If You Ask Me

“Zoey’s Perfect Wedding”

TheaterWorks Hartford

By Tom Holehan
Connecticut Critics Circle

This “Wedding” Far From Perfect

Like being stuck at an endless wedding reception where you don’t know many people, the DJ plays bad music and the rubber chicken is served late and cold, “Zoey’s Perfect Wedding” is not an event to savor. The comedy by Matthew López is currently onstage at TheaterWorks in Hartford and, well, you’ve been warned.

Mr. López drew praise and a Tony Award for his most recent play, “The Inheritance”.  It presumably has some merit even though I read as many mixed reviews as positive and its Broadway run was relatively brief.  I am more familiar with López’s work at Connecticut theatres where he has been embraced by both Hartford Stage and TheaterWorks over the last few years  Those plays, “Reverberation”, “Somewhere” and “The Legend of Georgia McBride”, were almost all as mediocre as “Zoey” which leads me to seriously question as to why this writer keeps getting produced so much?

Set in the Downtown Brooklyn Marriott hotel, “Zoey’s Perfect Wedding” covers one long evening (90 minutes, no intermission) as friends of the bride drink, bitch and moan about their lives.  There’s a married couple, Charlie (Daniel José Molina) with Rachel (Blaire Lewin) who is none too pleased that Zoey failed to select her as maid of honor.  Their gay friend, Sammy (Hunter Ryan Herdlicka), is in a committed relationship but clearly has a wandering eye.  As the trio dis the tackiness of the wedding and complain about their table position at the far outer edges, we learn about their turbulent relationships, fears and disappointments.  When Rachel quickly gets rip-roaring drunk with Sammy, she takes the mic and gives one of the very worst wedding toasts ever. Things quickly fall apart. As does the play.

What’s most annoying about “Zoey’s Perfect Wedding” are characters who resist empathy and include a smart-ass DJ (Esteban Carmona), a perky maid of honor (Hallie Eliza Friedman) and the miserable bride herself (Rachel B. Joyce).

Late in the evening, López seems to be trying to say something profound about marriage and relationships, but at this point in the game it has just been relentless arguments and insult jokes that fall flat.

It’s hard to pinpoint if the acting is really without distinction or are the actors just the unlucky victims of bad writing?  Only Mr. Molina seems authentic here with a low key performance anchored in pain. Lewin’s long, drunken monologue is funny and squirm-inducing, but otherwise her role is all over the map as is her sobriety which seems to come and go. Both Herdlicka and Carmona have clarity and volume issues throughout the play, Joyce is all grimaces and big faces a trait shared, unfortunately, by Friedman.

There is little evidence here of director Rob Ruggiero’s customary polish or pacing, but one bright spot is scenic and lighting designer Brian Sidney Bembridge’s spot-on recreation of a Marriott wedding hall.  The lighting fixtures, alone, are beyond perfect.  But you don’t leave humming the sets, as they say, and, all told, this is not a wedding to celebrate.

“Zoey’s Perfect Wedding” continues at TheaterWorks in Hartford through June 5th. For further information, call the box office at: 860-527-7838 or visit: www.theaterworkshartford.org.

Tom Holehan is one of the founders of the Connecticut Critics Circle, a frequent contributor to WPKN Radio’s “State of the Arts” program and the Stratford Crier and Artistic Director of Stratford’s Square One Theatre Company. He welcomes comments at: tholehan@yahoo.com. His reviews and other theatre information can be found on the Connecticut Critics Circle website: www.ctcritics.org.

Channel Inner Peace

Chamber Music Concert

Free and Open To Public

A free chamber music concert by Cameron Chase and David Bernat who will perform a violin and viola duet will take place on Tuesday, May 10th in the Stratford Library Lovell Room.

For those who like classical music it will be a treat, and for those who don’t or don’t know much about small chamber music this will be a positive learning experience.

They will play works by Bach, Mozart, Martinu, and Handel/Halverson.

