Tonight I roasted a chicken for Julia, who’d be 100 today.
Truth be known, I’m not the least bit interested in French cuisine; I find it as fussy and pretentious as, well, every time I’ve had to travel through France. Roasting Julia’s chicken requires that you fiddle around with it eleven times during the ninety minutes it roasts. It’s not nearly her fussiest recipe, which I’ve also made, and- meh. It’s just ok, after fifteen pages of recipe. Fifteen pages. I’ll take Marcella Hazan’s Italy, or Rick Bayless’ Mexico, or pretty much any other culture in which they start with simple foods, and prepare them as simply as possible, to show them off- and it always works.
I don’t love French food. But know what I do love? Julia. I love that she didn’t fit anyone’s mold; that she spent her early years off having adventures all over the world; she traveled; she became a spy; she won commendations for meritorious service. She found love late; she married late; she found her passions late; she was so excited about what she learned that she couldn’t stop teaching others about it. She did things out of order. She found her own path.
Anyone else love late bloomers? People who were shy in high school, and still are sometimes as grown-ups? People who weren’t frat stars and homecoming queens? People who didn’t peak in college, and have learned through the intervening years that this is a great thing? People who have made their own way, however many twists and turns, and learned something from every stage? People who are still looking forward to things? People who are still growing?
Julia said that when you’re trying to flip something gracefully, it only works if you go into it with courage.
I love her for that.