Wednesday, August 15, 2012

This is the Way to Live

Oh, I know.  This one is all over the place and you've already seen it ten times today.  I don't care.  I think it's genius, and a fit and cheerful way to celebrate the centenary of someone whom I geniunely think a Great American, the late and so fondly remembered St. Julia of Child.  Gimmicky, I know, but catchy enough I can almost imagine it being performed in some other context - the lyric, for example, is both witty and, at least to me, oddly moving:

Freshness is essential;
That makes all the difference.
I like to smell something cooking -
It makes me feel at home!

Bring on the roasted potatoes!  Bring on the rosé! 
This is what good cooking is all about!

Cook and cook and keep on cooking!
This is the way to live!

Cook and cook and keep on cooking!
This is the way to eat!

Bon appétit!

If nothing else, thanks to the combined wonders of modern technology and the archival skill of our dear Thombeau (speaking of Great Americans), we now definitely know one thing: if she puts her mind to it (and with the help of a little AutoTune), Julia Child can easily outsing Gloria Swanson.


  1. I hadn't seen it, so thanks. Ready to roll, indeed.

    And those scallops, literally made my mouth water.

  2. Such a pity she was a homophobe.

    1. Hmmm. I do think that's at best a shade reductive to conclude. She was a product of her time and class, and perhaps I'm able to summon some sympathy because it was more or less the time and class from which sprung the people who raised me and whose attitudes I saw first-hand.

      She did in correpondence in the '50s and '60s use language that now seems both dated and flippant to the point of disparagement - but then again, I spent years working with some very well-known people of her generation whom I had to, gently, break from words and phrases like "fegala" and "light in his loafers."

      She was involved, tangentially, in the early '90s in a lawsuit that alleged homophobia, but which seemed quite a tangled affair in which her role was glancingly small.

      Beyond that, she had long-standing close friendships with people like author May Sarton and the great James Beard, and there multiple accounts from people who worked with her over the last several decades of her life that testify that she was as warm, accepting, and broad-minded as one could hope.

      Given the clear record that both she and her husband were strong progressives who fought McCarthyism and loathed American small-mindedness, that doesn't surprise me in the least, just as it doesn't surprise me that as a woman of her time, she used the language of her time, whatever we now think of it.