“Learn how to cook: try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless –
and above all, have fun.”
- Julia Child
Our favorite cook in the galaxy gave us that advice on the GastroPod screen when we were traveling through the solar system on our way to Planet Earth. Even though we were far away from home and had NO idea what cooking was, Julia Child made us feel confident that we could do it – learning from our mistakes and having fun the whole time.
Who was Julia Child, you ask? Well, she was a super-nice Planet Earth woman who would have been 100 years old today. She didn’t even start cooking until she was a grown-up, but she became one of the most famous food lovers in the whole galaxy, writing lots of cookbooks and starring in what some humans call the best food TV shows ever.
As a space alien and zebra who know pretty much nothing about food, ZeBot and I feel like Julia is someone who can teach us a lot – even if she doesn’t live on Planet Earth anymore.
We’ve been reading her books and discovering all sorts of important things about learning to cook.
Read on for some of our favorite Julia quotes –
and the important things we learned from them!
1. “Once you have mastered a technique, you hardly need look at a recipe again.”
Well, that makes perfect sense to us. So we’ve been practicing everything from whipping egg whites and cream to kneading bread dough. We love the way touching the food (with clean hands/hooves, of course) makes us feel. It seems like magic to feel the billowy clouds of whipped cream – and the velvety dough that gets softer and more willing to help us the more we knead it.
2. “When you serve fine, fresh green vegetables, you want them to show off their color.”
Yes – exactly! This was especially meaningful to me, since I am 100% green myself. But even though ZeBot’s black-and-white, he agrees: fresh green = good. We spend as much time as we can at farmers’ markets learning about fun new vegetables – and the exciting stories behind them.
3. “The perfect vinaigrette is so easy to make that I see no reason whatsoever for bottled dressings.”
ZeBot and I first learned how to make a vinaigrette at a class with some cool kids in Brooklyn, New York. We learned how to mix really good olive oil with different kinds of vinegars and seasonings. Then we tasted our vinaigrettes on lettuce, veggies and fruit. And you know what? Homemade salad dressing is AWESOME!
4. “It behooves us to choose eggs carefully and to treat them right.”
DooFians think that you should choose EVERYTHING carefully and treat it right – from your eggs to the chickens who are generous enough to lay them for you. We’ve learned that when you’re kind and treat the world with respect, it treats you the same way!
5. “Small helpings, no seconds. A little bit of everything. No snacking. And have a good time.”
Julia said this lots of times – but ZeBot and I heard it from her favorite doctor, a very nice man we met on the beach in Captiva (which is where the GastroPod splashed down when it landed on Planet Earth). He told us that this was some of the best advice he’d ever heart about food – so he passed it on to us and to his two grandchildren Max & Lulu, who built ZeBot a beautiful sandcastle while their grandfather told us his Julia story.
6. “You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces – just good food from fresh ingredients.”
Space aliens and zebras just aren’t fancy, so we’re glad we don’t have to pretend to be. Julia’s taught us that you just need good ingredients. Her friend Chuck Williams (who is our friend, too) told us that cooking is easier if you have the right tool for the job – but it doesn’t have to be fancy. For example, he told us you can make a perfectly good souffle (an amazing puffy egg creation) in a VERY clean dog dish. “It’s exactly the shape you need,” he said. “A straight-sided bowl. (If you want, you can read Chuck & Julia’s dog dish story here!)
7. “It’s so beautifully arranged on the plate – you know someone’s fingers have been all over it.”
Well, yes – or in ZeBot’s case, someone’s hooves. Julia taught us that you eat with your eyes as well as your mouth. When you take the time to make your food look beautiful, it tastes better than ever!
8. “…no one is born a great cook, one learns by doing.”
When I told that one to ZeBot, he started nodding his head like crazy and saying, “Well, I heard THAT. So I’m going to practice and practice and practice until I’ve earned my kitchen stripes!”
9. “I think careful cooking is love, don’t you? The loveliest thing you can cook for someone who’s close to you is about as nice a Valentine as you can give.”
ZeBot and I think so, too – on Valentine’s Day or any day. When you cook with love, you’re adding a magical ingredient that transforms any dish into something very special. So remember that when you’re cooking, okay? The secret ingredient is love!
10. “Find something you’re passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it.”
DooFians are curious by nature – we’re always exploring and trying to figure out how and why things are the way they are. In fact, we’re tremendously interested in everything. So we were very happy to learn that, when it comes to cooking and life, all we need to do is be passionate and keep feeding our interests.
That sounds like tons of fun to us – and we hope it does to you, too!
In fact, we’re going to celebrate Julia’s birthday by having an adventure in the kitchen right NOW.
So this is Y and Z saying : “Happy Birthday, Julia – and bon appétit!”
And stay tuned for more adventures — see you soon!
Intergalactic © 2012 Laura Martin Bacon
Tags: #cookwithjulia, Julia Child, 100th birthday, kids’ cooking, easy recipes