I finally saw “Julia and Julie”, the movie about how twenty-something home cook Julie Powell recreated 524 recipes in 365 days from Julia Child’s cookbook “Mastering the Art of French Cooking”. It’s a great movie, especially if you’re a fan of food, cooking, and Julia Child. If only Hollywood could take over ALL cookbooks, because in Julia and Julie, every Julia Child recipe comes out perfectly on the first try for Julie Powell, a home cook with no culinary training! She makes hollandaise perfectly the first time. Her Spinach Souffle looks like a magazine photo on the first shot. Hollywood makes everything easier.
I have great respect and admiration for Julia Child. She brought high-level French cooking ideas to American households at the precise time that TV dinners and convenience foods were being mass-produced in the US. Julia’s degree from Le Cordon Bleu in Paris enabled her to write these recipes because of her extensive culinary education combined with her passion for food and cooking. In the movie, Julie Powell has no culinary education, but does have passion for food. Is passion enough to be able to prepare every recipe in Julia Child’s cookbook? NO, it’s not.
The centerpiece of the movie is her Boeuf Bourguignon recipe. To Julie Powell, this is the pinnacle of being able to cook like a Julia Child. With precise preparation in her tiny kitchen, she forgetfully burns it, and having to start over, prepares it perfectly the first two times she tried. This is beyond credible to me. It’s not that Boeuf Bourguignon is a particularly difficult recipe to complete, but as with all recipes, especially Julia Child recipes, there are basic cooking methods behind the recipes that need to be understood. Following lines of a recipe without knowing the visual cues is like driving your car blindfolded, but with a road map. You may have all the directions, but you’ll miss all the visual information necessary to know how your trip is progressing, and...
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