Tuesday 16 August 2011

Julie & Julia

Julie & Julia:  365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1Tiny Apartment Kitchen is the story of a New York City woman who is stuck in a depressing job dealing with insurance settlements from 9/11 victims and their families.  In an attempt to distract herself from her tedious job, she develops a passion for cooking.  She finds her mother's old cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking and decides to cook all 524 of Julia Child's recipes in the space of one year.  A fledgeling writer, her husband gives her the idea to blog about her cooking project and she takes him up on the idea.  Although Julie's blog starts at a slow boil --  she receives criticism from her mother and others -- it picks up steam and before she knows it, the blog is sizzling fueled by a large following.  Julie describes the joy she feels when making Julia's "Mousse au Chocolat" or the horror she endures when trying to debone a duck for "Duck a l'Orange" or split a lobster in two with a knife for "L'Homard a l'Americaine".

Julie is so real and genuine that she is able to connect easily with her readers.  People enjoy hearing about the cooking successes and mishaps (especially the latter) of an average American woman.  Julie & Julie (the paperback edition was published as Julie & Julia:  A Year of Cooking Dangerously) is a great book for both cooks and writers.  It is a great book for someone with an unrealized dream.  It's exciting to see Julie undertake this project the way a runner might attack a marathon.  Unfortunately the real Julia Child heard about the Julie/Julia project and thumbed her nose at it, thinking that it was simply a stunt.  But I see it as something positive and uplifting at a time when the average New Yorker needed inspiration.

Julie & Julia was published in 2005 and appeared on the big screen in 2009, starring Amy Adams and Meryl Streep.  It is interesting to see the movie jump from 1950 Paris to 2002 New York and back again.  We see Julia Child's early days at the Cordon Bleu cooking school where she first develops her love for haute cuisine.  Then we see Julie Powell in her tiny kitchen in Manhattan also developping a passion for fine food.  Both the book and the movie are excellent.

Bon Appetit!

Photo courtesy www.joblo.com

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