Saturday, August 15, 2009

Julie and Julia

We just saw Julie and Julia, the much talked about movie, based on My Life in France by Julia Child's great nephew and Julie and Julia by Julie Powell. Both are wonderful books in and of themselves. I knew that Meryl Streep would be just great as Julia and she was. I didn't know how much I would love and admire the way Nora Ephron put the two books together. She did a brilliant job of showing the parallels between the two without being ham-handed, so to speak. And I was once again filled with a huge amount of admiration for Julie Powell: cooking all the recipes in Mastering the Art of French Cooking is a stupendous accomplishment.

I acquired Mastering the Art, my first serious cookbook, on August 20, 1967, my first wedding anniversary, from my then husband Rick Kunst. Over the years I made many different recipes from this cookbook: seven soups, three sauces, pie dough (multiple times), five quiches, three gratins, two souffles, crepes, a turnover, scallops, five chicken, a duck, six beef, a lamb, five pork, seventeen vegetables, four composed salads, and three desserts. One of the desserts was Tarte au Citron et Aux Amandes (Lemon and Almond Tart) which I made in trying out for an assistant pastry chef position at Chez Panisse in 1974. I delivered my tart to the restaurant one morning and never heard from them again. I guess they didn't like it. So I've cooked 66 recipes from Mastering the Art, some multiple times--and it seems like a lot from one book. But that is 458 shy of what Julie Powell cooked. Quite amazing. Just think of it. By all means, see the film. I'd love to hear what you think if it.

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