When I was a kid I used to love watching The French Chef and trust me when I tell you it was not because of a budding interest in French cheffing. Like a lot of people, I just loved Julia Child. She was exuberantly goofy, warm, messy and real. Last night I watched a bio of her on PBS, which I found truly inspiring. Briefly, Julia was sort of a New England blueblood and a free-spirited child. She went to college but was no star there, and when she graduated her goal was something along the lines of "marriage-minded". She was interested in different things, but flitted around in a number of jobs, writing in her journal (or maybe a letter, I forget) in her twenties that she felt she had a great talent inside her but that she didn't know what it was and feared she was wasting it. Her father encouraged her to marry a wealthy Republican, but she said, "If I marry him I am sure I will become an alcoholic" refusing to marry for anything other than love, finally meeting her true love Paul Child well after all her contemporaries were married and having kids. Paul was solid but arty and worldly, and they moved to France where she fell in love with France's reverence for food, and at age forty decided to go to the Cordon Bleu (where she was supposed to be in a class for "wives" but pushed to get in with the guys). She was a slow learner there but did graduate a year later. Then she spent seven years working REALLY HARD on her cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, which got a few rejections before finding a home at Knopf (although Knopf himself said, "I'll eat my hat if this book does well"), and then she called up WGBH in Boston to do a little one-time promotional/demonstration spot and people wrote in saying how much they loved her and Julia became a star at age FORTY-NINE.
Do I even need to spell out why I mention this?
Today's the day, kids.