For my Document of Learning, I decided to share my speech. However, due to the pressure of writing it and preparing my learning centre for Night of the Notables, I did not post a draft for my speech ahead of time. I have now come to a decision to post the final copy I wrote, along with the comments I received from the supportive audience. I am relieved to say that I presented my speech last week, and I am glad to say that I feel that I presented it better than how I had expected. Please feel free to comment on my post with suggestions on my writing (since I am not posting the video of my presentation). Now let’s see what I, a dead chicken, have to say about the French chef Julia Child:
Lights, camera, action! I lay sprawled on the counter as a lady announces, “Julia Child presents, the chicken sisters! ” I listen to her voice; it’s quite funny compared to the other humans. She takes these long breaths between every few sentences and her voice is deep, yet I could only describe her form of speech as chirping. With her apron tied around her waist and a grin spreading across her lips, she introduces the six chicken carcasses lying on the kitchen counter as Ms. Broiler, Ms. Fryer, Ms. Roaster, Ms. Caponata, Ms. Stewer, and Old Madame Hen. She doesn’t even have mercy for the seniors. Well, now that the introduction is finished, I gather myself and try to look as presentable to the cameras as a dead chicken possibly can.
People of later years would grimace at the thought of the salmonella contaminating everything she continuously laid her hands on, which managed to be everything on set. But during this time period, everyone either did not know or was carefree about the germ theory. After all, on the French Chef, Julia Child made everything cooking related seem carefree and overall, enjoyable. Now that was a change compared to the old ways of American cooking, and change was a significant thing that Julia had brought back with her from France.
She waves her knife at each of us in turn, the risk of being the first victim dangling at her fingertips. “Today, we’ll be focusing on…Ms.Roaster!” Phew, I’ve been spared this time.
She scoops up dear Ms.Roaster, explaining how perfect her age and body are for the specific task she has in mind. The lady has so much knowledge about the perfect way to cook, as though she has had lots of experience. Well, of course she has. I’ve heard the farmer and people all over America tuning into her TV show, the French Chef, every week. This woman, standing in front of me, was imported straight from France where she had learned under master chefs. Apparently, very few women had attended the same cooking class as Julia, due to the sexism apparent at that time, but she easily proved that ladies could be equally as threatening and capable as men in the kitchen.
Julia props up dear Ms.Roaster, and chortles on about how, with her age, the tenderness of her body will be perfect for roasting. The back ground crew let out a laugh as she explains the price of another chicken and how it would be twice as much “expensiver.” Julia reveals a giant roll of string and begins winding it all over the chicken, around and around and around to hold up the legs and close the opening to the body.
I remember the farmer had said it should be an honor to have none other than Julia Child herself –television star, award-winning author, and all that jazz — use me as an ingredient. Well I don’t know about you, but I’m not looking forward to having my body dressed up to please a lady’s customers, even if she has won multiple chef awards, television awards and author awards for writing her own cookbook.
“If I can do it, then you can do it!” Julia encourages, smiling and continuing on to teach the art of food-making. She begins sliding the body onto a spit, the traditional, and her favourite way, to roast a chicken.
I’m beginning to wonder where I would be right now if her husband, Paul Cushing Child, had never introduced her to French cuisine. What was the big deal about Julia Child anyway? I mean how in the world had she influenced American cooking? What made her so…admirable? There’s another giggle from the camera crew as she accidentally makes a mistake. “This is my invariable advice to people,” she exclaims, “Learn how to cook—try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless, and above all have fun”
Fun? I thought this was her job. I thought you weren’t supposed to have fun while attending to anything mandatory that you must do. What was she showing these Americans who always called cooking a job. A job that was not meant to be enjoyed. It was meant to be finished, done, accomplished, complete, but not enjoyed.
I imagine the audience huddled around a TV screen, looking forward to how Julia Child would entertain them once more, and all of a sudden, I can see it. I can see why Julia had influenced the people around her. Was it the fact that she had followed her dream to France and won awards for culinary excellence? Or maybe it was because she had been distinguished for her t.v. success? There were many possibilities, but as I watched her perform on front of the camera, there was something even bigger, even more important that was not printed onto a certificate or branded onto a medal, that I noticed. There was something that was not physically seen, but more like felt, within the hearts and minds of the audience she cooked for. It was there alright though, it was there and it was left as a legacy behind her, a trail of Julia Child that America would never shake off.
What Julia Child introduced was something that defied those ideas written in people’s minds previously about the rules of cooking—she taught that you could be happy. Be happy, and enjoy cooking. People looked up to her for her cheerfulness, the way she could laugh at her own mistakes and continue on with a smile.
Maybe she’s not so bad after all…And on top of that, I’ve never been much of a cannibal, but I’ve got to admit…that chicken she cooked smells amazing. As she sets down the plate and walks over to the counter, she announces, “Now on to Ms.Caponata!” Well, now it seems like it’s my turn. My turn to be cooked by the woman who made a difference in the way of American cooking, by the name of Julia Child.
This was the constructive criticism I received after performing my speech:
- A little quiet at times (speak louder)
- Try to project voice to entire audience evenly while looking at one specific point
And my favourite piece of advice from Ms.Mulder
- Dead chickens don’t move
Please feel free to leave advice in the comments. Thank you!