Posted by: dinaguillen | August 17, 2009

Doooo as Julia and Go For It!

“The grand thing about cooking is you can eat your mistakes.” — Julia Child

I keep getting feedback from people saying they are hesitant to join cooking clubs because they are uncertain of their cooking abilities.  And I totally remember those feelings of insecurity – not sure if I can cook well enough to be in a cooking club.  My son was barely crawling when Michelle invited me to join her gourmet cooking club.  I remember thinking at the time that I should turn down her invitation because while I loved to cook, I just hadn’t cooked enough in my life to be good at it (it slipped my mind that the whole reason for joining a club was to GET good at it).  But at the time I was in a very bad place in my life, being a new stay-at-home mom in a new town where I knew absolutely no one, and my husband was working out of town during the week and was only home on the weekends.  I agreed to join out of sheer desperation to get some adult social time.

I remember the very first time I hosted cooking club almost nine years ago.  I made a Thai grilled salmon dish and was so nervous the entire evening that I convinced myself the salmon tasted like it had been fished out of the water over 28 years ago.  Actually, it is only within the last year – nearly eight years later – that I have been able to enjoy eating salmon again.

So, I get it.  It’s not easy taking that step to join a cooking club – especially one that touts itself as a “gourmet” group.  And if you’re one of those people going back and forth, debating whether or not to put your cooking skills out there for a cooking club to see, I have two words for you.  Julia Child

I went to go see the movie Julie and Julia today.  Oh Em Gee – what a great movie.  Up until this moment, I had not been a big fan of Julia Child mostly because she wasn’t on my radar growing up.  I never had the chance to see her on television, and I missed out on what I am now understanding is one of her biggest influences on cooks – that go-for-it attitude. 

I wish I had been introduced to Julia Child a lot earlier in my life.  If Meryl Streep did a good job capturing Child’s essence (and from what I’ve read – Streep’s performance is Oscar –worthy…again), then Child gave cooks everywhere the best gift ever – she taught us mistakes happen while cooking, and it’s okay.  Most importantly, she taught cooks to have fun.  And all with such a breezy confidence. 

The movie also made me realize how much I love food and cooking.  There were so many great parts in the movie, but one of my favorites is when Child was in cooking class at the Cordon Bleu preparing pastry.  She turns to one of her classmates with such glee and enthusiasm in her face, and says “Isn’t this fun?!”  And that’s exactly how I feel when I’m cooking.  It’s what I turn to after a hard day.  Hell…it’s what I turn to on a good day.  And it’s what I look forward to every month with my cooking club. 

In July’s issue, Bon Appetit magazine prepared a wonderful cooking club menu in honor of Julia Child, and it would make a great theme for your next cooking club gathering.  Put the nerves aside, join a cooking club, and prepare this wonderful meal for your new foodie friends from Julia Child’s cookbook: Mastering the Art of French Cooking.  Doooo as Julia and go for it! 

First Course

Pissaladiere Nicoise
Bandol Rosé

Main & Sides

Poulet Saute aux Herbes de Provence
Rataouille
French bread

Salad Course

Green Salad with Sauce Vinaigrette

Dessert

Reine de Saba
Banyuls

To see the recipes, click here.

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