Cameron Chase (a Stratford resident) and David Bernat are Juilliard School of Music students.  Cameron is a 3rd year student, and David is a graduate student in performance.

If You Ask Me

“Decades in Concert: Spirit of the Sixties”

Downtown Cabaret Theatre

By Tom Holehan
Connecticut Critics Circle

Decades in Concert”, Nostalgia at DCT

Like visiting with an old friend after far too long a break, a return to Bridgeport’s Downtown Cabaret Theatre conjured up fond memories as my husband and I took our table upstairs, set out the finest in charcuterie boards, poured a glass of wine and drank in the nostalgia offered by the venerable music venue.  Currently onstage is “Decades in Concert: Spirit of the Sixties” and I can guarantee you will sing-along.

Modeled very much after the tried and true jukebox musical as well as all those “Decades Musicals” made famous at the Cabaret years ago, “Decades in Concert” continues their long tradition of presenting entertaining journeys back in time and rediscovering the great music of a particular period.

The current production doesn’t attempt to improve on something that obviously ain’t broke.  Therefore, we have a quartet of four top singers, who obviously enjoy each other’s company (they were all featured in the Cabaret’s previous Seventies revue), and for the next two hours or so proceed to sing their hearts out.

Everton George, Mikayla Petrilla, Robert Peterpaul and Saige Bryan are the talented quartet put through their paces with dozens of songs and almost as many costume and wig changes while singing such classics as “Turn, Turn, Turn”, “Bad Moon Rising”, “The Times They Are a-Changin’”, “You’ll Never Walk Alone”, “Son of a Preacher Man”, “I’m Black and I’m Proud”, “These Boots Are Made for Walking”, “Satisfaction” and “Piece of My Heart”.

The best numbers, however, are the medleys that end each act.  A Motown songbook concludes the exuberant first act and a glorious medley of Beatles music is the perfect curtain for act two.  I mean, honestly, is there anyone who DOESN’T love the Beatles??

In all, the singers work better together than as soloists, but there were no complaints among the joyful, on-their-feet crowd I sat with last weekend.  Multi-media projections from the period recycle clips you’ve no doubt seen many, many times before, but it certainly sets the mood and, with the volume cranked up easily to 11, you won’t miss much.

Axel Hammerman’s endlessly busy lighting and Lesley Neilson-Bowman’s period perfect costuming also keep you firmly in the 1960s.

No, nothing revolutionary or original here since the Cabaret obviously knows their audience.  This is familiar comfort food as theatre and the wine and cheese, plus some great music, all went down very easily.

“Decades in Concert: Spirit of the Sixties” continues at the Downtown Cabaret Theatre through May 15th. For further information, call the box office at: 203-576-1636 or visit: www.mycabaret.org

Tom Holehan is one of the founders of the Connecticut Critics Circle, a frequent contributor to WPKN Radio’s “State of the Arts” program and the Stratford Crier and Artistic Director of Stratford’s Square ne Theatre Company. He welcomes comments at: tholehan@yahoo.com. His reviews and other theatre information can be found on the Connecticut Critics Circle website: www.ctcritics.org.


Christos Anesti (Χριστός Ανέστη) – Greeks greet each other with this starting after midnight on Easter Sunday.

This phrase means, “Christ is Risen

Orthodox Easter
Sunday, April 24th

Orthodox Easter is celebrated on the Sunday after the first full moon after Passover (between April 4th and May 8th.) For millions of people around the world, Easter this year falls on Sunday, April 24th.

Orthodox Christians celebrate Easter later than most in the western world. Because they use a different calendar to work out what day Easter should fall on, Orthodox churches in some countries including Greece, Cyprus and Romania base their Easter date on the Julian calendar.

The Julian Calendar was designed by Julius Caesar in 45 BC – basing a year on the time it takes the Sun to go around the Earth. The Gregorian Calendar was created by Pope Gregory in 1582 to fix some of the glitches in the Julian Calendar as astronomy became more accurate.

