Friday, November 16, 2007


Ever since I was a kid - maybe around twelve or thirteen - I've had a little bit of an obsession with the glamorous and elite world of international super spies, jewel and art thieves, crazy computer hackers, that sort of thing. A world full of uber-smart, casually unethical and ridiculously beautiful people that does not exist, but that fuels the plots for countless movies, TV shows and books.

At one point during college, I seriously considered trying to work for the NSA - I mean, I do have a degree in international relations and I did grow up 20 minutes from the agency and I do know tons of people who have worked there (they actually have an internship program with my high school -it's that close). A few years later, I thought about applying, just to see if I could put my qualitative research analysis skills to use doing something other than assessing consumers' needs for new and improved toothpaste or whatever. In the end, of course, I did not apply, as I realized that I don't actually want a life of drama and intrigue. I just want to wish I had that life.

Which is exactly why, right now, I have a mind-blowing crush on Chuck Bartowski (seriously, I think he might be my new Jim Halpert) and why I spent last night reading a book about a boarding school that secretly trains super smart girls to be spies for the CIA. (Also, I really love young adult books. In part because I like to finish books in one sitting.)

And here's how this is about food: Last night, I'm reading this book (it's called Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy) and thinking, "If only I could be both a chef AND a spy."

Seriously. Of course I don't really want to be either, and I also don't have nearly the right skills or talent to be either, but that didn't stop my visions of working in the kitchen at an American embassy someplace in eastern Europe - Prague, maybe - creating amazing food while I also somehow protect state secrets. Glamorous, right?

So I'm thinking this, then I come to a part in the book in which the heroine is running through the Museum of American History at the Smithsonian (a museum I've been to a million times). In an offhand comment she says she's in a hurry, so she won't have time to look at Julia Child's kitchen - her real kitchen from her show, which has been moved to the Smithsonian - but that it's OK because the kitchen exhibit doesn't even mention that Julia used to pass along coded messages in the recipes she created on TV.

I know, I know, it's fiction. But it could've happened. I mean, Julia Child was in the military before she was a famous chef. So I'm going to choose to believe that not only was she a revolutionary cook, she was also an international super spy.

Because I am 13.

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