While watching the movie, Adaptation, the other night, one of the main characters (played by Nicholas Cage) posed a question to another main character (played my Meryl Streep) of what two historical people she would invite to dinner if given the opportunity. She answered with Jesus and Einstein. When discussing the interchange later, Nicholas Cage’s character commented,
“…and everybody says Jesus and Einstein. That’s a prepackaged answer.”
So that got me thinking. I’ve been asked that question more times than I can count. At job interviews, leadership retreats, curious friends…and it’s true. It seems like we always have a prepackaged answer. So that got me thinking even more, and I came to a new conclusion. Why just two people? Clearly, since I write a food blog, I love to entertain. Who doesn’t love a good dinner party? Why can’t I have a whole dinner party full of historical people? So I’ve started working on my guest list. The invitation delivery method might be a bit tricky and the like any good party, the guest list is a living document that continues to have additions and modifications. So let’s start with the random first few that popped into my mind.
Julia Child – I mean for goodness sake, the woman was a pioneer for women in a male dominated profession (not to mention which a personal hero of mine). Julia was an American chef, author, and television personality. Most famous for introducing French cuisine to the American public with her book, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, she was also famous for a number of television productions. So historical significance aside, I really want to talk to Julia about her experiences during World War II and when she met and fell in love with her husband, Paul Cushing Child. Now that I think about it, Paul is added to the list (see that whole tie back to the living document thing?). Paul was ultimately one of the biggest influences in initially exposing Julia to fine cuisine as he was quite the enthusiast with a uniquely sophisticated palate. One of my most favorite quotes from Julia (amongst the hundreds that I love) was when she first encountered French food while dining in Rouen. She described her meal of of oysters, sole meunière, and fine wine as:
“…a culinary revelation … an opening up of the soul and spirit for me.”
Preach it sister! But probably one of the biggest reasons I would love to sit down with Julia and chat over a glass of wine is to talk to her about her battle with infertility. While madly in love, while married, Paul and Julia never had any children. She never publicly spoke about her battles but her memoir mentioned that children would have been nice but that it just never happened. I too have battled infertility but am choosing to not be quiet about it. I want to share my stories so that even if I can help one woman with the story of my journey, it will be worth the telling. That Julia had a wonderful enthusiasm for life. And so, as I move onto the next person on the list, I will leave you with one of her famous quotes:
“Learn how to cook — try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless and above all have fun.”
So who next? A Founding Father perhaps? To be able to talk face to face with someone who was instrumental in creating the society I live in today (all politics aside….). If I had to pick just one, it would be Thomas Jefferson. Not just because this would be Riche’s pick too but because he was the principal author of the Decleration of Independence and poster child for democracy. And his wife Martha. Much like Paul to Julia, Martha is a great addition to the list! She has been described as:
“…being highly educated and musical, a constant reader, with a good nature and a vivacious temper that sometimes bordered on tartness. She had great affection for her husband.”
Some historical descriptions even credit her with instituting the production of 170 gallons of beer in her first year at Monticello. That’s my kind of woman!
In this intellectual vein, up next are two of my favorite authors, F. Scott Fitzgerald and J.D. Salinger. Both of these men wrote several of my favorite books to include Franny and Zoe, Catcher in the Rye and The Great Gatsby. As a person who aspires to right a book someday, I’d love to talk with them about their inspirations for the famed novels… how they felt about the critical reviews of their works… what type of novel they would write today given modern day inspirations. I’d love to talk with J.D. about one of my favorite quotes from him:
“What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn’t happen much, though.”
…and to talk with F. Scott about his love of New York City and the inspiration behind two of my favorite quotes from him:
“Never confuse a single failure with a final defeat.”
“The city seen from the Queensboro Bridge is always the city seen for the first time, in its first wild promise of all the mystery and the beauty in the world.”
We need some entertainment at this dinner party! I love music and what dinner party wouldn’t be complete without some music? Too many favorites to pick from…I can add more later for sure. For now, I’m going to through a dart and name Pharrell. Random choice huh?!? I thought so too. Most likely, it’s because several of his songs are on my playlist that I listened to during my run this morning. One of my favorite jams of his was a joint project with Daft Punk (a French house music duo) – “Get Lucky” (a disco and funk song with lyrics that, according to Williams, are about the fortune of connecting with someone…)
“Like the legend of the Phoenix
All ends with beginnings
What keeps the planets spinning (uh)
The force from the beginning
We’ve come too far to give up who we are
So let’s raise the bar and our cups to the stars
She’s up all night to the sun
I’m up all night to get some
She’s up all night for good fun
I’m up all night to get lucky”
I love the concept of the Phoenix and ends not being the final moment but rather the beginning of something new. With that thought process and knowing how far we’ve come, we should raise our goal standards and cheer each other on. So entertainment and profound thoughts. Bonus! Not necessarily historically significant but music has a way of offering unique significance to the individual listener. And he seems like he’d be fun. You can’t argue that logic.
And there’s Jesus and Einstein! We can’t forget them!
So there you have it…the start to my living document invitation list. Who’s coming to your dinner party?