In eastern Orthodox Christianity, the preparations begin with Great Lent, 40 days of reflection and fasting, which starts on Clean Monday and ends on Lazarus Saturday. (Monday, March 7th, and ends on Saturday, April 23rd)
Clean Monday refers to believers being cleaned of their sins during Lent. Lazarus Saturday falls eight days before Easter Sunday and signifies the end of Great Lent, although the fasting continues into Holy Week.

Next comes Palm Sunday, one week before Easter, remembering the entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem, followed by Holy Week, which ends on Easter Sunday.

Also in the eastern Orthodox Church, Easter must happen after the Jewish festival of Passover – as in the Easter story, Jesus celebrates Passover before his death.

Going to church is obviously an important part of the celebrations and important services start from Good Friday. The most important prayers are in the early hours of Easter Sunday when celebrations begin, church bells ring and fireworks and crackers go off to mark Christ’s resurrection.

After the fasting of Lent, traditions often revolve around food.

In Greece, Orthodox Christians traditionally eat roasted lamb on a barbecue spit and Tsoureki, a sweet Easter bread.

GETTY IMAGES Tsoureki Greek Bread For Greek Easter

They also break their fast with a traditional soup called Magiritsa, which is made of lamb, rice and dill before the main feasting begins on Sunday.
Serbian Orthodox families traditionally enjoy appetizers of smoked meats and cheeses, boiled eggs and red wine. The Easter meal consists of chicken noodle or lamb and vegetable soup followed by spit-roasted lamb.

GETTY IMAGES Magiritsa Easter soup
In Russia Orthodox Christians break their fast with a traditional Paskha Easter cake.
As in the western Church, eggs are a symbol of Easter and of new life. At Easter, eggs are dyed red to represent the blood of Jesus that was shed on the cross for the redemption of all men.

GETTY IMAGES A traditional Paskha cake

If You Ask Me

“Lost in Yonkers”

Hartford Stage

By Tom Holehan
Connecticut Critics Circle

Simon Revival Is a Hit in Hartford

After a decidedly uneven season thus far, Hartford Stage has suddenly stuck gold with an immensely satisfying revival of Neil Simon’s “Lost in Yonkers”. The icing on the cake here is that the production is anchored by a star, Marsha Mason, taking on a crucial role. Mr. Simon would be proud.

Unlike many of Simon’s plays these days (the current Broadway revival of “Plaza Suite” comes to mind), “Lost in Yonkers” has not dated at all. In fact, the Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize winner seems more relevant than ever in these trying times. Set in 1942, two teenage brothers (Gabriel Amoroso, Hayden Bercy) are sent to live with their stern grandmother (Ms. Mason) and mentally challenged Aunt Bella (Andrea Syglowski, superb) while their widowed father (Jeff Skowron) sets out across the country to work off a debt. Grandma Kurnitz, who has run the candy store below her apartment for years, lost two children early on which has made her unloving and a strict disciplinarian to her remaining four children, all now emotionally damaged adults.

All the acting here is first-rate beginning with Mason who conveys years of pain and bitterness with a steely look or a directed head turn, acting at its best and most effective. Syglowski, in the key role of Bella, never hits a false note and her triumphant challenge to her mother late in the play is delivered with just the right amount of fear, desperation and grit.

The able Mr. Skowron has the job of delivering the lion’s share of exposition at the opening making sure that Grandma is a fierce legend before she even steps on stage. Ne’er-do-well Uncle Louie (Michael Nathanson channeling movie gangsters of the period) is terrific and, in a small, mostly one-joke role, Liba Vaynberg registers as his lonely sister whose vocal oddities garner big laughs.

Amoroso and Bercy, who really do hold their own in a company of polished adult actors, could slow down their delivery for clarity and learn to hold for laughs, but they are still a charming duo who also benefit from actually looking like brothers.

The homey apartment setting by designer Lauren Helpern is all wallpaper, chintz and doilies with the bonus addition of a fantastic art deco neon sign hanging over the set advertising Grandma’s candy store below. An-Lin Dauber’s costumes are right on-target as is Aja M. Jackson’s warm lighting design.

