I’m sure this birthday greeting means nothing to you, because-
A. you have no idea who I am
2. you are dead.
But that isn’t going to stop me from telling you from my the bottom of my heart how much you mean to me.
Honestly, I hadn’t thought much about you until I saw Julie & Julia.
After seeing the movie, I decided to read your book, My Life In France. What a great read! I especially loved the pictures. I really liked the ones of you and your dear husband. Your love story is just one of the things about you that captivates me. Pictures make any book better. Especially ones with lots of really big words.
My husband gave me your cookbook Mastering The Art Of French Cooking for my birthday a couple of years ago, and I will treasure it always. Not just because he wrote a love note on the page intentionally left blank for love notes, but because I enjoy your writing as much, if not more than, your recipes themselves. I will never master the art of French cooking, I’m afraid, but I will keep trying to live up to your standards. You are a hero to me and countless others who fear that life has passed them by too quickly to do anything important or new.
Who else could become an expert, an authority, an icon if you will, in their chosen field, when they had no idea what their chosen field even was until the ripe old age of 36.
It’s unfortunate that you can’t be here to see the influence you still have over cooking and culture to this day. Not only did you pioneer the art of televised chefitude, and bring us out of the tv dinner fortress of mediocrity, but you showed us that you can charm the pants off of your dinner guests even with an epic fail. Striving for success, one meal at a time, and never admitting your mistakes at the table is sheer genius.
The world of media has changed quite a bit since your death in 2004, but your spirit is alive and well and you are still teaching, sharing and entertaining in ways you never imagined. How many people saw Meryl Streep bring the darling that is you to life and were awed? How many of us then, and only then, discovered that what makes you so special isn’t your cooking skills. Finding it within yourself to become a master at something totally foreign is what makes you special, and an inspiration to not just myself, but many others, I’m sure.
You taught the American cook to cut loose from safety and boredom. You taught us to be bold, to be brave, to be fearless. You also taught us that an adventure can start as close as the kitchen and end no farther away than the dining room.
Your struggles to find out who you were, despite being told who you were for so many years gives hope to square pegs across the globe.
Conquering brave new worlds, where onions, ducks and fluffy souffles lie in wait to best you is a testament to your strength.
We see that true love can find a geeky girl who’s too tall and doesn’t play by the rules.
Your unique friendship with Avis DeSoto and its auspicious beginning, makes the rest of us just a little less timid to make friends with a total stranger from far away.
How many bought your cookbook for the recipes, but end up reading it like a book for the witty words, the recipes becoming secondary?
All of the technology of today makes you, a national treasure, readily available for those who want to know more about you, and tackle French cooking in their own kitchen. I am delighted that any time I want, I can log on to Amazon, and watch episodes of your show. Not having to write it all down is certainly a bonus. I am all about the lazy, and being able to pause and rewind works for me.
I just recently watched your very first handful of episodes. Black and white, 1963 on WGBH- Boston public television. You were a little nervous and hadn’t yet hit your stride. Despite the nerves, the spills, the low tech and the low-budget, you shined. You glowed. You wowed.
Thank you so much, Julia, for sharing your life and your gifts with me and the rest of the world. You are missed.