I’m glad I took today off from work. As I try to put together the pieces for today’s blog, it seems like my whole life has been one long string of out of touch moments. Trying to put it all together will take hours.
Why am I so out of touch? It’s not because I live in Maine. We have high-speed internet here. (And yes, we have dentists and orthodontists, too, little annoying man overheard at Boston’s Four Season’s Bristol Lounge back in 2006.)
It probably has something to do with not having a Tee Vee for 15 years. But despite my lack of an electronic enlightenment box plastered on my wall, I’ve always had an internet connection. No plans to go to Disney World (ever), but I’m on Facebook and Twitter. (Follow me @aunttomato.)
I like what I like and I like things in my own time and not when some salesman or saleswoman tells me to like something. That’s why I’m always late to the party.
Don’t cry for me.
The party I’m currently late to is the Julia Child craze. I’m not completely clueless about her, because the kitchen in the Junior League of Boston’s 2006 Show House was dedicated to Julia Child and I do believe I read My Life in France about this time; designer Liz Mitchell incorporated the book into her kitchen-ary vision, leaving a copy of the tome in a conversation nook. Even though we daily warned show house visitors “do not touch the furniture” I did occasionally sit in one of the nook’s white wicker chairs, all Brunschwig comfy cushions, and read after the house closed for the day. Years earlier, I had picked up Fitch’s 1999 biography of Child, Appetite for Life, but for some reason had flung it off my bedside reading table after a chapter. And years before that, I received Child’s magnificent 1993 The Way to Cook as a Christmas gift. It is well-loved and often-used.
I even saw the 2009 film, Julie & Julia.
But it wasn’t until just the other day I read Julie Powell’s 2005 book, which inspired the movie. I found it in a pile of “free” books, posthumous garage sale booty. And given my renewed commitment to “read more” I took it home. In the book, the author spends a year cooking every recipe in Mastering the Art of French Cooking. She’s a New Yorker, blogging about it while simultaneously working as a temp for a government agency at Ground Zero after 9/11.
I was tempted to say “I couldn’t have hated it more,” and filed it under the Dorothy Parker quote “This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force.” But as I’ve thought about it since finishing on Tuesday, if it hadn’t been steeped in profanity and pandering to political ideology, it wouldn’t have been a bad read. And I don’t say those criticisms from a whitewashed tomb of purity and opposing political sentiments. It’s that I’ve read that in English, just 300 words make up 65% of all written material. It’s kind of a drag that the F bomb gets so overused, as it was in Powell’s book when there are so many underused words available. Even her mother was a voracious F bomber and had no patience for one of Julie’s blog commenters who asked Julie to stop using profanity.
Nevertheless, the author had breathless energy which resulted in funny stories and provocative anecdotes; I must admit, I almost laughed out loud once or twice. And it was a “national bestseller,” after all, and in my humble opinion, the book would have been even without the F bombs and politics.
There it is. My first book of 2015, not horrible and even inspiring in a way because even though Julie Powell has already cooked her way through Mastering the Art of French Cooking, maybe I could cook my way through Simone Beck’s Simca’s Cuisine, which is only 100 recipes.
Then again, maybe not.
Au Revior, mes amies!