Remember way back in December when I announced I would be cooking my way thorough Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking Cookbook? I even geeked out over her cookbook stats a month later, posting charts and graphs and made stubborn eliminations of things like cabbage, kidney and brains that resulted in a total of 184 recipes as the goal. 

Last count was around 56 recipes. Hey, pretty good for someone who has to look up how to hard boil eggs every time. 

My 100th post special was all about food. I’d started to better regulate my heat. My sauces were still separating but seemed to be inching toward “palatable” and away from “disgusting, mom!” 

And then something happened. My last dinner caused my husband to put down his proverbial foot, as it were. He flexed his familial headship muscles and asked, politely but firmly, if we could stop the madness of the Julia Project.  

There have been too many pork chop fails, leeks and endives are banned, and tarts that leak red death syrup in your fridge. Every recipe takes hours and hours and hours to prepare. When I’ve got time, it’s a great challenge. I’ve learned how to make quiche, crust from scratch and to dry the meat before I brown it. Don’t crowd the mushrooms either. 

But I am so tired of getting rejected at the diner table because of this little gem:



It’s the sauce. The sauce kills the sleeve and it’s just not worth it. 
Julia loves her sauces. Her vegetables are cooked to death. The hubs cannot take it anymore. 

So, I’m quitting. I’m quitting big, loud and in writing. 
Here’s my reason:


In search of a new cookbook (because, people, I need recipes), I found this gem at Costco. It’s from the producers of the Cook’s Country television show on PBS. The very same people who produce America’s Test Kitchen. I like when people have already done the legwork and show me exactly why I should do this, this and this instead of this and this – with a color picture. 


Don’t get me wrong, I admire Julia’s years of perfecting French cooking for the “servant-less American cook”. However, after you’ve made a few dishes, you’ve made them all. I need freshly steamed carrots, meat with regular names, simple potatoes, a dessert everyone will eat. I don’t want to have to flambe cherries, because as I wrote here, that scares me. 

Enter our son, Clay, on Easter. 


“I want this for Easter dinner!” he says. 

I had to adjust my glasses. Gumbo. He wants gumbo for Easter dinner. What the hell is gumbo? Stew? Chowder? I acquiesced because (1) I need a new cooking challenge, (2) he’s so damn cute, (3) we had a bunch of gulf shrimp from the neighbor, (4) it’s sleeve-friendly due to the protein and (5) two years ago this boy didn’t let any of his food touch. So, I figure, even if it’s terrible, it’s a win-win in the finicky child eating category. 


Making the roux. What’s roux? You mean you toast the flour? And then put oil in it, swish it around with the whisk and bake it for 45 minutes? Ok this is weird. 


If you want gumbo, whatever that is, you’re going to have to de-vein and un-shell those shrimp freezer. Y’all have you ever de-veined shrimp? Yuck. 



Cooking win.

1. It did not take 7 hours like Julia’s Boofy Stew. 
2. I snuck it over brown rice and the boy didn’t even notice. 
3. The sleeve was happy.