Standing Outside the Fire

Garth Brooks sings:

Standing outside the fire…Standing outside the fire….Life is not tried…It is merely survived…if you’re standing outside the fire…


Almost four decades before Garth recorded the song, Julia knew how to withstand heat. Before walking into a kitchen full of men, the Parisian housewife found the craft of hat making didn’t suit her. She loved hats. She didn’t enjoy sewing them.

Julia loved food.

She set down needle and thread, picked up a chef’s knife, and chopped onions until the smell drove her husband from their kitchen. The heat was high during Julia’s first day at the renowned Cordon Bleu cooking school. The novice found she didn’t even know the proper way to hold a knife. When she returned for her second day, she out-chopped every male chef in the galley.

Julia Child’s walk into the ring began with a search for an English language, French cuisine cookbook. When she couldn’t find one, she created her own recipe. Once decided, she never let heat drive her from her passion.


Julia became an inspiration for Julie to jump into the flames. By the time she took her leap into faith, Garth’s Standing Outside the Fire was considered an oldie.

Searching for challenge and meaning, Julie decided to cook her way through Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking while blogging about her adventures. She ruined boeuf bourguignon, reluctantly dropped live lobsters into boiling water and de-boned a duck. Julie shared her triumphs and failures online with an audience that cheered and engaged with her efforts.


Restless and unsatisfied, Julia and Julie chose trying over surviving.

What do you think about that?

Where might courage over comfort take you?


If you haven’t seen Julie & Julia, here’s the trailer.