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

Feeding Your Curiosity

 

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“Find something you’re passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it.” – Julia Child

 

Over the past week, readers have written in with some great questions about my impending upcoming adventure. Before I get elbow-deep in goose liver and puff pastry, I thought I’d take this opportunity to compile the most frequently asked questions and address them here. Want to know more? Send me a note in the comments – maybe your question will be addressed in a future post! (We all want our 15 seconds of fame, after all.) 

 

My Marathon

Tell us a little bit about yourself at this point in your life.
Lately I’ve found myself coasting through life on autopilot, and at almost 30 years old, it’s time to take charge. I think tackling a project  that’s just for me, something that will instill some passion in my soul and bring some personal growth, is just the ticket. This desire, plus a new beautiful kitchen, a new laptop computer and a hunger to learn how to cook has led to this blog experience. Sure, I could have chosen something more normal – like training for a marathon or learning to play the guitar – but that wouldn’t be very me. I’m much more inclined to take on the nearly impossible and entirely random feat of learning how to cook from a 684-page cookbook.

How are your friends and family reacting to this endeavor? 
So far, the response has been really positive! Everyone is using words like “ambitious” and “fun” rather than “insane” and “gone mad”, so that’s encouraging. Several people are in the same culinary boat as me and are looking forward to following along on this journey. I’m excited to share what I learn, and I hope some people will even try a few recipes with me! 

What is your strategy for finding some of these unusual ingredients?
While Julia claims that, with very few exceptions, all the ingredients called for in MtAoFC are available in the average American grocery store, I can tell you right now there are some items listed there I’ve never seen in my life. For those items, I plan to visit a couple of high-end markets near my house known for their wide variety of foods. In future posts, you can follow along on my shopping trips to see where I wind up having to go to buy these items. (I can guarantee the Vietnamese market will not find its way onto the list.)

Are you planning to have people over for dinner? How do we get invites?
Absolutely!! The thing I love most about food is how it brings people together. Besides, this adventure will be much more fun if people join in the craziness and experience it firsthand. Watch for notices and invites to be posted on the blog. And, if there are any recipes coming up that you really want to taste, send me a comment and let me know you’re interested in a dinner invite. We’re all friends here! 

What do you most like about Julia Child? Julie Powell?
I love Julia’s carefree attitude and her sheer love of life. She just put herself out there for the world to see and didn’t care that she wasn’t perfect. As for Julie, I like her ability to see past the negative factors in her life and manage to hold onto her hope that tomorrow could be better. 

Competing in Nashville, TN

Is there any stretch of time that you’ll be unable to cook in the next year?
I’ll be out of town for a week in October attending a Sweet Adelines International convention in Seattle. My mom and I sing together in a women’s barbershop chorus, and as the current international champions (it’s true!), we have the opportunity to attend this year’s competition for a “bow-out” performance to an audience of thousands, and – the best part – to sing in the new champions who win this year. It’s a blast! And while I’m really enjoying this blog, I just don’t see myself making Poulets Grilles a la Diable in a hotel room kitchenette. But fear not! I’ll have plenty to write about that week without cooking a single meal
 
Have you decided what your final dish will be?
In order to come full circle, it may have to be Pate de Canard en Croute, the final dish featured in the Julie&Julia movie. Then again, at that point I may just be scrambling to finish in time and wind up with a bunch of random recipes that don’t really go together. I have a sneaking suspicion the latter is more likely.


Which recipes are you looking forward to attempting?
The recipe for Julia’s Boeuf Bourgignon stood out for me when watching the movie (I loooove a good beef stew!) and I’ve heard a lot of good things about it. Now, if I can just learn from Julie’s experience and avoid burning it in the oven on my first try… 

How does a reader get email alerts when you add a new post?
I’m glad you asked! We just added a “Subscribe” button to the home page of the site. Type in your email address, click on the button, and you’ll receive email alerts when a new blog has been posted. 

Where can we find the rules to the challenge?
Rules are outlined in the second post of this blog, The Beginning: Part 2

What are you most looking forward to in Paris?
Looking out my hotel window at night and seeing the Eiffel Tower lit up. (What can I say, it’s the little things!) 

Any plans on learning French this year? 
Yes, and you will too, if you follow along on this blog! As we get into the cooking, I’ll post words and phrases en francais with translations so we can all learn together. Feel free to wear your favorite beret!

"It's smiling at me!"

How will you handle Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners?
Like I handle them every year…with a little bit of panic. Thanksgiving might be hard, since we’re so traditional with our turkey dinner. Maybe I’ll just add a couple of Julia’s side dishes to what we normally prepare. For Christmas, I think I’ll try a duck,  as an homage to one of my favorite holiday movies, A Christmas Story! (Only this one won’t be smiling at me.)  

What would you like to say to your readers as you begin this journey?
Thank you! Thank you, thank you for following along and reading this wild tale of craziness. It’s so much more fun to know I have folks joining me on this journey. As we go forward together, let’s do our best to keep an open mind and follow Julia’s #1 rule of cooking: have fun!!

-Jessica

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