|I won't have a chance to make Boeuf Bourguignon tonight|
But I do want to pay tribute to Julia's legacy. Anyone who participates and enjoys America's vibrant and diverse food culture today certainly owes Julia a debt of gratitude. I'd say it was a combination of her passion for food and people that made the difference, providing both the motivation to get into food but also a comfort level that made the cooking process accessible.
If you've read My Life in France or seen Julie and Julia, you are familiar with the singular moment when Julia had an amazing French meal that include sole meuniere cooked to perfection and a bottle of Chablis. The exquisite treatment of the simple ingredients and the passion for the food and service shown at this restaurant turned her on to the potential of great food. In her words it was "An opening of the soul and the spirit". Not too long after that she was scouring Parisian markets for ingredients every day and enrolled in Le Cordon Bleu. And the rest is history.
I started thinking back to recall if I had a similar moment that turned me on to cooking and enjoying great food and wine. I realized that for me, there was no single epiphany, but a series of experiences that have moved me along in my culinary journey. In honor of the great Julia Childs' 100th birthday today, I recall my "Nine Julia moments." Would love to hear about yours!
|didn't have pics of my early food days |
so here's our young foodie!
Be bold A few visits to the original Olives in Charlestown, back in its heyday, helped me develop appreciation for big, bold flavors. Though it's been over a dozen years, I can still taste the wild mushroom risotto dish with succulent truffles. Realizing we couldn't eat at Olives regularly, I got two of Todd English's cookbooks and began attempting with some success to recreate the experience at home. More recently, the food at Craigie on Main has been an inspiration in terms of letting great ingredients shine forth.
Cooking fettuccine primavera for one of our first dates nudged me to move beyond the two dish repertoire I featured in my first year living on my own. And she convinced me to try Indian food on one of our first trips together (it was hard to come by in Kentucky), and that is now one of my favorite cuisines. While I may be the main cook, enjoying good food with Jodi and now our son is an important part of the fun.
Wine country We'd been getting a bit interested in expanding our enjoyment of wine in our twenties, but a visit to California's wine country took my interest to another level. I'd love to tell you my wine epiphany occurred at a small boutique cult cab maker or something like that, but it was a visit to Ravenswood, a pretty big name, that got me going. Jodi and I visited during a slow time in late November, and we were the only ones in the tasting room for awhile. The server had deep knowledge of each wine and would show us where the grapes came from for each thing we were trying. This helped me begin to appreciate the link between a wine and the terroir of its grapes.
few wine dinners at Boston's Aujourd'hui before it closed. Now, there are some other good programs like this in the Boston area, such as the one at L'espalier . But what made this really special was the way sommelier Brick Loomis would transport you to the region featured that night with his stories and passion for pairing food and wine. The Rhone dinner we went to was especially memorable, with Brick conjuring up a feeling that we were at a great restaurant in Lyon as we sampled our Chateauneuf du Pape. Aujourd'hui is closed but my desire to appreciate the interplay of good food and wine continued, helped in this journey by Pairings Wine and Food and of course, the wine dinners we do ourselves.
beets and eggplants that I enjoy...grilling them being a key starting point.
Yipes, 40%! I was already pretty focused on trying to make use of most of the food we have on hand, and have gotten pretty creative in my use of leftovers. But reading that Americans waste approximately 40% of our food really hit me, and I've redoubled my commitment to avoiding food waste by being strategic about using what's on hand. Also, I try to anticipate when I won't be able to use something, and either freeze it or share it.
So these are some of the experiences that have inspired my journey into enjoying the world of food and wine. What are your Julia moments? Whatever they may be, I'll wrap by wishing you bon appetit! in memory of our passionate foodie inspiration.