Sunday night, after much begging my husband, we rented Julie & Julia.
It was a movie I wanted to see–and one my husband was a critic of long before he brought it home.
I remember as a child, watching Julia Childs cook on TV.
It was Mom and Me time.
I couldn’t tell you what it was she cooked or did, but I do remember her voice, her accent, how different she looked in the kitchen than my mother.
Of course, I had no idea who the “Julie” was that set out to complete 524 recipes in 365 days.
It wasn’t long into the movie that my memories of Julia Child came flooding back.
Meryl Streep did an amazing job of portraying the role of a beloved woman who probably taught my mom a few things.
In this glimpse of Julia Child, I came to love her.
She was comfortable being 6’2″.
She loved her husband unconditionally.
She tried new things and abandoned them when they didn’t meet her interest.
She was loyal and hospitable.
She was humorous and, of course, she could cook!
Julie Powell, the polar opposite of Julia Child.
She was plain.
She was ordinary.
She was like so many women in America…nearly invisible.
I didn’t envy her job.
I didn’t covet her kitchen.
She wasn’t necessarily anyone I’d invite over.
Then an idea ignited.
I found myself laughing out loud through the movie.
I longed to have a passion that just motivated me, that gave me purpose.
I was in awe of the conviction of Julie Powell…working full time, then coming home to cook–not minute rice, but gourmet French food!
When my husband asked, “why don’t you cook like that?”
There was no hesitation to say, “we don’t shop like that!” and it was true…I can’t imagine a budget where I could burn beef bourguignon and still have the money to go out and buy the ingredients again!
I can’t picture my family sitting through a non-gelling aspect, much less eating it–more than once!
It was truly a dream Julie Powell was living.
Some things spawn the imagination, live like legends, knead our desire to find something we are passionate about…I thought that was really what the movie was for me.
In a moment of utter innocence, I ventured into the world wide web to discover the blog for the movie I so highly praised.
I expected to be even more inspired.
I anticipated another story of the ultimate makeover.
I was ready to learn more about how Julia Child’s transformed Julie Powell.
It was a disappointment.
You can see for yourself here.
In a post on August 27, 2002–shortly into the “project,” Julie Powell writes:
“I got yer quiche here. It’s pretty g*** good. Sort of an odd texture — I think I didn’t let it cook quite long enough. It’s like a savory creme brulee. Odd. Yummy. The green beans taste like green beans, only with butter.
Holy s***. I’m going to gain 50 pounds this year, aren’t I?
You know, I have alway considered Paul Prudhomme a martyr to the culinary arts. Can I ask any less of myself?”
Hmmm…just not the Julie Powell I remember from the movie.
If you’ve seen the movie, you will recall the day she pouched an egg.
It was a humorous moment.
It touched my human appeal.
It happens to be September 1, 2002’s post.
It lacked the same luster in black and white that I found appealing in the movie.
Then as I read further, I wondered, “yikes!
Good thing they edited the blog for the movie”…
“An aside on food insanity. I just read the article in this week’s New York Times Magazine on Raw Foodism, and so this is no amazing observation, but J*** C****!! Two things strike me about this unfathomably ignorant trend. The first is, how male it is somehow, how Fast and Furious. “You’re a vegan. Big f*** deal — I don’t heat my food. Take that!” And wow, the power of self-righteousness. The guy says he’s never felt so good — well, yeah, because nothing feels better than being better than everybody else. And the third thing is — yeah, I decided I had three points — My God, how sad. There is precious little comfort in this world. Why take food, one of the very few simple comforts, and turn it into an obstacle? Why rob yourself of one of the few honest pleasures you’ll ever know?”
Okay, so allow me, for a moment to tell you that I am not “stuffy”…I’ve heard, read, said, written profanity.
I’m rather opinionated myself, but the movie leads me to believe this was about self-discovery.
It was about Julia Child.
It was about paying tribute to someone she admired.
So as I continued to read the blog of Julie and Julia, I realized why Julia Child “hated” her.
Why Julia Child felt this conviction of Julie Powell was a “stunt.”
I still admire that Julie Powell completed her goal.
That she finished what she started.
I am still envious that she found passion.
I am happy that in the end, Julie Powell is a writer.
She got a book deal.
She found herself.
As for me, I’m going to look up to Julia Child’s, who truly, in comparison, was the most hospitable, gracious, wonderful woman that Meryl Streep portrayed her to be.
Perhaps I will be inspired to write my own cookbook.
As a bonus, you can read about the affair Julie Powell had, after the Julie&Julia book was published, in her second book, Cleaving: a Story of Marriage, Meat, and Obsession.
It was published on November 30, 2009.
What are your thoughts?
I received no compensation of any kind for this post. The opinion is my own.