Feed your appetite for reading with books by Julie, Julia—September 11, 2009
Judging a book by its movie makes about as much sense as judging it by its cover. But let’s face it, a disappointing book-based movie is not going to be much enticement for reading the original works.
Reviewers and movie-goers are split on the new motion picture, “Julie and Julia,” some saying it’s a poor meld of two good books - memoirs by Julia Child’s and blogger Julie Powell. Whether or not you saw and enjoyed the movie rendition, if you’re a foodie, a Julia Child fan, or simply enjoy a triumph over the odds-type autobiography, you owe it to yourself to take a look at these two and other related books, all of which are available at Hastings Public Library.
The movie is the story of Julie Powell, who maintained a blog and wrote a memoir based on her year-long adventures of cooking her way through Julia Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.” (This comprehensive classic cookbook of the '60s contains a hefty, 524 French recipes - from Crème Brulee to calves brains!)
Searching for happiness and sanity in her troubled world, Julie sets out to learn the art of French cooking. . .and 60 pounds of butter later also had received a lesson from Julia Child in the art of living.
“I thought I was using ‘the Book’ to learn to cook French food, but really I was learning to sniff out the secret doors of possibility. Julia taught me that.”
Contrasting the struggles of Ms. Powell, the movie weaves in Julia Child’s own triumphs in finding her niche. It draws from her memoir, “My Life in France,” where Julia recounts the years, 1948-1954, as an American bride living in France. Julia didn’t speak French and admits she knew little about the French culture or cooking.
“Those early years in France were among the best of my life,“ maintains Julia. “They marked a crucial period of transformation in which I found my true calling. . .”
Going beyond the France years is the Julia Child biography, “Appetite for Life” by Noel Riley Fitch.
If Julia’s fascinating stories leave you hungry for her recipes, the library has several of her cookbooks all written with her earthy humor and gusto.
“Julia Child and More Company” is a menu cookbook offering 13 complete meals laced with fun commentary. Her recipe for “UFOs in Wine” are what she calls unidentified flying objects. . .“many kinds of small birds – squab, pigeons, partridge, quail. . . Rather hard to come by so I chose Rock Cornish hens.”
“Baking with Julia,” by Dorie Greenspan, is a collection of recipes from her PBS “Master Chef” series.
Julia also collaborated with Jacques Pepin in “Julia and Jacques, Cooking at Home.” In a he-said, she-said format, these two seasoned chef friends engage in playful sparring over each featured recipe, while making the point that there is more than one way to make pilaf. . .or anything else for that matter.
Master the art of good reading at the library!