Friday, September 4, 2009

Julie & Julia AND Jokima!

Greetings Readers!

I am so glad my name begins with a “J” and I fit right in to the Julia Child and Julie Powell mix! “Julie & Julia” is the name of a movie out right now about the life of French chef Julia Child and her biggest fan Julie Powell. Well, move over Julie, because I am a fan too!

While, I still consider myself to be very young (don’t laugh) I do remember the pioneer Julia Child and her cooking shows that aired in millions of homes across the world. I don’t recall my mother ever preparing anything from any of Julia’s cookbooks (it had something to do with the non-adventurous palate of my meat and potatoes loving father) but I do remember Julia’s television show playing in the background. My brother and I would mimic her quirky voice and I still do today! I do so to gain the attention of my nephews and niece during meal time. “Today, Auntie Jody will prepare a gourmet peanut butter & jelly sandwich a la mode!” Instantly, I am a hit among the little ones. It gets them to at least try what I put on their plate. And no, I do not feed children sandwiches with ice cream!  Really, what kind of Aunt do you think I am?

Julia’s story is an inspiring one that proves that passion pays. She was a housewife searching for something to do to keep her busy. She tried a myriad of things including hat making when she realized she truly enjoyed eating. Me too Julia! This passion for food translated into her taking cooking lessons, writing a book, and eventually starring in her own television show. Keep in mind all of this took place during a time when women weren’t prevalent in the professional culinary arena. For me, she was the very first female Chef that I recognized, identified with, and admired. Many say that she was a woman before her time rather I believe she was RIGHT ON TIME . . .

I remember my senior year in high school going up before a board of military and community officers in JROTC. I was competing for the highest rank in my city – Brigade Commander! I was asked many questions on what I would bring to the student role, my views on societal issues, and what I felt about being a role model. My favorite question was “If placed in this position, what would I do first?” Believe it or not, I thought of Julia Child and how she was a leader in a male dominated environment as was JROTC. “What would Julia say?” I thought to myself. I glanced over to the award table and saw the very large trophy that would be presented to the elected Brigade Commander and it had a male figure on it dressed in a military uniform as if it were already determined that a male student would walk away with the award. So, my response was that my first task as Brigade Commander would be to implement a gender neutral award system. Thanks Julia for being my inspiration! I went home with my man (the award that is) and taped a photo of me over him.

Although, Mrs. Child is no longer with us, we still think of her . . . if you Google one of her signature dishes Boeuf Bourguignon, her recipe from her first book Mastering the Art of French Cooking is still the first to come up on your screen. Yes, many have tried to duplicate, revise and tweak this dish; but, I hear that Julia’s still reigns supreme! Perhaps I’ll try it. Hmmm . . . I will! Before the end of this year, I will attempt to prepare Julia Child’s recipe for Boeuf Bourguignon! I’ll tell my guests to eat at their own risk AND I’ll keep you posted readers on how things go. Wish me luck!

For now, check out the movie Julie & Julia if you get a chance!

Jokima Hiller, MBA, Hospitality & Restaurant
Management Program Coordinator
Faculty Advisor, Travel & Tour Club
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