Julia Child recipe plated and readyFelix, my partner, had never experienced the flavors, and the brilliance of Julia Child’s famous recipe for Coq au vin. So, as a New Year’s Eve treat, I decided to make this dish from her world renown book, “Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Vol. I.” Though Coq au vin has become associated with gourmet cooking, it is basically a chicken stew cooked in wine, and comes from a humble origin. My person take on the recipe is to add an extra two cloves of garlic, and to prepare the dish a day in advance, allowing it to sit in the refrigerator over night, allowing the ingredients to merge, and reach a peak of flavor. At first taste, Felix’s eyes lit up, and he gasped as though he were given the gift of newly minted taste buds.

As we ate our New Year’s Eve dinner, we began to talk about Julia, and how she was one of the first to systematically prepare recipes so that if directions were followed, they would taste the same each time. Each measurement had been tested, and researched so that anyone who prepared food from her cookbook would achieve the desired taste. Julia also wished to create dishes with ingredients anyone could find in a supermarket without having to shop at specialty stores. Outside the fact that she created a fantastic cookbook, she brought French Cuisine to the masses.

After  our meal was consumed, and after dishes were washed, and put away, I came to realize that through our conversation, we were actually giving thanks, and blessing the gift of a human life, acknowledging a personal gift for a life’s work. When we offer thanks to Julia Child, we are at the same time thanking God for the brilliance of creation, and the glorious gift of an other human being’s time and talent and impact on our lives.

With the new year upon us, let us remember in our own way, each time we think of a good, each time we speak well of someone, whether it be their work, or just being a friend, and neighbor, we are offering a secret blessing.

Let us hope, that this year, we are more aware of how much thanks we truly have, and how important gratitude is in the wake of every day life. We may find the lives of many filled with a bounty of blessings.