Julia Turshen and Dr. Jessica B. Harris

Girl Crushes

I’ve always had girl crushes.

They began in grade 4 with Patricia Zentilli, a grade 6 golden-haired actress. I has just been given the role of a maid in our school’s production of The Wizard of Oz. I shook a feather duster and swung a broom. But Patricia, she played Dorothy. Patricia sang. She danced. She stole the show. I wanted to be Patricia, to have a name like Zentilli. To have parents from Chile, who drove an orange VW van, with stickers on the back from all the places they had visited. This kind of crush – a girl crush – is not about love. It’s about admiration. Inspiration. The promise of what life could be.

Women tend to be either inspired or intimidated by other women. I fall into camp one. Perhaps that’s why I’ve found a career in writing and podcasting; as I delve into the lives of those I’m inspired by, their story becomes a story for me to celebrate as well. When I feel myself veering into camp two, I take a nap, or have a snack. Intimidation (or jealousy, or comparison) manifests in me as hunger, exhaustion or as Emily once said in a Being Boss podcast episode, as procrastination. Girl, just get on with what you’re supposed to be doing!

Last weekend I was in NYC for the annual Cherry Bombe Jubilee. The Jubilee is a festival where women in the food world gather for panel discussions, interviews, incredible food and great conversations. I go for podcast inspiration. Usually a year’s worth. After lunch my girl crush Julia Turshen (whom I wrote about in this post) interviewed Dr. Jessica B. Harris, acclaimed cookbook author, culinary historian and professor. Julia shared with the audience what a thrill it was for her to interview Dr. Harris, but the interview was calm, warm and incredibly insightful. Afterwards, I felt that familiar childlike feeling I’d experience when in the proximity of a someone I’m inspired by – equal parts exhilaration and nervousness. Shy yet excited. The feelings pulled together creating momentum, and before I knew it, I was marching over to Julia Turshen. I tried to channel her calm, her warmth. I introduced myself. I complimented her on the interview. I told her about my podcast. Would she like to be a guest? She said yes.

Since grade 4 I’ve learned that girl crushes are less about the promise of what life could be, and more about the celebration of each other. (With a sprinkling of inspiration thrown in for good measure).

PS – In the rush of crushes and the swirl of travel, I forgot to think about Easter. It’s one of my favourite food weekends of the year; starting fresh, celebration, family time and bright flavours. I will be making Anna Del Conte’s risotto with lemon to go alongside a roast leg of lamb. I like to add some peas to the dish, and finish it with a tangle of pea shoots. Tangy lemon and a pop of sweet peas, in the words of Julia Turshen, ‘help us stretch toward the light after a long winter.’ I’m reaching tall just thinking about it.

Julia Turshen with Dr. Jessica B. Harris

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