On the heels of celebrating my visit with Elisabetta of Sono Montendoli, I had the opportunity to delve into the life of yet another great woman—Julia Child. I was leaving for Europe and a good friend had just finished reading My Life in France by Julia Child and Alex Prud’Homme. She was completely taken by the book and thought that I MUST read. And as it turns out, it was also the latest selection for our book club. I hosted the meeting at my home.
So last Friday night, I hosted a fun-filled event for 10 women. We started the evening off with a Crémant from Alsace that was paired with Julia’s mussels. Her butter-rich recipe was a bit different from my usual preparation (straw, please). For the main course, I made Julia’s cassoulet and a simple arugula salad. The scramble to get all this done on a Friday night was well worth it (well, maybe not for the one surprise vegan present). For the pairing, we had the 2005 Domaine Santa Duc Côtes du Rhônes Les Quatre Terres. The earthiness nuzzled in nicely with the robust meat flavors. As classic pairing formula goes “Grown Together, Go Together.” This wine will definitely be in the Everyday Libations selection for October. At $15.50 a bottle, this served up big flavor for the fall. And for dessert, an apple tarte tatin! C’est formidable!
Over the course of the evening, we each took turns talking about what we liked/disliked about the book, and why Julia Child is still relevant today. For the most part, we were all inspired by Julia—a woman who blossomed late in life and was able to follow her passion. Her stories about post-war Paris, her sweet relationship with her husband and her dedication to recipe research were all things we enjoyed. Julia’s candid comments about Simca and other friendships showed us that she was human, and in the words of one woman, “Her honesty made the book believable.” There was one naysayer in the group. She felt that Julia Child was a bit of an ingrate and she should have been more politically tolerant of her father, since she benefited from his wealth. She also felt that Julia’s intolerance with Simca’s point of view was problematic.
In the end, Julia Child is just as relevant today as she was 40 years ago. From a cooking and business leadership standpoint, she is a great role model. She made smart decisions that helped her achieve her success. I, for one, loved this book and am inspired by yet another powerful life force.
Angela Camacho, a certified sommelier and author of a best selling wine tool, The Wine Wheel®, shares her obsession with wine and food.