Sunday, July 5, 2009

Where it all began...

I fell in love with cooking in the late 60’s. From time to time, I’d find myself at Mamie’s house – my maternal grandmother. I don’t know where my sibs were, or why I was occasionally left in her care, but I remember days spent there alone. I adored Mamie and having her all to my self was grand. First, Mamie would make us a “lady lunch” – usually a sandwich I’d eat cut in four with the crusts cut off. She’d let me play in her closet and in the attic. I was more into antiquities than “dress-up”, but it was great knowing that I could play with anything of hers. In the afternoon I’d sit in Mamie’s lap in her easy chair and we’d watch her “story” – aka “As the World Turns.” Then, and this was my favorite moment, we’d watch Julia Child cook.

I was fascinated by her – the voice, the laughter in her kitchen and thrilled when she’d do something my grandmother didn’t approve of. Mamie thought Julia was a mess. I thought Julia was better than any other TV star in my repertoire – Mr. Rodgers, Big Bird, even "Samantha Stevens" who could cook with a twitch of her nose! Such began a love affair with TV chefs that went on through the 70’s.

After a 25 year hiatus from culinary television, the prioress’ decision to send me to Richmond meant manyblessings including access to the Food Network. Now, "The Barefoot Contessa” and Giada are my tutors - so many chefs now…so many concepts. Now, a Benedictine sister can have a no-budget “show” on YouTube. Yet, there will be no chef who claims my heart as Julia did. Julia cooked with wild abandon. She invaded the Paris food scene full of wonder and without guile. And, I suspect, she loved to eat her own food as much as she enjoyed a quintessential Parisian meal. Now, when I cook something really wonderful, I imagine her raising a glass and saying in that wonderful, warbling way, “Bon appétit!”

Blessings and love to you all...

- Sister Vicki