I would not say that my mother was a bad cook, but I would not describe her as a good cook either. I would describe her as an occasionally ambitious cook, and the results were mixed at best.
Like a lot of career-minded women who got married in the 1970’s, she wasn’t about to sign it all away to be anyone’s Suzy Homemaker. However, she did enjoy the idea of possessing a certain flair in the kitchen.
Betty Crocker tuna casserole? No thank you.
Julia Child’s herb rolled quail eggs? Oui, s'il-vous-plait!
The Bible of ostentatious cooking, Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking, was always in our kitchen. Usually it was under an ash tray and a glass of chardonnay, but that was beside the point – it was there for everyone to see, in all its turquoise glory, dispensing knowledge on everything from deboning fish to hanging a knife rack. For the record, I do not recall my mother ever fixing me a grilled cheese sandwich, but thanks’ to Julia, we had Soufflé au Fromage at least once a week for a year.
Today would have been Julia’s 100th birthday. It’s been a while since I tried to cook a cheese soufflé but I’m thinking, if there was ever a time, this is it.
Happy birthday Julia!
|Pretend there is a candle in there.|
PS: If you are ever in Washington DC you need to stop into see Julia’s kitchen in person at teh Smithsonian museum of American history. It's free and it's 100 yards off the original Kermit puppet (so, be prepared to make an offering of flowers or chocolate or something). Not going to DC anytime soon? Here, take an online tour.