Julie Anne learning from her great model mentor, Marie Helvin
I spent labor day at a lovely, kicked- back barbecue in Malibu with seductive spicy sausages, and lively conversation. The home was impeccably decorated. All white, zebra rug, and divine art. It sat atop a hill giving me the illusion that I was floating on a cloud overlooking a magnificent view of the Pacific ocean through an entire wall of glass. It belongs to a beguiling Englishman I’d only recently met, yet we probably crossed paths many times through the years.
The view with “Get Off of My Cloud” playing in my mind
I jokingly asked “do you think you would notice if I just stayed for good?” He graciously offered me his guest apartment downstairs, “stay for as long as you like.” I stood there, in a world of my own on top of that cloud, seriously contemplating how nice it would be to escape the clamour of the city, while trying to work out in my mind how I might transport Daisy (who suffers from car sickness) along the miles of winding roads.
What an enchanting afternoon. A friendly couple, he’s Australian and she’s Iranian, discussed food with me passionately for hours, the fascinating English gent who has documented his travel on foot across America, Australia, and Europe “reliant on the kindness of strangers” for the discovery channel, the gorgeous and intriguingly mysterious young former child star that now holds the key to Hollywood’s most sought after private club, the West Wing actress with her photographer boyfriend in tow, and of course our wildly amusing host who laid on a spread of grilled chicken, corn, various sausages, salmon, fish burgers, and salad followed by a massive bowl of fresh strawberries for dessert.
As the day progressed my illustrious new landlord proudly showed me the picture of an enormous rattle snake he’d killed on the grounds with a spade earlier in the week, and the bubble burst. After having been bitten in Zanzibar, I’ve had my fill of vipers! “Thank you very much, but no thanks. I belong in the city” came reality with a loud thud.
Labor Day barbecue
Lunch was served on a balcony the same level as my short-lived apartment in paradise, with the same mesmerizing view as the living room’s. I sat, stuffing my face full of a green salad with a wonderful balsamic-fig dressing, longingly eyeballing the perfectly grilled sausage on the plate of the gentleman sitting to my left when our host said “you know, Julie Anne, you remind me of my great friend Marie Helvin, do you know her? You have an air about you very similar to hers.” Then he sheepishly began to retract his comment with “no, I suppose Marie and Jerry were before your day”, tiptoeing around that absurd hang up people harbor about age. I’m proud of my years, I earned every one of them!
The casual glamour of Marie Helvin
“I adore Marie, she styled one of my first modeling jobs in London” I excitedly chimed in. “Marie and Jerry are not much older, they just started modeling much younger than I did, and to much greater success.” I was immensely flattered, but then a tinge of sadness set in as I realized I’d lost touch with Marie. “I haven’t seen her in years, although I did bump into Jerry at a party in London last summer.”
With Jerry Hall at her opening night of Bus Stop in London’s West End
Nostalgic fool that I am, there I was digging through old photos again as soon as I arrived home. These string beans reminded me of how thin I was back then. The perfect end of summer taste of casual glamour.
Roasted Green & Wax Beans
- 1/2 pound green beans, trimmed
- 1/2 pound wax beans, trimmed
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, freshly grated
1). Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
2). Toss the beans with the olive oil in a large bowl. Spread the beans evenly on a sheet pan and season with salt and pepper.
3). Roast for 20 minutes, or until slightly caramelized (beginning to brown).
Serving Suggestions:Great as a side dish with any main course (spicy grilled sausages included).
Variation: These also make a lovely salad at room temperature tossed with thinly sliced pecorino cheese and toasted chopped hazelnuts in a seasoned hazelnut oil. A splash of that balsamic with fig wouldn’t go amiss either.