Thursday, January 19, 2012

My Dinner With Julia (Rachel Barrett)


Some folks have it. Some don't.

Many of us had it in our younger days. And then lost it with the arrival of 2.5 kids.

Some of us had it in college. For others, it may make an appearance after a few drinks.

I haven't had a lot of spontaneous moments in the last year and half. Having a heart attack makes you hold on tight to familiarity....the structure of each day makes you feel safe and secure.

But I realized at the beginning of this new year, I needed to shake things up. I needed something fun and different and spontaneous and maybe a little bit ballsy to look forward to.

How about....

....hopping on a plane, flying across the country, and meeting someone you have never actually seen in real life?

Someone you have developed a friendship with, initially based on mutual love of books, good food and wine. Shared experiences. Someone you respect. Someone who is a kindred spirit in many ways. Someone who is kind, intelligent, thoughtful, and funny. Someone who is supportive and understanding.

Julia Rachel Barrett issued an open invitation to visit her in Napa, and one day I emailed her and said...."I'm coming to see you." I'm not sure if she was shocked or surprised. But she said "Great!"

And so, in eleven days, I am flying across the country to meet a "stranger" who really isn't a stranger. We're going to taste wine, and olive oil, and visit the farmer's market in San Francisco, and hike, and eat at some fun restaurants, and walk her adorable dog, and get to know each other in person.

I can't wait.

Of all the things that have happened to me since I discovered romantic fiction, started writing and reviewing, the very best part has been "meeting" cool people. Other authors and reviewers and readers who have unique perspectives on life, who have gone through trials and tribulations just as I have, who offer support and kindness as life throws a few curveballs our way.

And so, I'm looking forward to my dinner with Julia. Good food, good wine, good company. It's a grand adventure, and a wonderful way to start the new year.

A wonderful source of inspiration. Visiting a new place. Meeting a new friend. Taking a journey by myself, without my family.

I like the fact that my first introduction to Julia was by reading her book Beauty and the Feast. I knew right away that I liked her. I liked the way she saw the sensuality of food, the simplicity of a good meal, the beauty in the world around her. These things came out clearly in this book, and after enjoying it immensely, we started corresponding and became friends.

Another Julia would heartily approve, I'm sure....

"Remember, 'No one's more important than people!' In other words, friendship is the most important thing--not career or housework, or one's fatigue--and it needs to be tended and nurtured." Julia Child, My Life in France

"The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you've got to have a what-the-hell attitude." Julia Child

"One of the secrets, and pleasures, of cooking is to learn to correct something if it goes awry; and one of the lessons is to grin and bear it if it cannot be fixed." Julia Child, My Life in France

"The only time to eat diet food is while you're waiting for the steak to cook." Julia Child