Beautifully co-directed by Ms. Mason and Rachel Alderman, this is one of Simon’s best plays. Sentimental but not maudlin, funny but not just a string of cheap one-liners. What a joy to sit in the theatre and see a well-made play with a gifted company of actors playing characters both humane and witty that one truly cares about. This is the definition of a crowd-pleaser. Go.

“Lost in Yonkers” continues at Hartford Stage through May 1st. For further information, call the box office at: 860-527-5151 or visit: www.hartfordstage.org.

Tom Holehan is one of the founders of the Connecticut Critics Circle, a frequent contributor to WPKN Radio’s “State of the Arts” program and the Stratford Crier and Artistic Director of Stratford’s Square One Theatre Company. He welcomes comments at: tholehan@yahoo.com. His reviews and other theatre information can be found on the Connecticut Critics Circle website: www.ctcritics.org.

Passover, Easter & The Holy Month of Ramadan

In a rare confluence of the Jewish, Christian and Muslim religious calendars, we are heading into a time when all the world’s monotheists are observing major periods of holy time. For Jews, it is the week of Passover; for Christians it’ Easter, and for Muslims, the Holy Month of Ramadan.

This should be a time to be in awe; and to celebrate the many ways that the One God has communicated His love and his messages to humanity

“Next to Normal”

Westport County Playhouse

If You Ask Me

By Tom Holehan
Connecticut Critics Circle

The Pulitzer Prize-winning musical, “Next to Normal”, opens the Westport Country Playhouse’s (WCP) new season on a memorable note. The venue provides a welcome space for this provocative and beautiful family musical drama. Directed and choreographed by Marcos Santana with a lively and blunter tone than previous productions I’ve seen of the show, “Next to Normal” is very much in good hands.

With music by Tom Kitt and book and lyrics by Brian Yorkey, “Next to Normal” is a six-character, small-scale musical that has been embraced by regional theatres across the country where it finds more appropriate venues than the large Broadway house from where it came.

Its challenging story concerns the bi-polar mother of a family that seems to be coming apart at the seams. Diana (Dar Lee See.Ah., a powerhouse) is attempting to hold it all together while imagining conversations with her dead son, Gabe (a dynamic Daniel J. Maldonado). Husband Dan (Wilson Jermaine Heredia) is torn between administering to his wife’s needs and his troubled teenage daughter, Natalie (Ashley LaLonde), who is resentful of both parents.

“Next to Normal” displays great sympathy for all the members of this fractured family which extends to include Natalie’s quirky new boyfriend, Henry (Gian Perez) and two of Diana’s doctors (both played very well in a gender switch of the script by Katie Thompson).

The musical is mostly sung-through with haunting ballads that the accomplished Dar Lee.See Ah., in particular, spins as true storytelling magic. As a prime example, her rendition of the musical’s most poetic song, “I Miss the Mountains”, is heartrendingly moving. The creators don’t have easy answers to the issues facing this family and don’t pretend that it will all work out in the end either. But, it’s the strength of “Next to Normal” that is seems so human and humane every step of the way.

At WCP, the main quartet of singers is uniformly excellent but often find themselves trying to out-shout each other over a very loud orchestra. And, it did bother me a tad that, even though all immensely talented, the children seems to be a decade too old and the parents a decade too young.

Some other caveats: while Cory Pattak has contributed a visually impressive lighting design, scenic designer Adam Koch comes up short. Using the entire Playhouse stage, the home setting has two separate staircases to a pair of bedrooms. There are three entrances at the front of the house and a kitchen that attempts to adjust to become a clinic, nightclub and the backstage of a theatre. The non-stop pumping of dry ice onto the stage is another baffling mystery and distraction.

But in the end this is a musical that effortlessly and honestly moves one to tears and, in the hands of this gifted company, is well worth a trip to Westport.

