Shirley Liranzo


Finding your beat


My beat is my inspiration, motivation, and dedication to cooking because of famous legendary chef, Julia Childs. She loved to show Americans that cooking was not a chore but an experience that she enjoyed. She loved food and her energy is what made her meaningful. “The joy she had while cooking was infectious and brought a new perspective to whipping up creative culinary delights. She inspired millions of Americans to put down fast food and pick up a French cookbook.” Julia found her passion after working in aircraft warning service and research assistant. She achieved many goals like creating a cookbook, hosting a show and most importantly, she found her passion. I look up to Julia not only because we have similarities and her amazing dishes, but because she is an example of finding her devotion later in her life, which I feel a lot of young people struggle to find especially in their 20’s. She did not find her passion until her late 30’s because she did not have to cook growing up. She was on television for 37 years and wrote 18 books. According to PBS, it states “In her late 70s and 80s, she collaborated with a young talented director and producer, Geof Drummond, to make four new series  “Cooking with Master Chefs,” “In Julia’s Kitchen with Master Chefs,” “Baking with Julia,” and with her good friend Jacques Pépin, “Jacques and Julia at Home.” Each series was accompanied by a companion book.” These were some of the books that were published by Julia Childs.

            I had a similar inspiration to start cooking. My partner and I favorite activity was to try out different ethnic foods in New York. We would text and send each other different ethnic restaurants in New York. One week we’d try an Italian restaurant; the next week we would try a Mexican restaurant, and so on. If we really liked a specific restaurant, we would go to the same place twice. We went to a fancy restaurant one day and our server was talking about how she loved recreating Julia Childs recipes from her famous cookbook “Mastering the art of French Cooking”. Because I was a beginner, I decided to try cooking steak with mashed potatoes for my partner one day when we decided to save money to travel. I knew my passion to cook started when he tried it, and he smiled. I knew I wanted to continue cooking and making others happy. The more I practiced, the better I got. Just like Julia, my partner motivates me and encourages me because he knows that I can get frustrated when I cook but reminds me that I always end up perfecting it the second time. His favorite phrase was, “Making a mistake is a step closer to success”. I knew I couldn’t be afraid to make mistakes, especially if I had just started to learn to cook something new. Mistakes make you stronger and confident. If you make a mistake, pay attention to where it happened and see what you can do next time so you are less likely to make the mistake again. I never gave up after I had a deep conversation with my partner. This was similar to Julias saying “Learn how to cook—try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless, and above all have fun.” I used to take cooking too seriously, but once I made a mistake, I did not get discouraged. Julia wouldn’t be where she was if it was not for the hard work and mistakes she made when she first started to cook.

            Julia also had a partner that supported her. According to Smithsonian magazine, she was not a natural in the kitchen. Julia Childs used to only eat frozen food. When she met Paul, her husband, he worked for the US Foreign Service. In 1948, the couple traveled to Paris for Paul’s work. In France, when she had her first meal, her interest in cooking sparked. Her first experience with classical French cuisine and she loved it. She began cooking and found joy in making food. “She learned to cook to please Paul, attempting to seduce him with her kitchen prowess”. Paul helped her with every aspect of her cooking career. He was her manager, photographer, recipe-tester or illustrator if she needed him to be. She took cooking classes in France, and studied french. According to the author GBH, it states, “While in Paris with her husband, Julia enrolled at le Cordon Bleu, where she attended French cooking classes. Along with two French friends, Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle, she co-wrote Mastering the Art of French Cooking, published in 1961, which aimed to make French cooking accessible to Americans”. In her book, “My Life in France,” her most known recipes in her cookbook were french onion soup, potato leek soup, and chicken breast with a mushroom cream sauce. She took 9 years to write and publish her cookbook with her two friends. They began testing recipes for ten years. The ten years consisted of trial and error, re-writing recipes, and perfecting each ingredient.