My big sister likes to tell people that I never cooked once in my life and then “Bitch woke up one day, 18 years old, went in the kitchen and started cooking. Just like that!” This is obviously a gross exageration that usually makes everyone around us laugh. I do enjoy cooking, but I’ve only recently started getting to it in a more serious fashion. So I don’t really know any cooks and cooking shows (Gordon Ramsay is pathetic and doesn’t count) and I admit, I didn’t know who Julia Child was when I saw the movie Julie & Julia.
I’m really a sucker for biographical movies, especially when they’re about someone I never heard of or whose personal life I never knew about. So it’s no wonder I enjoyed watching the antics of Julia Child in the world famous Cordon-Bleu school. The antics of Julie Powell… eh… I could’ve lived without knowing about her existence, I really could.
While the movie presents Miss Powel paralell to Mrs. Child as someone who also has achieved something out of a willingness to better herself, I had a totally different view of it.
If you’ve read anything else in my blog, you’ll notice how bitchy and judgemental I can be. But I do feel that, when personally evaluating the contemporary impact of someone who has done little more than cooking every single recipe of a cook-book, I am allowed to be at least a bit judgementel.
Minimal spoiler-alert: I was thrilled to find out that Powell’s blog about her attempt at cooking every single recipe of Child’s first book left Julia Child very underwhelmed and unwilling to meet Powell.
Julia Child, so I learned, was the wife of a US-Government worker of the OSS. This eventually landed them in Paris in the 40’s. Expected to sit around on her ass like it was still expected of women in the circles she moved, she felt she could do so much more. She got restless and decided she wanted to learn how to cook like the french (and after being in France for a week last year, MY GOD I would’ve done exactly the same!). She enrolled at the Cordon Bleu school – she ellbowed her way in, actually, since the school didn’t want to take her seriously despite being able to pay the high enroll-fees – she stubbornly gave her all so she would gain the respect of her colleagues (hillarious, the scene where her husband comes home to a table covered in about 40 pounds of minced onions) and she succeeded. She learned along the way, she formed connections, she evolved.
In 2002, a young woman who already had better things to do than sit on her ass all day was overwhelmed because she found the pastures of her friends way greener than her own. She didn’t feel like she fit her own standards of success and decided to cook someone’s (Child’s) recipes in one year only and write about her feelings on a blog. Yeah. Ok. Nope.
The movie was still very enjoyable and I didn’t give up until I was able to buy an expensive “cocotte” (that thingamagig where they cooked Beef bourgignon in the movie) which is still unused on the shelf (it’s hard to justify making a huge amount of food for myself alone, but I’ll get to it). And when I cook something others cooked first and then share it here, I won’t expect the authors of the recipe to be in awe of me. Even if I’ll even add the bonus of sparing you my feelings and rather troubleshoot the recipe from my own experience.