So, last week my mom and I went to see Julie and Julia and I'm fairly sure I grinned the entire way through it. Paris as a backdrop for Meryl Streep's portrayal of Julia Child's utter charm mixed with a girl like myself struggling to find a creative outlet, was exactly what I needed to get my mind off...well, everything.
It filled me with bliss, yep, bliss and more importantly inspired me to cook, to blog, to eat, to pack up and finally move to Paris. I have always, as far back as I can remember, desperately wanted to live in Paris. No. Scratch that. I have wanted to BE Parisian. I wish I had been born there and often fantasize that I was...that I learned to read French by fumbling my way through "Le Petit Prince" while ma mere sipped cafe cremes and ignored the basket of warm croissants sitting in front of her because she just COULD NOT eat another croissant! (Imagine living in Paris for so long that you would actually tire of eating a freshly baked, warm croissant!)
In my "I grew up in Paris" dreams, I would have gone to an all-girl's school like Madeleine and worn a little uniform and would have expressed myself by wearing a different beret every day. I would have lived in a pied-a-terre with 12 foot ceilings, beautiful architectural details and a view of the Eiffel Tower from my bedroom through the windows that look like doors. In 12th grade, my boyfriend, Jean-Luc, would have climbed the ivy wrapped trellis out of my window and whisked me away on his moped to Versailles where his Uncle, the groundskeeper, would have snuck us into the castle where he had arranged to have the chefs prepare my favorite meal by candlelight in the gardens. I would have broken up with Jean-Luc that night after pouting in that way only a French girl can get away with because I needed to spread my wings. A couple of years later I would have attended both Le Cordon Bleu AND Les Ateliers Paris Design Institute. Speaking 6 languages (for the sake of argument, let's say they were French (biensur!), English, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese and Italian), I would have traveled the world studying different foods and ways of life until I landed in New York City where I would meet and become business partners with Barbara Barry, designing both furniture and home accessory lines and opening several small but smashingly successful bistros in NY, Paris, San Francisco and Chicago.
But, I'm not French, I'm mid-western. I have a degree in design but no shop of my own in which to spread my wings and I often burn my bagel. And frankly, because all roads have led my to the love of my life, my husband, I am eternally thankful to the powers that be that my path delivered me here.
I digress to say that yes, I was inspired by Julie and Julia. Inspired to write. Inspired to cook. And inspired to keep dreaming of Paris, and perfect roasted chicken and being able to shop at Baker and actually buy something and someday run into Barbara Barry if only to shake her hand and tell her that one of her chair designs actually made me cry because it was just that perfect.
Until then, I decided tonight Gen-ee-fair (Jennifer with a very bad french accent) would shop like a Parisian...well, minus the local boulangerie where, back to my "I live in Paris dream", I'd ride my bike with a basket attached to the handlebars and a cute little vintage bell down la Rue de la Never Gonna Happen and I'd place the paper wrapped baguette and fresh vegetables from the street market into said basket as I passed the guy on the street with the accordion and toss him a euro. I could do this all day, you know.
Really though, all I did in reality was shop with no recipe in mind as I walked the outer aisles of our local Hy-Vee (argh!, damn those fluorescent lights and that crappy cheese section) and let myself become inspired by what was fresh. An hour later I was home to make Bruschetta (Broos-ketta...I love to say it like that) with fresh tomatoes and basil with a touch of kosher salt, balsalmic and evoo, a lovely "Oui, Oui!" salad with homemade salad dressing (Dijon, balsamic, soy sauce and evoo with spring greens) and tilapia, lightly seasoned and grilled. Dessert was an easy, breezy blueberry pie that is currently chilling in the fridge. It was lovely. It was easy. And I felt like I had really created something beautiful.
So, I guess I have that darn movie to thank for the inspiration for all of this. I think I'll give this whole blog thing a go and see where it leads me. A little self-exploration. A lot of amazing inspiration for all things beautiful. And I hope after putting this out there into the great abyss, that someone, anyone might find me and like me and share my enthusiasm. So, until then...until I'm brave enough to publish this I should say...I bid you adieu. BonNuit, mes amies.