Tales of Julia: Part 1
And so that’s how I found myself across from Julia at a small table laughing until I couldn’t stop crying. We’d been talking about something – what could it have been? – when Julia turned and asked, “Have you ever seen that Dan Ackroyd skit, you know the one where he plays me? The one with the chicken?” I was embarrassed to admit that I was probably the only person in America who hadn’t seen it – although I knew about it; everyone did – and was stammering excuses when I realized that Julia was delighted to have an Ackroyd virgin. Before I could finish my sentence, Julia was up and doing the routine from start to bloody-chicken finish. I couldn’t believe it: I was watching Julia Child doing an imitation of Dan Ackroyd doing an imitation of Julia Child.
I thoroughly enjoyed it, but Julia enjoyed it more. Julia enjoyed everything more – the little pleasures of daily life and the big ones, too. A woman whose screensaver said CRÃˆME FRAICHE, was a woman who got the most out of every experience.
I recently read another account of Julia reenacting the Ackroyd routine for someone on a first meeting and thought, “How Julia! It must have been her way of making a newcomer feel comfortable.”
Julia was extraordinary and I was extraordinarily lucky to get to know her well, to work with her closely during the filming and writing of Baking with Julia and to spend a great deal of time with her. In this Julia month – the month of her birth (August 15, 1912), her death (August 13, 2004) and the opening of the Julie & Julia movie (August 7) – I’ll tell you more of my Julia stories. (I might even be able to get Michael and The Kid to tell you theirs, too.)