Many times I need to pinch myself. Am I really here? What is going on? Don’t wake me up as I don’t want it to be over…
Last Saturday I was grateful to be asked by Pasadena Heritage to honor Julia Child. This would have been her 100th Birthday. It was a garden party set in her former childhood home on Magnolia. Perfectly named street in fact.. It is lined with century old magnolia trees with blossoming flowers the size of dinner plates!
A few years ago I was in New Zealand on a stop in Christchurch (a few days prior to their horrible earthquake). I met up with Stephanie Hersh (Julia’s long time personal assistant). We talked hours on end. I asked her if she knew if Julia’s childhood home was still standing. Stephanie mentioned that she and Julia drove around one afternoon and could not locate it. Thinking it had become a gas station.
Leave it to the Pasadena Heritage to have documentation that the house the McWilliams family owned is standing and information on two other homes that have influence on Julia growing up.
It was a very hot day over 100F. The lawn in front of the 1912 Colonial Revival home was outfitted with yellow draped tables and fresh summer flowers. I created the menu of Aperitifs. Simple Hors D’oeuvres and a bubbly drink. Tory Topjian and his team of students from his bistro class prepped and waited tables.
I told about my first meeting with Julia in 1989 at a food conference and the many times we worked on projects together from ribbon cutting a new cooking school to teaching youth in the tenderloin district of San Francisco how to make pies. Besides the talk I put together a table of my 9 cookbooks that Julia had personalized over the years and two of the magazine covers she had adorned. Plus my prize possessions.. A copper pot, a blending fork and my 1993 “prom” picture of Julia and I together.
Many times over the years I have felt Julia’s presents. Saturday was again one of them.