“Next to Normal” continues at the Westport Country Playhouse through April 24th. For further information, call the box office at: 203-227-4177 or visit: www.westportplayhouse.org.

Tom Holehan is one of the founders of the Connecticut Critics Circle, a frequent contributor to WPKN Radio’s “State of the Arts” program and the Stratford Crier and Artistic Director of Stratford’s Square One Theatre Company. He welcomes comments at: tholehan@yahoo.com. His reviews and other theatre information can be found on the Connecticut Critics Circle website: www.ctcritics.org.

Short-Play Festival in Recognition of Autism Awareness Month

Stratford Library
Sunday, April 10th at 2 p.m.
Lovell Room

The Stratford Library will present An Afternoon of Short Original Plays in Recognition of Autism Awareness Month” on Sunday, April 10th at 2 p.m. in the Lovell Room at the Stratford Library, 2203 Main Street. The staged readings of seven short plays offer works that shine the spotlight on adults and children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

The program features original short plays and monologues by two Stratford playwrights: “Helicopter Mom,” “Holy Moly Rat’s Tails,” and “The Human Sandwich,” all by Beatriz Allen, and “Perfect,” “It Doesn’t Count” and “Someone at the Bench,” all by Mark Lambeck. It also includes “Don’t Let Go” by Nancy A. Herman of Milford. Through the eyes of the individual affected by autism or family members of those with the condition, the plays and monologues examine some of the struggles facing those touched by the disorder.

Directors for the festival are: Beatriz Allen and Tom Rushen, both of Stratford, Nancy A. Herman of Milford and Rachel H. Babcock of Branford.  It also features choreography by Megan Bonneau McCool of Stratford. Actors are: Caroline Blake, Jennifer Ju and Richard Warren, all of Milford; Julia Allen of Stratford; Rachel H. Babcock of Branford; Bryn Berg of Westbrook; Kate Buffone of Avon; Betzabeth Castro of Bridgeport; Nick Kaye of Bethel; Fredda Takacs of Trumbull and Thomas Takacs of Fairfield.

Autism or ASD refers to a range of developmental conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication. According to the Centers for Disease Control, autism affects an estimated 1 in 44 children in the US. Autism Awareness Month emphasizes the need for public awareness to promote acceptance, recognize the differences and become inclusive towards individuals with autism. In 2021, the Autism Society of America announced a shift in terminology from Autism Awareness Month to Autism Acceptance Month.

The show is free and open to the public. While reservations are not required, space is limited.  Wearing masks is optional. Doors open at 1:30 p.m.

“Great Movies You Missed”

Overlooked Films and Oscar Nominees

14th Annual Film Festival
Stratford Library
April 18-22nd

The Stratford Library will present its14th annual film festival of little-seen movies, “Great Movies You Missed”, beginning Monday, April 18th through Friday, April 22nd.  The program is a continuation of the library’s specialized film series, which attracts over 1,000 patrons annually.  The series is free and open to the public.

“Great Movies You Missed” will highlight five recent, critically acclaimed films that – for whatever reason – did not reach a wide audience during their general release. The festival, which includes three recent Oscar nominees, will feature film critic Tom Holehan from the Connecticut Critics Circle for commentary prior to the screenings.  The complete schedule for “Great Movies You Missed” is:

April 18th: “Tick, Tick…Boom!”: Pulitzer Prize winner Lin-Manuel Miranda makes his feature directorial debut with this fine adaptation of the autobiographical musical by Jonathan Larson, the late creator of Rent. The film follows Jon (Oscar nominee Andrew Garfield), a young theater composer who’s waiting tables at a New York City diner in 1990 while writing what he hopes will be the next great American musical. With the clock ticking, Jon is at a crossroads and faces the question everyone must reckon with: What are we meant to do with the time we have?  115 minutes, Rated PG-13.

