My mom thought Julia Child was silly. When I was a kid, I would watch her show and my mom would yell from the other room, “What is that silly woman yodeling about now?”
I wouldn’t respond. I myself often had no idea what Julia was on about. She talked about wine and cheese parties and coffee and champagne parties (!) and I had never in my life seen or heard of these things. She talked about feeding a hundred people at a party and I couldn’t fathom that many people at one party, let alone making each person their own little omelette. My mom microwaved scrambled eggs. They were just as awful as they sound.
But what I really liked about Julia was how she constantly urged her viewers to be courageous in what they attempted. She also urged us to try new things and to not be afraid to make mistakes. And she made mistakes but it was as if it didn’t matter! She just swept it all back into the pan and got on with it.
Mistakes are expensive and when you don’t have a lot of money you can’t afford to make a lot of mistakes. Truth be told, you really can’t afford to try very many new things, either. Too many hidden costs. If you do the same things over and over again you know exactly how much those things will cost.
At the time, I couldn’t have articulated that idea but it wasn’t so much the trying new things I was fascinated by, it was the idea that you could make a mistake and it wouldn’t be the end of the world.
Sweep it all back into the pan then put something together with whatever you’ve managed to salvage and act like that was what you intended all along. This is not a bad metaphor for how to live your life.
I have only made 2 of Julia’s recipes and both were chocolate desserts. They were delicious, difficult and I don’t make them very often.
Julia didn’t teach me how to cook. She taught me how to come back from making mistakes. She taught me it was okay to be confident, outspoken and knowledgeable.
My mom thought Julia was silly because Julia came from money, made outrageously expensive food that could take all day to make and had no idea what it meant to live on the cheap. I think my mom missed what Julia was trying to teach. There was no way in hell I was going to tell my mom she was wrong. I would just turn down the volume, huddle closer to the TV and nod along as Julia told me it was okay to try and fail. Julia helped me believe that it was possible to come back from a failure if you only had the courage to keep going.
Thank you, Julia.