Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Weird reading

I'm reading Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen. The book dustcover description of the book intrigued me, so I asked for and received the book for Christmas.

On a visit to her childhood home in Texas, Julie Powell pulls her mother's battered copy of Julia Child's "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" off the bookshelf. And the book calls out to her. Pushing thirty, living in a run-down apartment in Queens, and working at a dead-end secretarial job, Julie Powell is stuck. Is she in danger of becoming just another version of the housewife-in-a-rut? Her only hope lies in a dramatic self-rescue mission. And so she invents a deranged assignment: in the space of one year, she will cook every recipe in the Julia Child classic, all 524 of them. No skips, no substitutions. She will track down every obscure ingredient, learn every arcane cooking technique, and cooke her way through sixty pounds of butter. And if it doesn't help her make sense of her life, at least she'll eat really, really well. How hard could it be?

Her journey through the chapter on aspics is hilarious. But what really got me was this...

I was being pulled relentlessly forward, not by my own will...and not by the people who needed me...but by some other implacable gravitational force, over the horizon or buried in the center of the earth. It frightened me, but there was no resisting.

How many of us put forth our own personal assignments like this?

If I do all these recipes...
If I find the right job...
If I learn how to crochet...
If I have a living baby...

We are constantly struggling through one assignment after another. All artificially created by ourselves in our attempt to have the "perfect life."

But the key here is to learn to enjoy the food along the journey...during the course of the assignment. The last chapter of the book talks about Julie's realization that the end of the assignment wasn't the goal. It was the assignment itself.

Upon hearing the Julia Child has died, shortly before the end of her project, Julie writes...

"And then I wrote the sentence: "I have no claim over the woman at all, unless it's the claim one who has nearly drowned has over the person who pulled her out of the ocean." And I started crying so hart I had to stop writing."

She later writes...

Sometimes, if you want to be happy, you've got to run away to Bath and marry a punk rocker. Sometimes you've got to dye your hair cobalt blue, or wander through remote islands in Sicily, or cook your way through "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" (MtAoFC) in a year, for no very good reason. Julia taught me that."

I think I need to re-evaluate my assignments. The ones I have been working on haven't brought me much by way of happiness. This journey has been miserable. I need to find a different path. Fast.

6 comments:

miraclebaby said...

sounds interesting to me! I guess whatever it takes to put your life on a track that you want it to be.

BTW how is Sam feeling?

Holley said...

Hugs.

No good ideas because I'm experiencing some disatisfaction too.

Except that I don't want to marry a punk rocker (I'm certain Chas woudl object) or run away (at least not without taking my family with me--most days). I'm still searching for that something to do for no good reason to make a change.

The cross stitch/knitting shop is sounding more and more alluring though.

Bttrfly1976 said...

I loved this post. Thanks for writing it!

Sarah said...

My current just because thing is that i want to paint my house a slightly purple color... It needs to be painted, but the color... why pick a boring one... if we hate it in a few years we can repaint it... I think i want a purple-ish house!

We'll see if steve is convinced by the test quarts I bought this week. :)

Sealka said...

Hi - I just wanted to say that I also lost a baby boy to stillbirth at 20 weeks (in March) and I am just SO, SO sorry for your pain. What heartache.

Blessings to you and your family.

:) n said...

since my mother died, then my step-mil, then my mil and then divorce... i've tried to focus my life and my children's life on the journey. while the destination will be great once we get "there", i'm learning to live again and be as carefree and gracious as i can.

much love to you my dear catherine-

xoxo- n