This past Summer while in Paris, I read My Life in France, Julia Child’s autobiography about learning to cook and the building of her successful career. Julia Child loved her husband, she loved to eat, loved to cook, loved the French people and pursued her life with incredible passion. Before I began reading this book, I really had no idea who Julia Child was. I knew she had a cooking show back in the day. I knew she had a unique voice and was tall. I did not know how inspired I would be by her passionate journey through life. She really grabbed onto life’s opportunities. More than that, she made opportunities for herself and wasn’t afraid to try anything. Julia was a unique, feisty, funny and fabulous woman.
Propelled by the idea for starting this blog and my new found love for Julia Child, I decided to read Julie and Julia by Julie Powell. The book is based on her blog in which she chronicled her Julie/Julia Project. As you are probably aware (since there was a blog, a book and movie made about this woman) Julie Powell cooked her way through Julia Child’s famous cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking. I began reading her book and immediately found myself disliking Julie Powell. Each recipe she attempted was approached with pessimism. Each failure was reacted to with a near nervous breakdown, which often included the emasculation of her sweet and helpful husband. Each success was immediately followed with the negative thought that tomorrow was another day and another recipe/potential failure. I was hoping that as the book went on, Julie would have some epiphany, some revelation about her negative and self sabotaging tendencies and Julia would inspire her put on some rose colored glasses and change her ways. This never happened. I found Julie to be a negative, self absorbed, unkind woman.
If you are at the bookstore or library, grab yourself a copy of My Life in France, but walk right by Julie Powell’s whiny collection of failures.
I bought my own copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking after reading My Life in France. I will never make half of the things in that cookbook especially aspic, anything with bone marrow, calf liver or anything that requires a special order from the butcher. But, when I do cook from it, I will do it with positivity. I’ll let you know how it goes.
February 17, 2010