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 CRÈME 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.)

Dorie Greenspan