I finally got My Life in France by Julia Child a few weeks ago. I picked it up on a Sunday afternoon and honestly had to force myself to put it down because I had read through a hundred pages in one sitting! And I still wanted to keep on going. I did not grow up with Julia Child like a lot of people did, besides noticing her cookbook in my mom’s extensive recipe book collection I had no idea who she was. I saw Julie & Julia a few years ago and enjoyed it, but I didn’t really feel the need to find out more about her until recently. Since I have gotten into cooking more I have wanted to try some of her famous recipes and see what the big deal about French food is. To be honest I haven’t really had any French meals before, not for lack of desire but because I never really hear anyone talk about a great French restaurant they had been to lately. I’m sure there are wonderful French restaurants in SoCal but you hear people gushing more about certain Thai, Indian, Mexican, and Italian food restaurants out here.
So after I had finished the book in about four sittings, I handed it over to Honey who also has been thoroughly enjoying it and reading it way past his “bed time”. What can I say it is an enjoyable book, it is almost a pleasure to read someone so happy and inspired by their surroundings. The incredible thing is that it was “written” with her husband’s grand nephew in 2003, when she was in her 90’s. With the excitement and detailed feelings you would have thought it was something that happened one or two years ago, not 55! And you know how they were able to piece together the details? Letters, photographs, and date books. Both Julia and her husband Paul had written faithfully to their families over the years and in great detail. That is how she could remember all of the little things, like what incredible meals she had on which occasions, what their first apartment was like in Paris, and all of the testing she had to do to make her recipes perfect. Paul use to take time out every week to write letters, and the weren’t little “how ya doings?” we’re talking about six page long letters. Incredible! Letter writing is definitely a lost art, I hear kids don’t even write notes to each other in class now-they text. Damn, I’m old.
This got me thinking about my own lack of commitment to writing down the daily stuff of my life, here and elsewhere. I probably won’t end up being like Julia Child and publishing a memoir, but think of what memories she could have forgotten if she hadn’t written it down. I know that I and all of the other people that have read and enjoyed her book, would have missed out on a great story. And even just as an individual being able to go back and read something you wrote decades ago and be reminded of all of the little things that made things great (or not so great) enhances your memory of the experience. So I’m going to start keeping a better record of what I’m up to, because though I might think it is just the daily happenings and not very interesting- in five years I might forget what the heck I was up to around this time in my life.
So here is what happened yesterday, I finally broke down and bought a book that I had wanted for years but always talked myself out of getting.
Don’t worry I’m not going to go all Julie Powell on you guys.