You all know I love a good book. A good cookbook. A good gathering with friends. And a good wink. This story has all of that.
Last year, a friend of mine gave me a gift. Something she had seen in a store and just thought I may enjoy. When she handed it to me I thought it was a normal cookbook… which I love! Not until I opened it and started looking through did I realize what it actually was. Menus: A Book for Your Meals and Memories is just that. It’s a book. A beautifully designed book with blank pages for you to fill. And not to fill with recipes. But to fill with the meals you have and the people you enjoyed them with.
I teared up… in a cute little diner in Ft Worth… when I realized what the book was. For someone who wants to hopefully, eventually, maybe write a food memoir one day… this is the bones. This is the place where I can document all of those dinners and lunches and brunches and Sunday Suppers and Table Talks and birthday parties and holidays. It’s the place where everyone now knows to “sign in”… to leave a message or a memory… or just to leave their name and what they brought or ate or enjoyed the most about the meal.
It has become a staple in the Tate home and I consider it one of my most valued possessions.
But that’s not it. That’s not the end of the story. There was a whole other thing outside of our realm that happened.
When Keri gave me the book, I payed little attention to who “wrote” it because no one really… wrote it. It had no text. And I assumed the art was done by… an artist. And I don’t really know artists by name, so I didn’t pay attention.
This story has a good handful of winks… which I love… so I’m going to break it down as best I can.
😉 Keri gives me the book. And I cry and love it.
😉 Several weeks later, Evan is out of town and I decide to sit and watch a movie… which is RARE for me. The movie I watched was actually the only movie I have sat and watched in the past year. But anyways. Julie & Julia was on Netflix so I watched it. I had seen it years ago but this time… it had so much more meaning. After spending the last several years writing about food and researching how to write a cookbook… I knew what they were talking about. I knew the process they were going through. The part that struck me the most was that Julia Child was 37 when she enrolled in culinary school. She was 49 when her first book, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, was published. Forty nine! The book was rejected by several publishers before it’s publish date in 1961.
😉 The next day. THE NEXT DAY. I am listening to the audio book of Rachel Hollis’ Girl Was Your Face and in Chapter 6 “The Lie: No Is The Final Answer”… she literally says… “You think your dream is taking too long? It took Julia Child ten years to write Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Her work changed cooking for people all over the world and launched her career.” Y’all. I screamed in my kitchen that day! Giggled! Thanked the Lord! Looked up to the heavens and said… “Thank you, Lord! I get it!! I get the hint! Julia Child. I get it!”
But that’s not the end of the story… not the end of the winks. Nope, there is more.
😉 The next day. After that next day. I went over to my in-laws house to get some old cookbooks of my late mother-n-law, whom most of you know… I never met. I grabbed several stacks and brought them to the house. I noticed she had a collection of Jacques Pepin cookbooks… I had never heard of him… never seen his name before (this will be important in a minute). I stacked them all neatly in my kitchen and went on about my biz.
😉 The next day. After that next day of that next day… I had a group of girlfriends over and I was telling them the story of the book Keri gave me and how I loved it so much and how I cried and it was a thing… and all the things. And my friend Karen was holding it and said “Oh yea, Jacques Pepin, I used to watch his show with Julia Child on PBS when I was a kid.”
AND I AM LIKE WHAT?!?!?!?!?!?!
JACQUES PEPIN is the author of Menus: A Book for Your Meals and Memories. He is an incredible chef AND artist. I had not recognized his name on the front of that book because I was just so excited about the book. My late mother-n-law had a collection of HIS cookbooks AND he had a cooking show… a very popular cooking show… with Julia Child… which if you remember to a few winks ago… has a story that had significantly inspired me in those past few days.
Y’ALLLLLLLLLLL! At this point I am crying. I am calling everyone in the kitchen to tell them the story. And… I am feeling. like. I. am. on. the. right. path.
That’s what the winks are for. At least for me. They are the tangible, undeniable, unforgettable, unexplainable way that God points me North when all I can do is stand there with a blindfold on like a child waiting to hit a piñata.
He loves me so much and wants me to SEE it so much that he orchestrates all of these things to be like… “Here, here sweet girl. Look. Look at what I’m showing you. I’ll make it easy for you. You are doing the right thing. You are on the right path.”
Now… just walk.