I finally saw Julie & Julia last night. It made me smile a lot. Amy Adams and Meryl Streep were really good. What a lovely movie.
Julia Child has long been my idol. She was an amazing soul and I adored her for loving real food like I do. I eat too much of it to be sure, but I’m glad to say I don’t buy diet products and I never really have. I don’t see the point of that and I love to eat. Julia did too.
She was a gourmand like I can never be. She ate a little bit of everything, not too much of anything and she enjoyed it all. I am a vegetarian with some very strong dislikes and I have difficulty knowing when I’m full. Julia was never heavy like I am and she lived to be 93. Her height probably helped, but portion control was definitely on her side.
Like Julia, I can’t stand a bad meal, especially when it’s so simple to make a good one. I think she spent a lot of time believing and living that idea. She taught the world that great food only takes patience and determination and not a lot of anything else.
I don’t know many people who enjoy the tastes and textures and triumphs of food like I do. I don’t want to spend my entire life worrying about how many calories or carbs or fats are in everything I eat. Many of my friends feel compelled to do that. I understand why and I don’t think it’s an inherently bad thing, as most of them are gloriously fit, but it’s definitely not me. I will lose weight one day, but not by eating substitute cheese or cutting out bread.
I have no interest in the latest diets or the newest sugar substitutes. I don’t buy margarine and I can’t stand soy milk. I like fresh cream and full fat dressing and creamy avocados. I always have chocolate chip cookie dough in my fridge and I buy fresh sourdough bread several days a week.
In fact, the movie reminded me that I once quite happily pressed five M&M’s into a hunk of sharp cheddar cheese and called it lunch. I didn’t inhale it in desperation as I sometimes do and it wasn’t even an impulse really. I thought about it. I was hungry, I checked the fridge, I considered my options and I chose M&Ms and cheddar. Chocolate and cheese. The best of two amazing worlds. Perfect.
I met Julia Child at a book signing a few years before she died. She was seated and leaning with age, but her height and presence were still imposing. Her eyes were sparkling and her laughter quick, just like I imagined. She made me feel right at ease.
I told her that she had inspired me to go to cooking school and when she asked how I was doing there, I had to confess I had left the program early. She laughed at us both and said “I wasn’t much of an inspiration then, was I?”
I assured her that indeed she was and that if not for her, I’d never have tried it. She was responsible for making me brave. The path I ended up on was really less important than that fact. I’m not sure she believed me.
In any case, the movie is charming and probably not far from accurate about this amazing woman. Go see it. Meeting Julia Child is the only thing I ever had on my bucket list and I’ve done it. Life is good.