Thursday, February 04, 2010

Steeped Lemons with Honey and Julia

While sick this week, I spent my afternoons curled up under a blanket on the couch, sipping hot steeped lemons with honey and watching movies.

A word about the hot steeped lemons and honey thing; for years I pooh poohed the whole practice, but this time, I caved and actually tried it. You know it's bad when your voice is becoming whisper quiet and when you can actually make a noise it sounds more like a bark then a person. I used to think that the only good sick day lemon drink was Neo Citran, because hello, at least there's happy drugs in there that make me sleep, even though it tasted horrible.

Too cheap to pay the $10 a box even though it contained happy drugs, this time I stuck to steeped lemons, sipping slowly here and there all day yesterday. By noon low and behold, my voice was coming back! Oh my! Note to self: some fresh mint in it might be really good next time, and yesterday @Hogle_zoo suggested I grate some ginger in there too. (yes you read that right, a zoo in Salt Lake City was giving me cold remedy tips-isn't Twitter grand?)

(clouds part, angels sing, and my poor husband probably curses them because the few days of silence were a blessing. Just kidding!) I'm repeating the ritual today and hopefully I'll be my old self by tomorrow.

Anyway, one of the movies I watched was "Julie and Julia", starring Amy Adams and Meryl Streep. (here is the trailer)

Loved the movie. It inspired me as both a blogger and a cook to get out there are reach farther, higher, and damn it, get myself into the kitchen to discover more delicious things to blog about because as you know, I kind of like to cook. I'm not a "real" cook as some would say-there's no training here, no professional expertise of any sort. I'm simply a Mom who has always loved being in the kitchen, and who loves food. Eating it, creating it, watching other people cook it, taking photos of it, and most importantly, sharing it with others. I blame my grandma, who would fill the table with all sorts of delicious things and insist that we "EAT!"

The blogging part was good too-I mean, haven't we all felt the pressure to keep up because oh my goodness-people are reading? Who else can relate to that but another blogger?

Once the movie was over I went to find her blog and there it was in all it's glory, with some words exactly like in the film. As I began to read, it slowly dawned on me that I should have stopped at the movie. It left me all warm and fuzzy and inspired, whereas looking up the actual blog and the real story behind it was a bit of a let down. Don't get me wrong-I have nothing against Julie Powell in any way, but the truth is that romantic comedies are really nothing like the real thing and in that blog, those words that inspired the movie, there is one thing missing. One huge, gaping hole, because one of the most important players of all isn't really there.

The food.

Oh there's talk about what she made, and how hard or easy it was, and the adventure part of it. Little bits possibly of how yummy it was, or how she changed things, etc. But there are no pictures, no real commentary on the outcome, and really the food is sort of a back seat player. Along for the ride. In reality, it's not about the food. At all. Or the writing. At that moment I sat, absorbing this truth, and I was deeply disappointed.


Now I get why Julia Child wasn't so happy about the whole thing. For those of us who really, really love food and cooking (and by saying us I'm in no way saying I'm even remotely like Julia Child) it seems almost sacrilege to pretend it is. The passion for cooking, for food, sharing a meal like that is something precious, and almost primal. What better way to bond than over an amazing meal, or showing someone how to create that in their own kitchen and give their family the same pleasure? It's nurturing, sharing, and kindness in it's most basic human form.

You've never seen me beam while Jake and Hubs greedily slurp down their dinners, mumbling about how amazing it is. That simple act of providing nurturing fills my heart to bursting.

Julie Powell wrote and cooked to give herself direction, but I'm not sure she really had any passion with either. If she did, it doesn't really come through. Julia Child, on the other hand, threw everything she had into her cooking and in that way, they are opposites. As I considered this last night, I began to think of my own blog and cooking. Do I write and cook just because I can, like Julie, or because it makes my very soul sing, like Julia? Why stop with cooking? Do I write because I can, or do I strive to be the very best I can be? Will I settle for churning out mediocre content?

In my heart I already knew the answer. No. Passion is the difference between doing it because I can, and doing it because I love it. This blog, and cooking, is something I truly, deeply love. Like Julie, I have always struggled with finishing things I start; however, this blog is going into it's fourth year this May. Four. I can't stick to any exercise routine longer than a week, and yet I've somehow managed to blog this long.

You can't bottle that kind of passion or teach it to someone. It has to be there, inside of you, just waiting to burst forth and envelop everything you do. I will never be a great cook like Julia Child, or find the fame through my writing as Julie Powell did, but it doesn't matter.

The passion is really all I need to keep me going.

Later on that day, Jake collected the mail and as I sat in the car waiting, he dropped something in my lap. Some confirmation, of sorts, that I am on the right track.

Sitting there, addressed all the way from Virgina, was a letter from one of my blog readers.

Chicken Tortilla soup by Scatteredmom

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