JULIA & I

JULIA & I

by marlies|dekkers

– 3 reasons why Julia Child is one of my favorite feminine feminists

You probably don’t know this about me, but, like my favorite Kitchen Goddess Julia Child, I have spent a large part of my life wearing aprons. Helping my mother in the kitchen, I started experimenting with flavors at 12, then spent 4 years learning how to become the perfect housewife at Domestic Science School. (Not to boast, but I make a flipping great ‘vlaflip’! (a layered Dutch Dessert)

You may laugh, and obviously my life went in a completely different direction, but it is in the kitchen that I learned how to taste, combine, take risks and express myself through my creations. It’s where I learned how to be an artist! Like Julia who, against all odds, wrote the bible of French cooking and became the first female TV chef, I believe that women can empower themselves by reclaiming the kitchen and stop seeing the stove as a symbol of oppression. So, tie on your apron and get inspired by the woman who once famously described cannelloni as being ‘as hot as a stiff cock!’.

1. She wrote her own recipe for her life
During her life, Julia Child was told she was too tall to become a spy, too simple to survive the Cordon Bleu cooking school, and too old and un-glamorous to become a TV star. Well, did she prove everybody wrong! After traveling the world for the secret service, the feisty American got her Cordon Bleu diploma, wrote the epic ‘Mastering the Art of French Cooking’ and won the first Emmy for a TV show with her hugely popular program ‘The French Chef’. Proving to me that, even if you are told your ingredients aren’t right, you can still cook up an amazing life for yourself!

2. She never apologized
”We should enjoy food and have fun,” Julia Child used to say, ”It is one of the simplest and nicest pleasures in life. And indeed, watching her lick, sniff and taste her way through ‘The French Chef’, I see a woman with an appetite, not just for food, but for life. (And yes, that includes sex, hence her above-mentioned ‘cannelloni’ remark). Julia believed in using luscious ingredients -butter being her favorite ingredient- and cooking with a what-the-hell attitude. “The only real stumbling block is fear of failure,” she would say, demonstrating how to flip a pancake. I also learned from her how to improvise when things don’t quite go as planned: “If you’re alone in the kitchen, who is going to see? Never apologize!”. How’s that for life advice?

3. She reclaimed the kitchen
After a life-changing meal of oysters and sole meunière, at the age of 32, Julia enrolled at France’s most prestigious cooking school (as the only woman student). Her mission? To reclaim the traditional ‘feminine’ activity of cooking as an empowering art form for modern women, just like Coco Chanel had done for clothes-making. “Every woman needs a blowtorch,” she used to say, only half-joking. And so, Julia always showed herself ‘alone in her kitchen’- not preparing dinner for a husband or children but expressing her artistic potential through cooking and enjoying every damn second of it. “The world is your oyster,” is the message behind Julia’s delectable legacy. “Cook it and eat it the way YOU want.”

“The world is your oyster. Cook it and eat it the way YOU want.”
— Julia Child

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All my work as a feminist designer is inspired by muses. Powerful female icons from past and present. Although women have been marginalized for centuries, archetypes of female power have always been there. Through my designs, I bring them to you. To help us shape the world of modern-day feminism.