21. Watch Julie and Julia

Disclaimer: This isn’t really much of a chef skill or recipe, but it’s on the list so here it is, in all it’s cheesy glory.

I have basically no memories of cooking until I was probably 19 years old.  I am not naive to the fact that my siblings and I were very fortunate (read: spoiled) growing up, and our wonderful mother stayed home to take care of us for pretty much my entire childhood. She or my dad made all my breakfasts, packed my super amazing lunch boxes (too good for cafeteria food!), and made dinner for basically forever. When my mom did go back to work full-time, I was probably thirteen or so.  I remember that this became more alarming than usual (again, spoiled) to me over Spring Break  when my brother and I had no idea what to have for lunch. Sandwiches were lame and we had no clue how to make anything. Long story short, we made a few grilled cheeses and burned spaghetti and I don’t think I cooked again for about 5 years. At that point, I moved out of my dorm room and into my own apartment and could barely make Kraft macaroni and cheese. I’m sure Zack would be happy to back me up on this difficult time of serving him crunchy pasta that wasn’t cooked all the way.

All that backstory to say, I haven’t had a passion for cooking my entire life.  I got by on sandwiches, microwave meals, and fast food for a few years. I had A LOT of stomach problems and terribly managed migraines.  So I started trying to eat healthier, but I didn’t really know how. My mother-in-law bought me a cookbook called Help! My Apartment Has a Kitchen!I bought magazines and cookbooks and tried to give it all a whirl. Zack is a pretty picky eater, so there was a learning curve there, too.  I remember one of my first home cooked meals: pot roast in the crock pot. I was broke but I splurged on the meat, got all excited, put it in the crock pot with the veggies, and Zack came home and was all, “I don’t like pot roast…” So I had to call friends to come over and help me eat it. I had a lot of fails in the early days, but overall I started to really enjoy cooking! That brings us up to probably 2011-ish.  We were living in a tiny little basement apartment with a kitchen barely big enough for a sink, a stove, and a microwave.  That’s when the itch really hit me to dive into cooking. And I was miserable in my tiny kitchen. We were about to get married and were having wedding showers, and I acquired a ton of amazing kitchen stuff, but I had to leave it all in boxes at my parents’ house because I had nowhere to put it. We moved to a rental house just a few weeks before our wedding, and finally had space to unpack all of our new kitchen stuff! And so the journey continued to unfold.

One of our wedding showers – got tons of new kitchen goodies!

I had never even heard of Julia Child, much less heard of the movie Julie and Julia. Honestly I was shocked when I recently learned that movie came out in 2009.  It wasn’t even on my radar until years later. And despite my growing interest in cooking, I never had any interest in seeing it.  I thought it was the kind of movie that people would say, “Oh yeah, my mom loves that movie!” Well, I don’t know if I’m now old and boring and mom-ish, or if I just finally gave that movie a chance because I was bored on an airplane. But I finally watched it last week and it was AMAZING!

I will say, it did sort of take some of the wind out of my sails with my blog adventure. In no way did I think I was unique in starting a food blog, but it was a super in-your-face reminder that I’m DEFINITELY not doing anything unique here by creating a list of culinary challenges and blogging my way through it. That being said, I still really loved the movie, and I’m still moving forward with my list and my blog!

I thought both Julie and Julia were/are super interesting people and I loved the way the movie highlighted the similar life experiences of the two in totally different times and places.  Julia Child had her letters to her friend to document her journey, and Julie had her blog.  Julia was eccentric and competitive and motivated, all relatable and admirable. I applaud Julie for drudging her way through even the strangest and weirdest recipes in Julia’s book (aspics?! – an interesting reminder that there are trends that come and go in food!). And I couldn’t agree more with both of them, that butter is what makes everything so great.  I realize that much of the movie was set in France, but it definitely made me want to go to Italy even more (remember, I’m a wannabe Italian).  The culture of food in Europe is so different! How amazing would it be to just live there for a year or so and learn the ways. A girl can dream, right?

Lessons learned here:

  1. Set goals, work towards your dreams. (sorry, I know it’s cliche)
  2. Keeping a journal, blog, record, whatever of your journey of chasing your dream is really rewarding – even if it’s just to show yourself how far you’ve come.





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