julia child, mastering the art of french cooking, julie powell, french cuisine

No Guts, No Glory


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“You should have seen the way those men looked at me (in cooking class)… but then they discovered I was fearless.” – Julia Child

I’ve never really been a picky eater and have done my best to be open to trying new things. However, there are some things I just don’t think I’ll ever be able to eat – and unfortunately for me, quite a few of those things are found in Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

Here’s something you should know about me – I really love meat. While I think the idea of vegetarianism is admirable, I could never do it. Sure, I could last for awhile, but I would eventually snap and you’d find me the next morning curled up in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator, gnawing on a leg of lamb. But here’s the thing about meat…as a society we’ve really gotten spoiled, haven’t we? We can go to the store, pick up a neatly-wrapped package, pay the nice man at the counter and a couple of hours later we’ve got hamburgers – all without so much as getting our hands dirty. Nevermind the fact that at SOME point, SOMEone had to do all the messy work – but thank goodness it wasn’t us. I consider myself a pretty brave individual, and I’ve got what I imagine to be strong survival skills, but when it comes to killing and preparing my own food, I don’t think I could do it. Aren’t I a hypocrite? I have no problem scarfing down a delicious steak, but if I came face to face with a cow in a field and a meat cleaver in my hand, I’d probably give him a shove while yelling, “Save yourself!” and resort to eating blades of grass in a weird twist of irony. 

Note: This is NOT what a Vietnamese meat market looks like.

What’s my problem? Is it fear, or is it the gross-out factor? Maybe it’s the fear of being grossed-out. Ben once took me to a Vietnamese market in an act of show-and-tell. We had just gotten ice cream cones, and here I come, bopping into the store with my vanilla soft serve, excited to see how other people lived. When we got to the meat section, I stopped in my tracks. There were unwrapped packages of ground beef sitting out, attracting flies, and an assembly line of butchers stood behind a counter messily hacking away at things, tossing fish heads into the air, and there was this awful smell – and all I could think was, “My ice cream cone! All of this contaminated air is touching my ice cream cone!!” The butchers laughed at me, because no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t mask the look of complete shock and disgust on my face, and it was all I could do to keep from running away screaming in horror.

I can’t help it – certain animal parts really freak me out (Ben once chased me around the meat section of the grocery store with a giant cow tongue). And the idea of touching those parts, let alone EATING those parts … well, let’s just say there are some places in the world I could never visit or I would starve to death. How nice to have the luxury of choice, huh?

All of this to say – I’m terrified of Chapter 7, pages 408-416. Julie Powell’s big hurdle was having to kill a lobster (a close second for me) and boning a duck. Not me. 

You can bet I’ll be investing in some rubber gloves for this little project.

Julia’s whole philosophy when it came to cooking was to be fearless. After all, that which doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, right? If I can do this, then I can do anything, right? I can be fearless…right?



*tap tap* 

This thing on? 


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