This month is all about Julia Child! August 15 will have been her 106th birthday, and all of us in the culinary field – especially the teaching segment – owe her SO MUCH! She was the first “celebrity chef”, but had a demeanor so natural and unpretentious that it was impossible not to love her.
Julia felt that good cooking required time, patience, practice, and, above all, a love of food. To her, a good cook is careful, mindful, thorough, and knowledgeable; they have a serious interest in food and its preparation, and a willingness to take the few extra minutes to be sure things are done as they should be. If technique is lost, or if careful methods give way to speed for its own sake, the end result suffers.
In today’s world, there are ever more shortcuts, hacks, and ways to rush the cooking process all for the sake of time and convenience. I feel we are forgetting the wonderful tastes, smells, and sounds of real food and its connection to us.
In honor of Julia, cook something from REAL ingredients without shortcuts. If that seems beyond your reach, then take action to learn! Whether it is from watching a cooking show, following a cooking blog, opening a cookbook, or attending a class at Mrs. Dornberg’s Culinary Experience. I promise you will feel joyful, and the people with whom you share the meal will know the love that you have for them. Because there is nothing more rewarding than nourishing those we love.
I will continue to honor Julia by following her example of teaching: Focusing on the fundamentals and teaching basic recipes that are as clear and complete as possible. In Julia’s classes, she “wanted you to feel, after we have done something in class, that you really have understood all about doing it! The ultimate goal is to instill self-confidence in the cook.” I strive to follow her example.
She once made the following comments about her culinary study, “After years of following recipes only to meet failure, enjoying a triumph only to see the same dish mysteriously go wrong the next time, planning lovely little dinners that didn’t get to the table until 10:00 pm – now she could understand what was happening and why. Now she could learn.” Not only did she learn, but she helped us learn, too, and for that we are forever grateful!
She was so full of wisdom and wise words. I will close with a few of my favorite quotes.
- No one is born a great cook, one learns by doing.
- You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces – just good food from fresh ingredients.
- The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you’ve got to have a what the hell attitude.
- A party without cake is really just a meeting.
So, next time you are in the kitchen, try channeling YOUR inner Julia!