Yes, today ( August 15th ) is Julia’s birthday…she would have turned 97. OK, so she is no longer here to actually celebrate her birthday with a sip of this and a bite of that, but spiritually, she is omnipresent amongst us. If the fact that she is remembered lovingly by all whom she influenced and that her cookbooks are still relevant to legions of cooks is not proof enough, just evidence the long-suffering current dialogue about ‘the book’ and ‘the movie.’ Would she have approved or would she have gaffawed at the amount of lip-time that this new national obsession has racked up?
Anyway, here’s to you, just you, dear Julia. We met you in 1991 at a United Way Benefit fund-raising event. You were signing copies of your new book: The Way to Cook and charming your fans, and we were serving cups of our coffee to attendees.
In fact, we were serving cups of a coffee blend that we created in your honor and introduced that night: Mastering the Art of Coffee. http://tiny.cc/d4d6p. You were so thrilled to have a coffee created just for you ( you said it was a ‘first’ ) and several cups of it were requested to be sent over to your table throughout the evening, if I remember correctly. We’ve sold your coffee blend in the store since than, and it is very popular indeed. Later that evening, you signed one of the large display posters of your book that hung in the room and gave it to us for a memento. Do you know that it is one of our most cherished possessions and proudly resides on display in our store to this day ?
The following year we sent you a birthday card when your turned 80. Your note of appreciation for our well-wishes sent us to the moon and back when we received it, and we grinned like school children when we showed it to all of our foodie friends.
Then, to make it even better, Random House sent us a cardboard likeness of you – a PR piece that was to top a generous display of your books. We like instead to put you in the window of our store from time to time ( we dressed up your smock with a silver “J” pin that belonged to Bob’s mother Jean ) and watch passersby do a double take when they see you. The sight of you always makes people stop, and do a bit of a double take. Many of them smile, with a look that tells me they are fondly remembering something endearing about you.
Of course there are those who ask if they can purchase the cardboard ‘you’ ( sorry, no ) or have it ( are you kidding me ? ) or borrow it ( ya, right ! ). We’ll always keep our ‘cardboard Julia’ …..just for the memories.