Judging by the empty theater this past weekend, my family were the only ones who hadn't seen Julie & Julia yet. After curbing the urge to go home and cook everything in the house, I realized the greatest thing I took away from the film wasn't the food, but one key motivational point...
In the film, Julie was reading from Julia's book and read aloud the words, "Don't ever apologize!"
Although I'm quite willing to try anything in the kitchen and attempt to stay on top of all the new gastronomical trends along with traditional preparations of food, my countertops can end up looking like a Scientist's laboratory! Sometimes the results are fabulous, sometimes they're a train wreck (ask my husband about the time I thought boiling down rootbeer and adding in different thickening agents was a good idea). But no matter how the food turns out, I've always served it with the comment of, "If it sucks, please don't feel like you have to eat it!"
Food has always been a medium for creativity for me, just like a pen and pencil or camera are for others. But unlike a painting on the wall, where you simply turn away if you don't like it, food you have to touch, taste and take in, so I've always felt more of a responsibility or liability, when it comes to the craft. So my dishes have always been presented with a disclaimer.
After watching Julie & Julia and pondering the idea of apology-less food, I realized the clause which I had been serving my food under wasn't representing the fearless and 98% successful cook that I am. Instead, it opens the door for failure, before the taste of success has even been considered. Having been to many a dinner where it was all I could do to make it through the meal — I didn't want my own guests, friends and family to feel obligated to consume what I had created.
Has my need to make everyone feel welcome and un-obligated to consume my goods made me less of a cook? Although I'd like to say I have the answer to that question, ultimately I don't. The should have, would have, could have's of the past aren't our current concern. But you can bet your bottom dollar that going forward, we'll be putting forth dishes and creations without a fall back apology. Thanks Julia!
(Image: Sarah Rae Trover)