Saturday, August 14, 2004

Momento Mori: Julia Child

Julia Child, Momento Mori: I remember being a six year old child, in Kips Bay, in Manhattan, riveted by Public television, which seemed so sophisticated to me: aged six.

In the mornings, the ritual was Big Bird and the Electric Company, Zoom, The Big Blue Marble; when I got older, after UNIS (The United Nations International School), and the park next to the apartment, my much beloved 4:30 Movie, and then, still later, after homework, Cosmos, if, of course, my favorite 70s show Eight is Enough wasn't on.

Cosmos -- which I never understood, really -- but I was awed by the 70s humanist-sciency vibe of it all, and, of course, ultimately, Julia Child. Julia Child and her sauces, always the sauces with that woman (Leo).

My brothers and I, and, after she was born, my sister, were all fascinated by this eccentric warbling woman, this Julia Child, who emanated from the mysterious WGBH studios in Boston -- a source of great speculations on the part of the African diplobrats, to be sure; she'd be cooking all manner of delicious things, always, and, so very strategically, around the time my mom and other moms around the country, made dinner. One could almost smell those sauces from GBH studios all the way to Kips Bay.

We generally ate African in the Mwangaguhunga household (and so, unlike Proust, Madeleine's light, aristocratic tea dipped Madeleine does not draw me back to my Kips Bay childhood, my "Madeleine moments" involve the heavier Cumin-spiced sambousa, a Ugandan delicacy), but, indoctrinated by UNIS -- and it was a good thing -- we were all avid internationalists, in politics as well as aesthetics, fascinated to the core about this French cuisine prepared by a Francophile Cambride gal.

I believe that my Mother, taking a hint from our mesmerized gazes every evening at Julia and her goings on, decided on some active engagement with her kids. She made us crepes, following Julia Child's recipe to the letter, and we helped, a little, and they were damn good, and we all gained a fascination with cooking, in concreto instead of in abstracto. And I do not believe that then or since have I ever had better crepes. One part motherly love, one part little helpers, I gather, and one part the lady from WGBH. Farewell, Julia Child, I commend you to the place of happy memories for my generation, Rest In Peace.

1 comment:

starzstylista said...

Oddly, despite an incredibly different background an incredibly similar schedule. I watched the 4:30 movie in the afternoon with my grandmother -- she punctuated the action with fine Neapolitan commentary.