It All Started With the Soufflé

By Meredith Steele, In Sock Monkey Slippers

In a little corner of a kitchen in Dallas, Texas, floated the familiar voice of Julia Child over the hum of an old TV. That’s where I rushed to everyday after school beginning when I was a child. I glued my face to the TV watching fervently and learning more than I ever did in school.

I thought I had finally found a class I could make A’s in when I signed up for home economics only to be disappointed when the only recipe on the syllabus was a boiled potato, carrot, and onion dish. I came home that day disappointed and thoroughly let down. But in an instant, I was inspired with the sound of Julia’s voice and how she made everything look achievable. I remember that day clearly, as it was the cheese soufflé episode.

With childish excitement, I quickly got to work beating egg whites in my parents’ kitchen while listening to Julia’s instructions. When it came time to fold in the cheese I was horrified that we didn’t have a single ounce of cheese in the house! As any ten-year-old would do, I found the cocoa powder as a replacement. I remember how my mouth was watering at the idea of how this is going to taste and the pride I would surely see on my parents’ faces. Unfortunately, my hopes were crushed when Julia put the soufflé in the oven because at ten-years-old I was not allowed to use an oven. Not wanting to give up I asked myself “What would Julia do?” She would most certainly use the microwave I thought and that I did.

Twenty minutes later, I had the chewiest, most burnt around the edges, pitifully fallen soufflé on the planet. I still remember the look of horror on my father’s face when he walked into the kitchen that day. I started to cry saying that I “just wanted to be like Julia Child.” It was then that he picked up the bowl, dumped the rock hard “soufflé” out on the counter, cut himself a piece, and ate it. To my amazement, he ate the entire thing! He said it was the best soufflé he had ever had; and of course my father never lied, so I knew I had done it.

I know now that was probably not the best chocolate soufflé he ever had. However, I walked away that day knowing that I could do anything if I just tried–and Julia did that for me. I still get inspired when I watch the French Chef and jump immediately into the kitchen. Julia Child was an amazing woman and chef and I thank her every time I’m in the kitchen for teaching me to be fearless, to keep learning, to have fun, and above all for inspiring me from the start.

About Meredith Steele

A graphic designer turned stay-at-home mom after her daughter was born prematurley, Meredith Steele focused her love for cooking to create InSockMonkeySlippers.com, a blog packed with family-friendly recipes and lighthearted stories about motherhood. Her fresh whole food recipes have been featured in many print and on-line publications.

You can find Meredith at her website In Sock Monkey Slippers, as well as on Facebook and Twitter.