April 19th: “Mass”: Years after an unspeakable tragedy tore their lives apart; two sets of parents (Jason Isaacs and Martha Plimpton, Reed Birney and Ann Dowd) agree to talk privately in an attempt to move forward. In Fran Kranz’ writing and directing debut, he thoughtfully examines their journey of grief, anger and acceptance by coming face-to-face with the ones who have been left behind. The acting is simply extraordinary.  110 minutes, Rated PG-13.

April 20th: “Drive My Car”:  Two years after his wife’s unexpected death, Yusuke, a renowned stage actor and director, receives an offer to direct a production of Uncle Vanya at a theater festival in Hiroshima. There, he meets Misaki, a taciturn young woman assigned to chauffeur him in his beloved red Saab 900. As the production’s premiere approaches, tensions mount amongst the cast and crew, not least between Yusuke and a handsome TV star who shares an unwelcome connection to Yusuke’s late wife. Forced to confront painful truths raised from his past, Yusuke begins — with the help of his driver — to face the mysteries his wife left behind. “Drive My Car” is a haunting road movie traveling a path of love, loss, acceptance and peace. Winner of the Oscar for “Best International Film”.  179 minutes, Rated R.

April 21st: “The Tragedy of Macbeth”:  Joel Coen’s bold and fierce adaptation of Shakespeare’s classic tragedy, a tale of murder, madness, ambition, and wrathful cunning.  A visual tour de force in stunning black and white, the film stars Denzel Washington, in an Oscar-nominated performance, and Frances McDormand as the driven Lady Macbeth.  105 minutes, Rated R.

April 22nd: Passing”: In 1920s New York City, a Black woman finds her world upended when her life becomes intertwined with a former childhood friend who’s passing as white. Debuting director/writer Rebecca adapted Nella Larsen’s classic novel and leads an impressive cast (Ruth Negga and Tessa Thompson) handling thorny themes with impressive dexterity.   98 minutes, Rated PG:13.

All movies will be shown uncut and in widescreen format at 12 noon each day.  The film festival, recommended for adult audiences, will be held in the library’s Lovell Room.

For further information, call the Stratford Library’s Public Relations and Programming Office at 203.385.4162 or check its updated website at: www.stratfordlibrary.org

Photo Caption: “Drive My Car”, winner of this year’s Academy Award as “Best International Film”, will be screened as part of the “Great Movies You Missed” festival at the Stratford Library on April 20th at 12 noon.  For further information: 203.385.4162

Women’s History Month: Julia Child

Culinary Goddess

Source: A Taste Of Home

Famous chef, author, and television personality, Julia Child made French cuisine accessible to American audiences. She was one of the first women to host her own cooking show on television, providing tips and lessons on how to prepare French food simply and easily. “The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking, you’ve got to have a what-the-hell attitude.” Julia Child

For her high school education, Child was sent to the Katharine Branson School for Girls, a preparatory school in Northern California. Here, she attended classes in Latin, French, history, and mathematics to prepare her for college. Child also engaged in a wide range of sporting activities including tennis, swimming, and basketball. Although not very scholastic, she was quite popular at school and was active in a number of school groups. Growing to a height of six feet, two inches, Child was the natural choice to be captain of the school’s basketball team. She was also president of the Vagabonds, a hiking club.

After graduating from Smith College in 1934, Child moved back to California. She returned to Massachusetts in order to take a secretarial course at the Packard Commercial School. After a month of training, Child quit the course because she had found a secretarial job with W. J. Sloane, a home furnishings company, in New York City. She worked for this company until 1939, when she was fired for insubordination over a mix up with a document.

Child wanted to join the military, and applied to join the Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVES) and the Women’s Army Corps (WACs). However, Child was rejected from both organizations because of her height. She was too tall. Wanting to become more involved in the war effort, she moved to Washington, DC in 1942. In August of that year, she become a senior typist with the Research Unit of the Office of War Information. At the close of 1942, Child took up the position of junior research assistant with the Secret Intelligence Branch of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), a forerunner to the CIA. She undertook a variety of positions at the OSS, including clerk at the director’s office and administrative assistant in the Registry of OSS. She also eagerly volunteered to work for OSS overseas. From 1944-1945, she kept intelligence files for the OSS in India. The following year, she worked for the organization in China.

