who inspired me to dig out
my inner French girl.
The book has arrived! It’s massive, the pages are yellow and smell of old paper, and it’s falling apart but I don’t care, I just love it. Thanks to Amazon.com I have purchased Mastering the art of French Cooking by Simone Beck, Louisette Bertholle and Julia Child, the 6th edition, form 1961. No worries, I haven’t given up on the regular bookshops. You can still find me at the Strand, browsing through 18 miles of books (it’s a process) or at Barnes and Noble on 86th and Lexington Avenue, with cup of coffee, accompanied by my friend Gabrielle, fashion magazines, and piles of books on Interior Design. We decided to cook, but we won’t blog about it. Somebody has already done it, and not only wrote a book about it, but also turned it into a movie. Julie and Julia - surprise-surprise - the book was better than the film, though the lack of Meryl worked for its disadvantage. The idea came to us, while hollowing out tiny holes in salmon fillets so we could put garlic in it. Thinking, that several years ago, I hardly knew how to boil an egg. Anyway, the cookbook is fifty years old, which is not a lot, but old enough to have history to it. The history I am really curious about. I wonder which owner am I? Who were the previous ones? Where are they now? (Under the ground I know, hopefully not all of them). It was sent to me, by Abigail.A from Santa Cruz, California. It’s surprisingly clean. Except for the dedication at the front page (From 1964!) it has no notes or marks or even stains. It won’t be a problem at all, to make my own, of course. I’m a master at stains. One night Maria and I wanted to open a wine bottle without a wine opener (things tend to magically disappear when you need them). So we pushed the cork to the inside of the bottle. I was finding wine stains all over the kitchen for a week, including the ceiling and the inside of the cabinets, even though they were closed at the time. I wrote to Abigail.A. If I manage to discover anything about the story of the book, you’ll read about it soon enough. I know already we won’t try all the recipes. There is no way I would pull a knife down the back of some poor lobster. Therefore there is absolutely no way, I would put my body through digesting 60 pounds of butter.
For the past months, I have been becoming a Francophile. The interest was always there, but the fascination…I think the real fascination, has started with this book I had read on Chanel, and well, one thing lead to another. I tend to go through the phases of an absolute interest about things. And I’m totally aware and unaware of it too (I can listen to the song that I like ten thousand times in a row, till I’m so sick of it, I can’t listen to it anymore). Recently I have been stalking online Jim and Jules, developed a crush on Louis Garrel, made a third attempt to read Proust, even bought my first French dictionary. Speaking of the language. There are many reasons, why one would learn a foreign language. It could be fascination with nation’s culture, cuisine, history etc. For me the reason is simpler than that. Three of my French friends forget how to speak English when they’re wasted. After they have several drinks, I can’t understand the word they’re saying. The reason good enough to learn, if you ask me. As a revenge (when they’re sober) I molest them with questions like - Gabbi, how is bread in French? – Pain - Aww that’s so cute!! It is scientifically proven, that everything sounds better in French.
Oh the little plaisirs. Making an omlette while listening to Serge Gainsbourg’s and Bardot’s Comic Strip (BAM ! POW ! BLOP ! WIIIIIZZ !) and dreaming to look like Catherine Deneuve in her young years ( and older ones for that matter). The sensuality ; the correlation between food and sex. They are making me a little bit less neurotic and obsessive in my New York ways. I figured, I’m already a Polish-speaking-with-a-British-accent-New-Yorker-obsessed-with-India. My sense of nationality is fucked up as it can be. It won’t harm to add a bit of Parisien to it, would it?
Wish us good luck with the recipes. Hopefully we won’t burn the kitchen down. If we do, well, the only thing to left to do, will be to use our je ne sais quoi on the landlord.
C’est la vie!