and essence. Her trips to the marché reminded me of my fiasco with the peach vendor in the summertime, her evenings with friends to the 'American Gut' that can't handle French food (as she says, it's not so much the French food but the fact that dinner is multiple courses, all rich and drowning in different wines)/
Mastering the Art of French cooking is a sort of cooking bible, especially for the American girl trying to feed the French guy. There have been many times I needed her recipe for the Quiche Lorraine or Salade Niçoise. French people are particular about their meals, moreso now that they have official gastronomic status in UNESCO standards. From types of potatoes (there are many) to what kind of lentil to use, French cooking is an art, one that is a necessity for an expatriate to master.
So, in this obligatory Julia Child post, I want to send my love to the woman and thank her for making my transition to life that much more easier; giving me the balls to discuss the products with the veggie market vendor and know that I should never apologize just move forward. Besides, what happens in the kitchen when you are alone, is no one's business... except maybe Ms. Child's.