Saturday, November 29, 2008

"Julie and Julia" by Julie Powell

First of all, sorry about the formatting on that previous post. You can tell I just push buttons and hope it all works out! Now, I found this book on the $4.99 shelf at Borders and almost squealed out loud. I had been trying to request it from my library for ages, and either it was a user problem or they indeed did not carry it. Let me just start out by saying that I just love Julia Child, in every way. I've read books about her (I loved "My Life in France") and it will forever boggle my mind that until she moved to France at the age of 37, she didn't even know what a shallot was. And, at the stage in life when some people write off dreams and passions because it is too much trouble, Julia found hers and grabbed it with both hands. AND became the best in the business. Wow. Julia Child rocks.

I had heard about Julie Powell and her project to cook all of Julia's recipes in the "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" cookbook. But when I started reading the book, my first thought was "Huh! This could have been me! Why didn't I think of it? Why can't I have a book and a movie?" Indeed, a handful of years back, my husband complained about the lack of variety in my cooking. At first I got real pissed, then I decided to show him. For about a year, I never cooked the same dish twice (unless he asked nicely for a repeat). And while my goals were not as lofty has hers, I could really empathize with the turmoil that Julie experienced in completing her project...failed sauces, flour everywhere, dismembering bodies of animals that you would eventually eat, cussing, drinking, searching all over town for some elusive ingredient, you name it. This is a reality show on paper, and I had a ball reading it. I loved the vulgar language, the fits she threw, her eccentric friends, and her drive to see her project through to the last recipe. It seemed pretty real to me. At the end of the book, however, upon J.C.'s death, the tone of the books loses it manic humor and becomes reflective on why Julie took on such a wacky project and the impact that Julia Child had on her life. It was a nice way to wrap up the story.
The reviews on this book were extreme. Some loved the book and some thought it was full of narcissism and disrespect to one of the world's greatest chefs. I belong to former contingent. I am glad I was able to read the book before the movie comes out. (I have a hangup about seeing the movie first. It usually ruins it for me.) But with Amy Adams as Julie and Meryl Streep as Julia, it has promise.


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Unknown said...

Most of my book club loved this book. I didn't. But I do love Julia Child. I once saw her say "You can use margerine instead of butter, but you'll be sorry." That's become sort of a life motto for me since.