And, I'll admit it, I also subscribe to Martha Stewart Living.
Julia Child was a practical and romantic chef. She loved cooking, hated fuss, and enjoyed food. All that being said, she understood tradition, and how tradition was a part of many of the foods she loved. She didn't invent techniques but documented them. She was also a meticulous researcher, she found pleasure explaining seemingly complicated techniques.
And she was certainly NOT a perfectionist.
My favorite Julia Child quote? "One of the secrets of cooking is to learn to correct something if you can, and bear with it if you cannot."
Martha, on the other hand, is first and foremost a perfectionist.
Her butter comes directly from the cow while mine comes from the grocery store. She practically grows her own wheat to make flour for her pastry; I am happy to buy it already made. She grows pumpkins for her pumpkin pie, I get mine from a local farmer (but am not adverse to the canned variety when fresh pumpkins are not available).
But she collects really cool stuff, surrounds herself with great photographers, and is an inspiration to us normal folk. Just look at this photo of dessert servers from the November issue of Martha Stewart Living magazine...
It called to me, made me want to go out and start collecting them. Or at least buy a few so I could serve sample cake to prospective brides in style.
Of course, Martha would have me making the cake with fresh butter, imported vanilla, and farm eggs. I could probably buy the flour, but only from a specialty store, along with some natural fine sugar and whatever other exotic ingredients she'd come up with for an acceptable cake.
So I get ideas from her and do the best I can. Then, as Julia says, I "bear with it."
I do have some fresh shaved coconut...