I love Julia Child. Who doesn’t, I know, but she has always held a special fascination for me. When I was a waiter in 1986 at the Harvest in Harvard Square, she and her husband Paul would come in for lunch. You would here “Bonjour Roger” in that booming unmistakeable tenor as she greeted the tiny alcoholic nicotine sodden maitre d’ whose name she properly prounced in French, ro-jay. Paul, a curled shrimp of a man who had already suffered his series of small strokes, followed hist towering wife into the dining room where she would always order the same thing: a burger, rare, no bun. She is a Leo and I’ve often remarked on the similarity between her choice of lunch and the bloody meat one would throw into a lion cage.
Before the book and movies about her during the last decades, I always thought she would make a great subject for a work of art. I won’t go any further into that thought lest I actually end up pursuing this instinct myself. At the very least I think she and her husband would make great costumes for Stella and me, come Halloween. But, obviously, there’s more to it. Here was a couple who worked together (even though you didn’t know he was behind the scenes), who had no kids and were rather late bloomers. They were also obsessed with France and had an affinity for Cambridge, Massachusetts and Maine. All of this I can relate to.
She described herself “as the cat looking at the king” when she was a student of Le Cordon Bleu—what can be more Leo an expression than that. And what person from any other sign could turn what was for her a personal passion into an entire movement, changing the way Americans cooked, forever. What other sign could see a chef superstar embodied in the form of a fifties something woman. I’m happy I had the few opportunities I did to wait on Mrs. Child whose name couldn’t be more fitting for someone who lived life with a childlike exuberance and who gave so much to the world.
Typos happen—I don’t have time or an intern to edit.*
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