Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Julie & Julia

Julia Child [via]

S and I went to see a real (reel?) bonafide movie in a real bonafide theater this past weekend. I know, this is ground breaking stuff. But, seriously folks, we don't get around to seeing first run releases at the movie theater except maybe about twice a year. This was time #1 for the year and we decided to go see Julie and Julia. So for us, it was a big night on the town.

Meatloaf in the oven.

No movie I have ever seen has been a life altering experience. This one was no different. But, I enjoyed it very much. It was entertaining, informative, witty and a good way to spend two hours of my life. There's this scene with the onions...for one.

Asparagus, before the steam.
And the butter sauce with cardamom.

And I couldn't wait to go home and cook - not that I need much impetus for that, you understand. But, it gave me a fire in the belly to get into that kitchen! We had our friends Tricia and Wayne over Sunday night. The menu was probably a little closer to an Erma Rombauer meal than a Julia Child meal - meatloaf, macaroni and cheese, corn on the cob, salad, zucchini almondine, rolls, and peaches warmed in a skillet with a simple sauce over ice cream for dessert - oh, well, there was asparagus. A nod to french cooking with the asparagus with cardamom butter sauce. No matter what the inspiration, I'm here to tell you that for my money, (and, I guess, it was my money - heh heh) it was good sister, it was good. And the leftovers have been even better!

Mixed greens with locally grown vine ripe tomatoes, walnuts, and cotija cheese.

Anyway, I did have several thoughts upon completion of this movie and while I was cooking this meal. So, I thought, hey, I can tell my blog friends about my random thoughts! I mean, what else would a blog writer do but share their most random thoughts with the world wide web! The secret here people, of course, is that really, at least this blog writer doesn't think much about who might be reading this. It just gets the tired old thoughts out of my head so I can move on to something new. But, here they are for you.

The Julia Child bowls.

First, I was reminded about my Julia Child bowls - they are just a set of Pyrex bowls. But, I used to watch Ms. Child from time to time with my Nana. (I don't know which series this would have been - reruns of the original series or one of the later series.) And, from time to time, when Nana was fixing lunch or something, she'd measure out the ingredients and let me throw them into the mixing bowl. We're talking tuna salad, here, people. Or peanut butter and jelly sandwich. You know, low key, low brow, six year old stuff. Anyway, I thought this was AWESOME. And, now I'm the proud owner of those bowls. The Julia Child bowls. So, I've always had an affection for Julia Child.

S cut up the zucchini for me.
We turned it into one of my new favorite easy vegetable side dishes.

That said, I didn't know much about Ms. Child except what one would glean from watching her on television - she knew how to cook, she was tall, she had sort of a funny voice, and people liked her. From the movie, I learned some things that I found very interesting. It made me want to read more about this strong personality with a penchant for hollandaise, which I shall do. Here are the points I find worth noting, based on the movie version of her I saw last weekend:

- she didn't marry her husband, Paul Child, until she was 34 - the movie says 40, but you know, not as a teenager - later in life.

- she and Paul had a very happy marriage and fruitful partnership.

- she enrolled in cooking school because she needed something to "do" when they moved to Paris after WWII. Paul was stationed there by the US government.

- she worked for eight years with two friends she met in Paris on Mastering the Art of French Cooking, which was published in 1961 when she was 49 years old.

- after moving back to the states, she became a well known and beloved television chef almost to the end of her life.

- her cookbook and subsequent cooking shows changed the way America ate post WWII and every chef on television has her to thank for their job today.

Here's what I gleaned from her life by watching this movie, correct, or incorrect, true or not true, that I felt was useful for my reflection:

- it is possible to do something you love for a living.

- sometimes this "something" is not revealed to you until later in life.

- one should take time, when possible to pay attention to that part of yourself that feeds your soul.

- everyone has disappointments in life and you cannot allow those disappointments to define you.

- it is very attractive to be sure of oneself - others are attracted to self-assured people. This does not mean arrogance and has nothing to do with physical beauty. It has to do with pleasant self-assuredness that has nothing to do with proving anything to anyone.

- this is the only life you've got, so savor it and use it to the best of your ability.

- Meryl Streep is one of the best actors of our time and she can play anyone as if she has left her own body and embodied theirs.

S set the table.
This was the place setting he chose.

And, most importantly, after learning a little about her, I believe when she ended her television program with, "This is Julia Child, bon appetit!" which translates (that second part anyway) loosely to "I wish you a hearty appetite" that she meant that about the food she had just prepared and the food she was sure you would prepare, and she also meant it for life in general too. "I wish you a hearty appetite for life!"

The table, just before we devoured it all -
yes, there are containers on that table straight from the refrigerator.
And we LIVED!!!

I really believe that, not having known her at all or this for a fact. I just know this to be true. And, I think it's a wonderful way to look at life, at this time on earth. It makes me want to "do" something too. Anything! Everything! I wish a hearty appetite for myself and for you too.

And, go on out and see the silly movie. You'll be glad you did. See you tomorrow.


  1. Great blog, Amy! I too felt inspired after I saw the movie and think you really grabbed the best points from it. BTW, dinner looked yummy, I'm sure Tricia and Wayne enjoyed it!


  2. I love your thoughts here.....I haven't seen the movie but I did read Julia Child's is a must read. (note: she was tall but her sister was even taller...I think Julia was 6'2" and her sister was 6'4"...something like that) Also, from the book, she and Paul were lovers during WWII while they were working for the OSS. She was really a bohemian in many ways especially considering her very narrow upbringing (or maybe because of it).


  3. Saw it this weekend. LOVED IT! Can't wait to buy her cookbook as well as just general books about her and about Julie Powell. Also, can't wait to have a dinner party and make boeuf bourguignon. Want to come? :-)


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