Wednesday, August 5, 2009

"Who's the wiser? Who's to know?"

A few weeks ago I was reading the paper and noticed a fun sounding short essay contest:

"What I learned from my own Julia Child."

I have always loved Julia Child, and essay writing is fun, so I entered. The prize? 4 winners would be selected to go to the pre-screening of the movie "Julie & Julia" and their essays would be printed in the paper.

I was very surprised to get a call about a week ago telling me that I was a winner! Valerie Phillips herself gave me a ring. My essay was printed in today's Deseret News, and it's also on Valerie's blog, Flavors.

Here's my essay:
Growing up, in our house Julia Child was always queen of the culinary world. On Saturday mornings, Mom would shush us kids so she could glean any bit of wisdom from the greatest cook of all. We liked watching her too because of her great accent. We loved imitating her.

Inspired, Mom would whip up her own versions of greatness. She is an experimental cook, and was always coming up with some new culinary treat and chasing us around the kitchen with it. Her exotic creations included such dishes as “asparagus smothered in imported gorgonzola cheese atop a lightly toasted 7 grain bread” or “chocolate chili mole ala poultry.” Us kids, being so uncultured and ignorant of anything to do with the gastronomic scene, were often told by Mom that our “tastes had not yet matured.”

“Mayan kings used to love this!” she would say. “It was a great delicacy that only the elite royal class used to enjoy! Have a bite.” One day we were aghast to find a tray of cream cheese filled dates topped carefully with almonds. When we turned up our noses at it, she quickly chided, “Jesus used to eat this! It was one of his favorite treats! I can’t believe you would reject something that Jesus himself used to feast on!”

Aside from instilling a wariness of unknown dishes in us kids, Mom taught us one of the grandest lessons of cooking: you don’t need a recipe to make dinner. And, if your kids won’t touch it, tell them it was Caesar’s favorite dish.

I have not exagerated anything to the least degree about Mom's cooking in this essay. We laugh about it all now, but she really did, and probably still does, say those things. I took her with me to the pre-screening. We had a fabulous time, and there were parts that I laughed so hard I cried. I am not supposed to critique the movie at all until it comes out on the 7th, so I'll give my impressions then.


Mike and Hallie said...

Congratulations! It was so fun reading your blog post today. I am glad you took a shot and entered.

Natalie said...

Great job! What a fun essay (and a fun mom).

Karen said...

You are awesome.

I have no idea who Julia Childs is.

Christine Merrill said...

I was just trying to call you, and I googled "Kathryn Raphael Salt Lake", and this essay in the Deseret News popped up. I thought that it was a quote from a famous person, and I was shocked that you had the same name as someone famous! Anyway, I found your phone number, obviously, and it was fun finding out that YOU are the famous person!!

K said...

I don't know about famous... it was fun to win something, though. ;-)