If you’re afraid of butter, use cream. - Julia Child
I have a sweet, small cousin who licks the butter dish once the stick is gone. This, after she and her brothers have slathered it on the four or five slices of bread they’ve eaten with their supper. When Madeleine L’Engle lived with her parents in a chateau near Chamonix, France, her mother gave her the same sandwich every day before she escaped to explore: a generous pat of butter and dark chocolate on a portion of baguette. There’s a sandwich you can get in most French bakeries that’s just a bit of jambon de Paris and a thick layer of butter. No mustard, no mayonnaise, no nothing. Just butter. Butter, butter, butter.
Thankfully, the American public has been losing its fear of saturated fats (it took a few scientific studies) and at least some of us are starting to embrace that old farm-to-table mentality where we eat well and fatty and rich, as long as the ingredients are simple and haven’t been through or come from a chemistry lab. And let me tell you, to me, that means butter. Lots and lots of it. No longer am I afraid to shout its praises from the rooftops.
Here’s the thing, babes: grass-fed butter (okay, it’s important that you get grass-fed, end of discussion) is actually really good for you, and not only is it good for you, it just tastes really good. There is not a dish in the world that can’t be made better by adding more butter. Including butter.
If I exaggerate, it’s only for your own good. Making a soup or stew? Add butter. Cooking steak? Finish it with butter. Sauce? Butter. Pasta? Butter. Et cetera, ad infinitum.
When Jens and I made our Bastille Day dinner last summer, there was a moment when he was stirring the divine coq au vin and we both looked at each other for a second before he picked up the butter dish, scooped up a couple of tablespoons, and dropped them in the pot. The recipe hadn’t called for it. Our appetites, our enjoyment, and our party called for it. Our ever-expanding smiles and ever-softening midsections demanded it. Butter! More butter! All the time!
Don’t even get me started on cream.
To me, Julie Delpy in Before Sunset is the epitome of the French woman. Sure, you have your cutesy Amelies and your perfect Cocos, but I don’t think anyone quite captures it like Delpy. She’s got that perfect black top, simple with just the smallest sexy details like the sheer fabric and the open back. A clean-cut, but elegant crocheted jacket. Jeans. Her hair is absolutely divine, isn’t it? So messy, like it’s the last thing she’s thinking of. My mother and I so often joked about (and admired) the women on the street in Marseille or Aix who were dressed to the nines, down to their bag and shoes, but with bed hair. Simple make-up, if any. It’s a look you can grow into and keep forever.
Go through every email and delete every occurrence of the word “just”. Rework any statements that I’ve put into question form out of deference or timidity. Dress like a professional every single day, no matter how much I want to wear a t-shirt. Sit tall and speak up. Say good morning. Look superiors in the eye. Stop complaining around the water cooler. Refuse to use “Hi, I’m a dumb female who needs a strong man to explain how to do basic things”, or what has previously been known as “CHARM”, to advance my career. Instead, observe the people I admire most, both male and female, and work as hard or harder than them.