I will admit, I have been waiting for this day all year. Today was the day I've been referring to as the day the 'Movie of the Year' comes out.
"Julie & Julia" is a story based on two people. One, the beloved Julia Child who taught an enormous amount of American home cooks the basics of French cooking techniques step by step. And the other, Julie Powell, an unsatisfied, thirty-year-old secretary stuck in a dead-end job in the government sector who decides to cook her way through all of Julia Child's recipes in Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking, which sends her on a mission to cook 524 recipes in 365 days.
I remember Julie Powell's book fondly as it was, literally, the first book of gastronomic literature that I had read that made me laugh until I cried, and awakened me to the fact that there is more to food literature than simply cookbooks. It was one of the books that caused me to make the decision to attend culinary school and work toward a career in food writing.
I believe the fact that I read both Julie Powell's Julie & Julia; 365 days, 524 recipes, 1 tiny apartment kitchen, and My Life in France by Julia Child, allowed me to utterly enjoy the film. Director Nora Ephron did a wonderful job of capturing both woman's lives and interweaving them throughout the movie. And Meryl Steep was a perfect Julia Child. It really was amazing, I thought, how similar the two women were. Both looking for a purpose in life. Both having a love of good food. One aspect of the film that came home to me more so on screen than in both books was the support of both women's husbands. Paul Child, played by Stanley Tucci, and Eric Powell, played by Chris Messina, were both a delight. I think Paul Child could have been the most perfect man on the planet, and Tucci played him to a tee.
I don't know if it was the recent weather shift in Portland going back to its typical cloud-covered sky, or the fact that I snuck out and viewed a matinee showing of the film today, but for some reason, I had a deep craving for some French Onion Soup (or Soupe À L'Oignon). Well of course you know what comes next. It seemed absolutely fitting to make a batch exactly as Ms. Julia would see fit from my own copy of Mastering.
As the soup is cooking tonight (per Julia's recipe, she clearly states to expect about 2 1/2 hours of cooking time. Wow.) I'm maneuvering back and forth from my kitchen to my laptop thinking about the film and writing this post. Though I had been thinking about the movie for a few months and brainstorming what foodie friends would be fun to attend with, in the end I decided to sneak away and go see it alone. Why you ask? As I had stated above, this book was a huge turning point for me and my decision to attend cooking school to become a food writer. To be honest, the film was sort of bittersweet for me. Times are so different two years later it seems and much has taken me off track over the past year and a half. It was interesting to me as in the movie, Julie Powell was truly a writer, but could never accept that she was a 'real' writer because she was never published. I often feel the same way. I write. I did a time-intensive piece on the basics of French cooking for a division of Barnes & Noble that will, unfortunately, never be published due to a complete shutdown of said division. And I do have this blog. But it's the more widely read publications that we (writers) are of course shooting for. I still have yet to be published in one of those famed pubs, but am in a position now where I'm finally back to focusing on pursuing it further, and I believe I'm closer than ever.
Oh! The timer has gone off...again. Per her recipe, I've reset the timer about 3-4 times (for the caramelized onions, beef stock simmer, crusted French bread, and, finally, to melt the Gruyere cheese). But now, it is finally done!
Before I dive into tonight's creation, there is one further thought I had about the movie. In the end, I believe both stories are about two women who wanted more out of life. They wanted purpose, they wanted something to 'do' that was of significance to them and possibly to the world, and they wanted to see their dreams come true. And in my book, that's a perfect formula for...well...a life worth savoring.
Oh, Julia. This. Is. Delightful...
Bonjour, and Bon Appétit!