Saturday, April 16, 2011

A Sparkly Couple I Admire

A few weeks ago Josh and I had the opportunity to go to Washington DC. He was attending an international law something or other and I was along for the ride. The trip itself was pure Sparkle. It was our first time to really go away just the two of us since before Ava James. We both enjoyed being in a REAL city. After growing up in tiny towns and cow pastures, the energetic buzz of population and politics was positively seductive.

We were thrilled to spend some time at several Smithsonian Museums. The exhibits we were most looking forward to were at the American History Museum. Josh saw his childhood mentor Kermit the frog, and I saw Dorothy's ruby slippers. They were just as dreamy as we imagined.

Then we came to Julia Child's kitchen exhibit.

I never expected to be so moved. When we entered the warmly lit space Julia's throaty voice was wafting through the speakers, and images of her sloppily stuffing bird carcasses flickered across the screens.

If you've seen Julie & Julia, or know anything about Julia's life, you know that she was a mess. Her food wasn't perfect and she was clumsy and awkward. Not only did she realize this, but she could laugh at herself. She showed SNL's parody of her to friends at parties.

After serving as a researcher in World War 2, where she was awarded for having "drive and inherent cheerfulness", she pursued her passion for cooking.

I feel a connection to Julia in many ways. How cooking is "an opening up of the soul and spirit". I love that she was 32 before she learned to cook. She didn't hatch from a Martha-shaped egg, automatically good at everything.

More than any of these things, my strongest connection to Julia is Paul.

Julia said of Paul:

He introduced her to fine French cooking, encouraged her to learn to cook, provided her a space to follow her passions, and absolutely loved her like crazy.

Paul said of Julia:

I think the reason the Julia exhibit resulted in me sobbing uncontrollably is because I truly identify with her. I'm awkward and clumsy, tall and gawky, my food is never perfect. I'm still waiting to start my real grown up job, the one that's my passion and makes my heart sing. I'm a mess and a handful, but Josh loves and supports me through it all. I see so much of our relationship in Paul and Julia's, and it's humbling and encouraging at the same time. Somehow they were able to achieve amazing Sparkly feats doing exactly what they loved, and all the while falling even more in love with each other. May it be so with the two of us.

"Cooking is like love; it should be entered into with abandon or not at all."
~Julia Child

Click here to take a virtual tour of Julia's kitchen.

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