Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Julia Child Birthday Event

I'm late for this, but I had to do it anyway. Last year Lisa at Champaign Taste invited bloggers to post about Julia, and inspired by this, I made mayonnaise for the first time. (It was easy; did you know that Julia says it's OK to do it in the blender?)
This year I made Nicoise Salad. Here is Julia's recipe. I followed it as to ingredients, but altered quantities freely, on the grounds of availability and personal taste (less tuna, more tomato). It was one of the best I've had, probably because so many of the vegetables were fresh, just picked from the garden--the tomatoes, the cucumbers, the beans, the basil I put in the vinaigrette, the shallots.
When I was thinking about Julia and what to make, I tried to remember when and what I first knew about her. I couldn't pin it down, but an early Julia connection was her appearance in Desperately Seeking Susan, an '80s Madonna movie. Rosanna Arquette is a frustrated, ignored wife of a swimming pool salesman--can I be remembering that correctly? Her husband comes home and wants to know what his girls have been up to--he means Rosanna and Julia, who is cooking on the television in their kitchen, as Rosanna tries to keep up with her furious whisking. The idea of it was that Rosanna didn't have a life or any friends, so she had to look to Julia for companionship (I guess)--and of course, she goes out and meets Madonna and has adventures (does she become a stripper?) and finds love, etc.
But that scene also had this cozy friendly feeling--Julia cooking on the tv, and Rosanna in her own kitchen, that I liked. When I came across Julia again, I wanted to get in on that (without having to meet Madonna, etc.) and our culinary relationship was born.
This Nicoise Salad was also good in the way that something can be when you make one serving, just for yourself, on the spur of the moment. I read the word "Nicoise" (which is a lovely word), I let the ingredients drift through my mind--olives, tomatoes, beans. I found myself going to the refrigerator as if in a dream, and dreaming, brought it all together: lunch!


Blue Zebra said...

Hi Lucette! I loved your memory of Julia! I kinda felt the same way when I first saw her. She de-mystified everything and made it unintimidating. And she always laughed. I felt I knew her, in a non-psychopathic or stalker type way, not that there's anything wrong with that! ;) haha!

I hope you will come visit me at my blog sometime. I am adding you to my link of blogs list and hope you will reciprocate if you like what you read!

p.s. Am still trying to work out photo quality so please, bear with me!

Lisa said...

Thank you, Lucette, for this! I made the same salad, by the way. Two great minds!

Loved that you reminded me of that scene in Desperately Seeking Susan... my post is up very soon today!

kitchen hand said...

That's one of my favourite salads.

Magpie said...

Thanks for the reminder about Desperately Seeking Susan - that was a funny moment.

Nice post!

Gina Ventre said...

Love nicoise. This recipe looks yummy.

How do you get your food pictures to turn out so delectably?

Kathleen said...

I have recently found Lisa's blog, Champaign Taste, and she has already steered us to some very good restaurants.

BC said...

It's great when we can embrace the progress of the blender. Homemade mayo can't be beat! We don't pound our cloths on rocks anymore and I am thankful.

lucette said...

bz, lisa, kh, magpie--thanks!
Gina--I take a lot of pictures, hoping to get lucky. I keep thinking I should take a class, but I'm too lazy.
Kathleen--I keep hoping you'll start to blog--I want to hear abt your new job, etc.
bc--I'm getting rid of my rocks immediately!

Blogger said...

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