So sorry I missed the big party. Looked like quite the celebration! I meant to come, but life got in the way, Blogger has been giving me fits, and, well, I just couldn't make it. There were so many lovely tributes I read, though, I knew you wouldn't miss my not being there.
Still, your 100th birthday! That sure is something. I was remiss in not returning my RSVP.
I loved watching your shows, loved reading your cookbooks. You made me believe that what I always thought was "fancy" cooking really was not only quite doable, but also quite fun. And you seemed so approachable. Even though I know you must have had high standards, you always seemed to have plenty of room for mistakes.
And despite the fact that you were very tall and had a unique voice, you were very feminine, not in a girly-girly way but in a very womanly way.
I feel I would have admired you as much in person as I do from a distance. I would have loved to be at a dinner table (or the kitchen) with you. From what I've read, you were not only a wonderful cook and teacher, but a witty conversationalist, well-read and opinionated and blessed with a wonderful sense of humor, able to laugh at yourself.
- It's never too late. You didn't start really cooking until you were in your thirties; didn't start your first TV show until you were 50. And your "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" was years in the making. As I approach (another!) decade birthday, I am heartened to know that I can still believe there's time to do the things I want.
- There's nothing like a good man. I love Mr. Rosemary to pieces. (Even when we irritate each other! He calls our disagreements "spatulas.") From what I've had glimpses of, you were very much in love with your Paul, on every level. It reminds me very much of my aunt, the one who inspired me to cook. Like you she married later than most, never had children, but shared a love of food and travel and the finer things in life with her husband, who adored her. And she him.
- There's also nothing like a good knife. I have a couple really good knives; most of them are so-so. But I remember you every time I have recently sharpened my best knife and use it.
- One good thing leads to another. Your delight in good knives was what led you to one of your greatest friendships -- with Avis DeVoto -- and your connection to getting your work published. I devoured, "As Always, Julia."
- Letter writing is a good thing. Your letters back-and-forth to Avis are simply delightful. A collection of your e-mails and tweets would not have been the same.
- It's okay to make mistakes. Your famous line about dropping the lamb when you're alone in the kitchen ("Who's to know?") always makes me smile.
- Be flexible. It's good to have a plan, but you need to be able to shift gears if the situation changes, or you run out of cream.
- Be passionate and persistent. Whether in marriage, friendship, or cooking, nothing really great comes of half-hearted efforts.
- Butter is good. All things in moderation is a great motto. Who can not smell butter melting and not know good things are coming?
- So is bourbon. The fact that you enjoyed wine and liquor, either cooking or imbibing, wasn't a secret. Nor was the fact that you didn't think much of my favorite cuisine, Italian, especially when compared to French (You thought Italians just shopped well.) I love the story Mary Ann Esposito tells of the time you cooked with her on her show making fritattas and omelets side by side. When Mary Ann asked what you would have added to the fritatta, you said, "Bourbon." (I prefer scotch.)