Following the war, she married Paul Child, whom she had met while working for the OSS in India. Paul Child worked for the US Foreign Service. In 1948, the couple was posted to Paris for Paul’s work. It was in Paris, that Child began to take cooking seriously. She enrolled in the famous Le Cordon Bleu cooking school.

During this time, she also met Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle. Together the three women published Mastering the Art of French Cooking in 1961. This book brought French cooking and cookery techniques to the American public. It also launched Child on her cooking career, which lasted for over forty years.

The Childs returned to the United States in the 1960s and settled in Cambridge, Massachusetts. At this time, Child was approached by television executives to host a cooking show, The French Chef, based on her book. The first program was shown on what came to be known as PBS in 1963 and remained on the air for a decade.

It brought Child national and international recognition. She also won a Peabody and Emmy Award for the program. She went on to publish several more cookbooks, including a second volume of Mastering the Art of French Cooking. She also hosted several other television series, including Cooking with Master Chefs and Julia Child & Jacques Pépin Cooking at Home, for which she won a Daytime Emmy Award.

She established organizations to inspire others to share her love of food and to expand people’s awareness of cooking. She co-founded the American Institute of Wine and Food in 1981, and created the Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and Culinary Arts in 1995. For her work, she was awarded honorary doctorate degrees from numerous schools, including Harvard University and Brown University.

Child died on August 13, 2004, having left a legacy of culinary art and education. Her kitchen, made famous by her cooking programs, was donated to the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. By visiting the Smithsonian museum, thousands of people now peek into Child’s kitchen each year. The US Postal Service marked Child’s achievements, when they included her in the 2014 “Celebrity Chefs Forever”

Julia Child was full of wisdom both in and out of the kitchen. Here are some of the best life lessons you can learn from the queen of French cuisine. So grab a stick of butter and put on your pearl necklace. Here are some of my favorite Julia Child quotes.

1. “I was 32 when I started cooking. Up until then, I just ate.”
Julia Child famously did not learn how to cook until her 30s, proving that it is never too late to learn something new. Also, if you just want to eat, that’s OK, too.

2. “A party without cake is just a meeting.”
Truthiness! “If you ever invite us to a party without a cake, consider yourself unfriended. And pie will not do.”

3. “I think every woman should have a blowtorch.”
Her TV show began before the feminist movement, making this quote even more profound. Recommending power tools to housewives in the 1960s? Love it!

4. “People who love to eat are always the best people.”
Have you ever gone to dinner with a person on a diet? Not fun.

5. “It is hard to imagine a civilization without onions.”
According to Child, the flavor of onions blends perfectly into any dish (except dessert). Would civilization turn to chaos without onions? We don’t want to find out.

6. “With enough butter, anything is good.”
Her love of butter went against the mainstream attitude at the time. Most feared that butter would raise their cholesterol. Child was once again ahead of her time. Experts now advise that it is fine in moderation (like pretty much everything!).

7. “Find something you’re passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it.”
Her passion for cooking made her an icon, and it all started as a hobby while she lived in France. She said you can never learn enough about the things you love.

8. “Always remember: If you’re alone in the kitchen and you drop the lamb, you can always just pick it up. Who’s going to know?”
In a world of perfectly polished social media posts, a little imperfection is more than refreshing. She wasn’t afraid of making mistakes and always taught us to learn from them. Could this quote be the source of the “5 second rule” when food falls on the floor?

9. “I enjoy cooking with wine. Sometimes I even put it in the food…”
Feeling intimidated by a recipe? Make like Julia and pour a glass of wine (or two!).

10. “Just speak very loudly and quickly, and state your position with utter conviction, as the French do, and you’ll have a marvelous time!”
In other words, fake it ’til you make it. Doesn’t this make you want to throw on an apron and start ordering people around the kitchen? Add the before-mentioned wine and cake, and this does indeed sound like a marvelous time.