My Julia Child story: Fresh out of college I was looking for adventure and landed a job as a cook for a company that operated wildlife tours on small cruise ships in Alaska and Baja Mexico. Having a degree in creativity and risk taking (equals fine art) and an adventurous spirit, cooking on a tour boat was just the thing. Most of the passengers were well educated, but not uppity, neither was the food. Our chief cook was from Minneapolis and created menus from her knowledge base with dishes such as hot kidney bean salad with cheddar cheese chunks and tons of mayonnaise, and hot German potato salad with apple cider vinegar and bacon. These were big hits! Okay, so it was the early 80's. The good news is that we managed to update the menu to a more contemporary Northwest seafood gourmet style of cooking utilizing our liberal arts degrees, recipe research and a little chutzpa, ( adlib by the creative types). One time, we tripped upon a dessert by accident that we were told, "if Julia Child tasted this, she would have died and gone to heaven". Here is the story. One time our freezers went out. Remember, this is a small cruise ship and we are away from port so no grocery store stops in emergencies such as this. While the engineers worked on fixing the problem, our dessert, the chocolate ice cream, became limp and gooey soft. We didn't discover our problem until it was time to serve desert. Being good problem solvers, we improvised a bit. We devised a new dessert made up of short and wide clear plastic cups filled with the melty ice cream, then we opened a gazillion Sanka packets and sprinkled a little instant decafe on top of each one and speared it with a straw and a spoon to show intenTionality. If we had known about global warming, we would have called it Ice-melt mocha moose frappe (we are in Alaska, thus the "moose", and the glaciers were receding around us like the melting contents of our freezer).
The next day, a lady introduced herself as Julia Child's neighbor in Massachusetts. She said that she loved the food on this trip and especially the mocha-chocolate-mousse like dessert and was eager to tell Julia all about it! She also told us about dinners with Julia at her house. We asked her how anyone could pull off a meal without experiencing major intimidation, for such a superstar of haute cuisine. She answered that Julia is great to cook for because she is appreciative of everything. She always expressed enthusiasm because she just loved food.