Monday, August 10, 2009

J & J

For someone who loves to cook and loves to Blog, Julie and Julia is the perfect movie. We saw it last night and I identified with so many scenes and emotions.

The story involves a frustrated young writer who decides to start a Blog to chronicle her way through cooking every one of the 524 recipes in Julia Child’s famous book over the course of one year.

My first reactions included: The ingredients for all those recipes would cost a fortune. A year of that much butter would have to be balanced by many additional gym hours. Who really wants to cook that much gourmet food every day?

But it’s not a movie about practicality, so the story goes on and Julie’s Blog debuts as she begins to work her way through the cook book. She mentions that initial period of 0 comments every day that every Blogger experiences. I just looked back to see much of my first year of Blogging where it appeared I was talking to myself.

Then her Blog takes off as she is gradually discovered by other cooking afficionados. That’s the point at which the narcissism creeps in as you realize you actually have fans. It compels you to want to write something regularly (every day) so they will have something to react to. It sometimes makes you too tired to notice your husband, who is trying to understand this thing that now consumes his wife’s attention. It puts a fear in your boss, friends, and family that you will write something about them that they don’t want to read. I know all too well about all those things that are the natural consequences of the Blogging phenomenon.

The story of Julia’s odyssey to become a great cook is cleverly woven into Julie’s story. When Julia Child entered the cooking scene, it was a man’s world. Even though she was a big woman, there was a certain glass ceiling that had to be broken. She was unrelenting in her pursuit of cooking legitimacy.

As dated as many of the recipes are (who eats aspic these days?), recipes such a boeff bourgignon are timeless. However, for most of us the days of excessive butter and heavy cream are in the past. Cooking has evolved considerably in the last few decades.

What cook couldn’t identify with the failures in the movie? The burned boeff bourgignon? The stuffed chicken that falls on the floor? I remembered similar meltdowns over too much salt, forgetting an ingredient, waffles that stuck, you name it. Part of cooking is being willing to take chances and accepting the fact that sometimes you screw up. The trick is to always have a contingency plan or an escape route.

By the end of the movie Julie’s Blog had quite a following and she had book offers. However, it would appear that she never got Julia’s blessing of her accomplishment. That would have been the happiest ending that we all were waiting for.

Meanwhile, most of us aspiring cooks who also Blog will continue cranking out tales of our kitchen escapades from time to time. But for me 524 major recipes in 365 days will never happen!


Blogger Cyndy said...

It seems like everybody saw this movie yesterday. Great review!

2:26 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Cyndy -- I'm not much of a movie person, but this one really resonated with me! And yes, a lot of people seem to have seen it yesterday.

2:51 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

I cannot wait to see this movie! It's up toward the top of my list for so many reasons, but I'm right there with you. 524 recipes in 365 days? Not going to happen.

6:04 AM  
Blogger LiLu said...

YES! I'm so glad to hear you liked it... I've found Amy Adams can be a bit annoying sometimes (Enchanted, I'm looking at you) but I'll see almost anything for Meryl.

7:09 AM  
Blogger bulletholes said...

Meat Gellee's!
You know the whole "Spam" culture is based on Aspic!
I used to love making the Pate' en Croutes, and filling them with aspic, letting 'em cool and then that first look at what you created at the first slice!
Good stuff!
Hi barbie!

11:46 AM  
Blogger mouse (aka kimy) said...

my bookgroup just wrapped up last night it's year of reading books about food. we will top the year off next week with a group outing to see julie and julia! can't wait.

my ma saw the movie yesterday (at your wonderful cinema arts theater) she said the 10 am show was packed and had a hard time finding a seat!


merle as julia....I can't wait!!

1:14 PM  

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