Happy new year!

“Julie and Julia,” surely by many considered a “chick flick,” is the most recent favorite movie of my brother John, age 55. After seeing it in the fall, he told me he wanted to try Julia Child’s cookbook, so I determined to get it for him for Christmas. When he and his family arrived at our house on January 1 for our “Christmas” together, I gave him Mastering the Art of French Cooking. He was delighted, turning immediately to the recipe for Beef Bourguignon. Then he spotted Hollandaise Sauce, and our course was set for the coming day.

I had on hand the ingredients for Eggs Benedict, so we did that for everyone for brunch. Fabulous! The cookbook is definitely easy to follow—ingredients in the left column and in the right column the instructions for what to do with that ingredient. After an interesting foray to the nearby grocery superstore in which an unflappable butcher cut a prime rump roast into stew meat, we were able to cook Beef Bourguignon for dinner. It was marvelous! We were all pretty impressed with ourselves. It was mainly John and me, but his daughter Katie assisted and wife Liz washed up all the pots and pans—a terrific help. A hint about why it was so good, besides being labor-intensive: it had a bottle of merlot in it!

Cooking together was such fun! I discovered that even though he cooks a lot, there are kitchen basics that he doesn’t know how to do, such as separate egg yolks from the whites. It was a great blessing to work well together, and in between we played games and just talked.

They had not known until the last minute when they were going to be able to come the four hours to visit us. Then when they arrived they didn’t know how long they would stay. Due to their flexibility, I discovered that I don’t have to have a plan when someone visits. When we love each other, the time takes care of itself and may turn out even better than if I’d planned it. I’m hoping to continue my flexibility throughout 2010. Happy new year!


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