I am finishing up my first draft for my Women in Leadership final exam and have decided to write about Julia Child. I’m reading My Life in France as well as a new collection of her correspondence with Avis DeVoto called As Always, Julia. Both books have helped me in the writing process and in realizing how much can be attained from studying the life of my favorite culinary legend. What Julia has taught me today:
1. Be patient. Julia’s greatest achievements came well into her 40’s which runs contrary to my anxiety that because I haven’t “found my calling” by my mid-twenties I have essentially failed. She was patient and listening to her life story enough to hear it calling when it came to her.
2. Live your passion. Without a doubt, Julia was enamored with French cuisine. Her passion was for taste and empowering others to learn the art of cooking. Once she understood that, she lived it through her profession, her hobbies, and her relationships. So why aren’t we all living our passion? Life is far too short to spend time on things I am not deeply motivated by, especially when there is a world of things (local food, writing, sustainability, gardening, marriage) that I am excited by.
3. Surround yourself with mentors. Throughout her career Julia was surrounded by people who supported and challenged her to achieve. Her relationships with Chef Bugnard at Le Cordon Bleu and fellow authors Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle helped shape the legacy we all know and love. Surrounding myself with supporters (and the constructive critic) is important going forward.
4. Bon Appétit. Most importantly…if it’s not good food, why bother?