« Quote of the Day | Main | Lack of Imagination »

August 15, 2004
Real Class

In the previous note about the passing of Julia Child, I neglected to note that she spent her latter years in my hometown, Santa Barbara. [Montecito, actually, but no one knows where Montecito is.] I can't tell you exactly where her home was, but then, I haven't lived there in quite a number of years.

However, on my occasional visits to the old homestead, I frequently hear stories about some of the celebrities who live nearby. Montecito is the home of choice for quite a few of the Hollywood crowd: Oprah's estate is about half a mile from my Mom's house; my nieces and nephew went to school with Paul Hogan and Linda Kozlowski's kid; Kathy Ireland and her family go to my Mom's church; Kenny Loggins used to live three houses down the street, and so on.

Julia Child was one of the folks about whom I heard tales. In the comments to my previous post, Mom writes:

Did I ever tell you about the women at Von's grocery who would follow Julia around just to see what was in her shopping cart? Yep - the meat department and produce were most popular. She was a nice lady and loved going out to other homes for dinner where she would eat whatever was fixed and not complain about it.

If anyone on the planet had the right to criticize other peoples' cooking, it was Mrs. Child... yet she was always gracious.

I also failed to mention the thing I found most intriguing about her, that she had been in the OSS during the Second World War. Many people told stories about her supposed exploits behind enemy lines and whatnot, but she always dismissed those tales and said she had merely been a file clerk. She was that, and a little bit more, but she never inflated her own exploits.

She was the product of a different age, of course. She served her country, and afterwards did much to improve the lives of many people, even if it was something as simple as better-tasting food.

She had real class, and she'll be missed. I wish more people were as classy.

In a way, I got something from her, too. Every time I visit Santa Barbara, I make a point of going with my brother to one particular dingy-looking dumpy little Mexican restaurant in the low-rent part of town, "La Super Rica." Ordinarily, I tend to avoid places which might be called "dives" (or more politely, "shacks.")

But Julia Child once said it was her favorite Mexican restaurant. Now it's mine, too.

Posted by Russ at 01:04 PM, August 15, 2004 in Miscellany

Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL for this entry: