My darling sister-in-law sent me a book that I slurped up like a delicious little Tarte Tatin! I had heard of the Julie/Julia Project...it debuted at he same time my sweet baby arrived on the planet. I think while wheedling away hours nursing on the couch I may have even seen her on Martha. I had a vague notion of what a blog might be...
I knew Julie Powell had written a book about the experience too but if K. hadn't sent it to me I would never have put it on my already bubbling- over book list. I took the tome to DC with me and stayed up way too late enjoying every word.
SPOILER ALERT: At the end of the book a certain pilgrimage is made to the Smithsonian display of Julia's kitchen....so of course, I HAD to see it for my self. It was the last in a long, long. long, list of great exhibits I got to experience this weekend. LOVED IT.
This is Julia Child's real kitchen donated by her to the Smithsonian. I love how authentic and practical it is...the cab was raised for her 6'2 frame, the pegboards had outlines of pot, pans, and gadgets on the wall. The kitchen is not pretty but it reflects the culinary diva that loved it. How is that for design? I personally detest peg board but for Julia, function over form was her idea of the perfect kitchen. And while I was there ogling it, watching early black and white episodes of her cooking show I was so enraptured by her charm, and wit and PLUCK that i got a little teary, frankly.
I remember making fun of her vibrato, "TODAY THE CHICKEN...." when I was a kid. But today, after reading Julie's wild ride of a tribute to her I have more than a soft place in my heart for her, I have a table there, reserved just for her.
So tonight I was moved to make a mesclun salad with roasted beets, peppered cashews, gorgonzola, fresh pear and angel hair cabbage with a blood orange olive oil and balsamic /agave dressing. I also roasted a chicken with parsnips, zucchini, carrots, garlic and baby potoates and then made a chicken and rice soup for tomorrow with the left-over poultry.. I love to be away, to get inspired, but it was good to get back in the kitchen.
Now a Movie. From blog, to book, to a big movie...wow. This is one chic flick I'm going to have to pay my friend Nick to see.
Below are clips from the upcoming movie....guess it will be girlfriends, French Food and the Jewels...
Meryl Streep as Julia, of course....but wow. Can you imagine the real Julia Child watching the French Lieutenant's woman...and thinking to herself, "hmmm I wonder if they'll cast Meryl as me in the film version of my life? Oh absolutely!"
Amy Adams as Julie....interesting casting. I would have gone with some one a little edgier, but who knows? The scene below looks nothing like the images I had in my mind as I was reading the book. From the reading and some of her blog posts, one gets a sense that the real Julie Powell is intense and a bit brazen, a tough cookie with a sharp mind- I hope Nora Ephron doesn't suck the life out of the character.
Below: Love Ms. Streep on the cover!
Julia Child began learning to cook when she was thirty-seven years
old. She started because she wanted to feed her husband Paul. She
started because though she’d fallen in love with great food late, when she did
she’d fallen hard. She started because she was in Paris. She started
because she didn’t know what else to do.
Who knows how it
happens, how you come upon your essential gift? For this was hers.
Not the cooking itself so much – lots of people cook better than Julia.
Not even the recipes – others can write recipes. What was Julia’s true
gift, then? She certainly had enormous energy, and that was a sort of
gift, if a genetic one – perhaps the one thing about her you can pin down on the
luck of the draw. She was a great teacher, certainly – funny, and
generous, and enthusiastic, with so much over brimming confidence that she had
nothing to do with the surplus but start doling it out to others. But she
also had a great gift for learning. Perhaps that was the talent she
discovered in herself at the age of 37, at the Cordon Bleu School in Paris – the
thirst to keep finding out, the openness to experience that makes life worth
She was no bending reed, of course. She had no
use for silly, fear-driven food fads; she could be set in her ways, even mulish,
and when she wanted to she could be withering. That’s fine. That’s
good even. We don’t need saints. Who changes their life under the
influence of a saint? Okay – don’t answer that. But the point is –
Julia was so impressive, so instructive, so exhilarating, because she was a
woman, not a goddess. Julia didn’t create armies of drones, mindlessly
equating her name with taste and muttering “It’s a Good Thing” under their minty
breath. Instead she created feisty, buttery, adventurous cooks, always
diving in to the next possible disaster, because goddammit, if Julia did it, so
J. p.'s new blog: What Could Happen.
I really loved her writing. She credits Elizabeth Gilbert for an encouraging writerly boost...it worked. It was hard to put it down. I can't help but admire her honesty and candor. Thanks K for sending me her book!