So I'd bet that my #1, most favorite activity for ever and always is reading. On the contrary, I would also say that one of my decidedly less favorite activities is driving. I drive almost 35 minutes to and from work each day and by the time I hit my exit my eyes start to cross a little and my legs ache from lactic acid build-up - stop, go - stop, go.
My little neighborhood library recently started lending books-on-CD, and suddenly the genius of this concept hit me. It's like reading, when I'm driving. Brilliant. I knew from past experience, however, that I don't do well with fiction. I like fiction, but for some reason I don't like fiction to be read to me. This reminds me of something my friend Bill's Irish mother says: If it didn't happen, it's not true!!
The point of all of this is to say that there, tucked between the Deepak Chopra and Danielle Steele, was Julia Child's autobiography, My Life In France. As cooking, Paris, and succulent tall women are also among my favorite things, I snatched it up and have devoured it much like I would have her sole meuniere. The book is crisp, yet tender, solid, yet yielding. Perhaps what satisfies the palate also satisfies the mind.
I enjoyed the food in France very much, but have never had an overwhelming urge to prepare French food, especially entrees. Even Julie Powell's lovely book, Julie & Julia, didn't move me to the point of culinary action. But there's something about experiencing, in her own words, the seminal moments that defined Julia's rapture with food, that is a turn-on to the cuisine, if not the woman herself.
Tuesday I returned to said library and borrowed the only copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking. While I doubt I'll ever systematically cook my way through each page, I did try my hand today at an easy recipe, Tarte Tatin, and it was a success. I'm feeling energized by the idea of exploring the rest of the cookbook and am dreading playing the last CD.