I have to confess. I lied to you. I said the next post would be part II of the Meat Eater or Vegetarian series and here I am sticking another one in in between. But I at least have a good reason for this interloper post: it is time sensitive.
Due to other commitments tomorrow and Monday (see below for the Monday commitment) I more than likely wont be able to get the promised post up before Tuesday. I was working away on it this afternoon (actually alternating between writing the post and dealing with comments) when my bride came in and whined for me to go to a movie I didnt really want to see. But, being the dutiful and obliging spouse that I am, I went. And I was glad I did.
MD just finished the book Julie & Julia and was hot to see the movie. I hadnt read the book, and dont plan on it, so I was lukewarm at best on the idea. But Im glad I relented because the movie is one of the best Ive seen in a long while. MD and I related to it on a number of levels. We written books and have been through all the publisher snafus that Julia experienced. We know what its like to have a cooking show. And weve been through the blogging experience. But, unlike the heroine of the blog and book, weve actually met Julia.
In the summer of 2000, a couple of friends of ours who own Al Forno, a famous restaurant in Providence, RI, arranged for MD and me to be a part of a huge fundraiser for the Providence Public Library. It got worked out in such a way that MD and I attended as – get this – celebrity chefs. Chefs? I still dont know how it happened because our cooking show hadnt even been conceived of at that time and we had just published The Protein Power LifePlan a few months earlier. But there we were as celebrity chefs with – get this, too – Emeril Lagasse, Jacques Pepin, and Julia Child. And, as they say, thats not all. We were there with Billy Joel as well. Yep, Billie, Emeril, Jacques, Julia, MD and me – the celebs brought out to raise money for the Providence Public Library. It was kind of surreal.
When I was introduced to Julia, I told her I was delighted to meet her and that my wife and I lived in her home town. I knew she lived in Santa Barbara, and MD and I had been living there for about a year at the time – if you could call it living there. We actually lived primarily in Incline Village, Nevada and Santa Fe, New Mexico, but we did spent a fair amount of time in Santa Barbara, where we lived aboard a sailboat in the marina when we were in town. So, I was more or less honest when I said we lived in Santa Barbara.
Julia Child was a big woman. And I dont mean fat, I mean big. Shes well over six feet tall and is imposing even stooped a bit as she was then at age almost 90. As we shook hands she replied to my remark about living in her home town in her wonderful, warble-y, quivery voice, Which home town? Santa Barbara or Cambridge, Massachusetts? And she moved when she spoke just as Meryl Streep portrays her in the movie.
Until that moment, I hadnt realize she lived anywhere but Santa Barbara, but it just so happened that MD and I had just purchased a condo in Cambridge a few months before. Our eldest son, wife and first grandchild were moving to the Boston area for a year while our son clerked with a federal judge. We bought the condo and they rented it from us. So, I answered her that we lived both places. Which, of course, was a stretch since we lived part time on a boat in one and owned a rental condo in the other, but, hey, I was among real celebrities so I had to act the part.
In the years between that first meeting and her death, we saw her a dozen or so times around Santa Barbara. She frequented a lot of the same restaurants we did and was a regular at the farmers market. But other than the time we chatted a bit at the Providence Library shindig, neither MD nor I ever spoke with her again. We would say hello if we passed one another, but thats it. Im sure she didnt have a clue we had met before. Having had the interaction with her that we did, made the movie a little more poignant for us. I now wish we had made the effort to get to know her while we had the chance.
Julia had to deal with her publisher and with promoting her various books. And we do too. One of the things authors agree to when they sign a publishing contract is to make themselves available for various publicity events. MD and I have done the book tour routine (which is miserable), appeared on countless TV shows and radio shows, and shown up for innumerable book signings. None of these PR events are particularly fun, but the most loathsome PR event of all takes place this coming Monday. It is the dreaded radio satellite tour.
There is a certain type of PR agent that books these kinds of things, which involve scheduling numerous radio shows one right after the other with military precision. The shows start on drive time radio on the East Coast and move west with the sun.
We will start at 6:50 AM Eastern, which is 3:50 AM our time, and be on the radio pretty much non-stop throughout the day. A number of you have asked in the comments if we are going to be appearing anywhere. Right now, this is all that is scheduled. Ive posted the schedule below so that if were on a station in your neck of the woods, youll be able to listen should you chose to.
It will be a grueling day for us, but somehow well manage to keep our good cheer through it all. A thousand cups of coffee will help. Hope you get to listen in to part of it.