I went through a phase before I moved to California where I exclusively read women’s biographies. Lucille Ball, Rue McClanahan, Lauren Bacall. I studied their lives and knew they all came from humble beginnings. Started fresh in California, were known by their faces and resumes alone. It kept me preoccupied for a while, so I didn’t have to think about packing or the mundanity of finances.
I’ve begun to enter the escapism of biographies. Where I can compare the linear progression of one celebrity with my own life at 22. It’s unhealthy, of course I know this, but aren’t all ways in which we escape? So, in knowing this about myself, I picked up Julia Child’s biography. It surprised me to find that she began cooking at 37, moved to Paris so late in life, came from a town two hours north of where I live now, and was so wholeheartedly in love with her husband. All beautiful, the imagery she created of the romanticized Paris any daydreamer has grown accustomed to. But, two quotes resonated with me strongly, especially after what failure came from the bundt cake. Child says:
Of course I made many boo-boos. At first this broke my heart, but then I came to understand that learning how to fix one’s mistakes, or live with them, was an important part of becoming a cook. I was beginning to feel la cuisine bourgeoise in my hands, my stomach, my soul.
I don’t believe in twisting yourself into knots of excuses and explanation over the food you make…
And I will live by those rules.
I am not one for cliches and my cooking influence is not necessarily in the school of thought that Julia Child had, but I have checked out her Mastering the Art of French Cooking a total of fifteen times in one year from the library (and racked up $16 in late fines because of it). It’s the truthful, matter-of-fact, terse declaration of being unapologetic for being a continuous student that sat warmly in my mind the night I read those words. And hopefully, for other novices to the kitchen sink and blogging neophytes, these words will comfort you, knowing that even the Master of French cooking had a few set-backs in her early days.