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



Unknown said...

I'm so jealous. I'm sure you will have so much fun. Julia is a great person. I'm hoping she comes to NEC so I can meet her in person too. :)

Penny Watson said...

Hi Amber! She is coming to our conference this spring in, we'll be having a New Enlgand adventure, too, and everyone can meet in person. Fun! I'm looking forward to meeting YOU in person, also. :^)

Julia Rachel Barrett said...

You are so sweet! And to see my name mentioned alongside Julia Child??? Too bad Julia's Kitchen here is closed. Tyler Florence is storing all her cooking utensils until such time as the museum reopens.

My turn - I have me the most amazing women and men on line. I've been fortunate enough to meet Mia Watts, Sharon Hamilton and Diane Story in person. Oh, and Bob Mayer. Which was cool.

I can't wait to get together. We are gonna have fun! I consider the serendipitous fact that you read Beauty and the Feast and contacted me to be such a blessing!

My husband works so much that I did decided last year if I was ever going to travel it would have to be without him. So that's what I'm doing and that's why I'm coming to NEC - I can meet so many people IRL, people I 'virtually' adore!

Julia Rachel Barrett said...

Dang it - "met" not "me"

Tales of Whimsy said...

What a beautiful post. How exciting. Have fun!

Penny Watson said...

Dang it, Julia! hee hee

We should totally cook a Julia recipe while I'm visiting you. Have any favorites?

Can't wait!!!!!!


Penny Watson said...

Thanks, Juju! :^)

Lemon Verbena Lady said...

Very cool you two! Have a great time! I will be anxious to see posts from that trip Penny! Beautiful part of the country and if JRB knows Tyler Florence! One hot man! He can eat crackers in bed any time! Hee! Nancy PS Be still my GERD!

Penny Watson said...

Thanks, Nancy. I'll be sure to take lots of photos. I hope you are feeling better! Keep drinking your ginger tea. :^)

Julia Rachel Barrett said...

Damn, it's rated difficult!

Penny Watson said...

Um....that recipe looks delicious, but WAY too hard for me. Maybe we can find something for beginners! hee hee

Casey Wyatt said...

That is so awesome. I am totally jealous that you are meeting Julia in person. Hugs to you both. Have a wonderful time!

And it kills me that you both will be in Salem in April. I am about two hours away. Sadly, it's not in the budget to attend the conference this year. Penny and Julia - please consider attending CTRWA's Fiction Fest in May 2013. I would love to meet you both in person.

Penny Watson said...

Hi Casey! That CT meeting looks awesome...I'm hoping to get to it this year. Maybe we can figure out a time to get together when Julia is visiting in the Spring!

Nina Pierce said...

I'm sure you will have a wonderful time with her. I can't wait to hear about the adventure! Give her a hug from all of her fans on the east coast!