Artist, writer, cook and photographer Julia Sherman, Founder of Salad for President.
— Our Collection Over the Rainbow is a celebration of color and optimism, in response to the pandemic, and we feel your food: a celebration of colors and texture, resonated with this feeling. How has food contributed to your mental wellbeing during this time?
I feel so grateful that even though cooking has become my work, it still remains my deepest source for ‘calm’. When I am cooking, I am only thinking about cooking, and this is a true gift in a time when I am otherwise staving off panic about the state of the world!
— Your cookbook and recipes evoke a certain brightness at a time when it feels heavy, have you been drawn to any new processes, ingredients, or techniques in your cooking recently?
I am always looking for new ideas in the kitchen, especially now that I am cooking for my two kids (in my experience, kids can sniff out leftovers from a mile away). I am always trying to think of items from the pantry that I can prepare ahead of time and use to easily perk up a basic preparation of vegetables or a salad: pickled things, spice blends, sauces. I am also always planting new things in the garden, and then trying to find ways to make use of the results. It’s a full time job!
— Without being able to comfortably host a dinner at full capacity right now, have you introduced any new rituals into your everyday life, with your family, that surround food and eating?
We used to have huge dinner parties, regularly feeding 20-30 friends at a time. I love that energy, the buzz of moving around the room playing hostess. I could do that every night, but my husband really prefers intimate meals with one other couple, so we actually have a chance to sustain meaningful conversation. The pandemic forced me to meet him at that place, and it has been really lovely.
— We admire the way you put process ahead of product in terms of food, does this approach seep into other aspects of your life too?
I think remaining connected to process is really a way of life. I try and keep that top of mind in everything I do, from mothering (staying present for the boring and the challenging moments as much as the joyous ones), to my work (taking on projects that foster some kind of personal growth along the way, instead of muscling through tasks so I can check them off the list).
— There are lots of conversations about motherhood being depleting, which has its place, but we’re curious if your experience with motherhood has invigorated your professional practice in any way?
Oh yes. My biggest fear in becoming a mother was that it would zap all my creativity from my bones the moment the baby was born. I have found the opposite. While I have had to come to terms with the fact that I simply do not have the time to do everything I once did, when it comes to my own personal and professional advancement, I feel more motivated and excited about my creative practice than ever before. My kids force me to slow down and not to sweat the small stuff (since I don’t have the time or energy for it anyway). I think ultimately, this makes space for creative thought.
— How did you feel at the Anaak shoot? Did the clothes inspire any new feelings or way of being for you?
I can never quite figure out what my California style is. I love layers, sweaters, warm clothing and textures. I end up wearing exercise clothes most of the time, which makes me feel like a totally different person! These dresses felt like the perfect solution: light and comfortable, but put together at the same time.