Sunday, August 23, 2009

Julie & Julia

I saw this movie with my mom this afternoon. It's about a modern woman named Julie who learns to cook by doing every recipe in Julia Child's book Master the Art of French Cooking, all in one year.

I had heard the name Julia Child, but I've never actually seen an episode of her (apparently) iconic television show. The movie was seriously entertaining and a major dose of the warm fuzzies even without any existing knowledge, but I do wonder if I was missing some nuances there. And I had no idea that the titular Julie is a real person.

I was really pleased that it passed the rule without even trying. It issn't a feminist movie, it isn't going out of its way to make a point about the issue... it is simply, quietly, a movie about two women who really like to cook, and who have female friends as well as husbands. In fact, it almost didn't pass the reverse test- as far as I can remember, there is only a single scene where two guys talk about something other than a woman - and that is a guy getting questioned by Senator McCarthy's goons about whether or not he's homosexual.

They totally dumped on The Joy of Cooking in the movie, which I found kind of hilarious, since in my head the two books are, essentially, the same thing. But then, my cooking bible is Recipes for a Lady or a Man.

Among the things I learned from this movie: there were no French cookbooks in English before Julia Child published her book in 1961. It was a labor of love that took three women more than ten years to complete, and the original draft featured more than seven hundred pages just on sauces and poultry. They must have cut it down some for the final draft?

Julia Child learned French cooking in the late 1940s (1949?) from a class for American GIs to learn to be professional French chefs. It appeared in the movie that the GIs' tuition at the cooking school was being paid by the government, which surprised me. I guess that counts as vocational training. But I wonder if you could get the Army to spring for it today.

I really want to make chocolate mousse and boeuf bourguignon. Also: deboned ducks and aspic are freaky. Freaky and yucky.

No comments:

Post a Comment