Tuesday, March 18, 2014


One of our first married Christmases, having heard about a really fun project where a woman cooked her way through Julia Child's cookbook in one year, I bought Mastering the Art of French Cooking and Julie & Julia for Andy, together with some nice balsamic vinegars and French salts and dried exotic mushrooms.  Later, we were given another copy of the J&J book because what could possibly be more OUR THING than this sort of project?

As it turns out, just about anything.  While I applaud Julie Powell for making meat jello and her willingness to actually get through the aspic chapter, I have struggled over and over to read her book and have always given up in disgust.  However,
last year a friend sent me Dearie by Bob Spitz, and I sailed through all 557 pages.  A fun read, I was delighted to find out that JC was a bit of a trouble-maker as a child, and her approach to learning to cook was as charming and fun as I had hoped.  I think it's no surprise that when asked, Julia Child did not like Julie Powell's project, but I do find it surprising that Powell could identify with Child.  Someone who has continual "melt-downs" and tantrums over recipes seems like the polar opposite of Child and of her entire cooking approach.  She had problems on live tv and shrugged them off while Powell the drama-queen might be the poster-child for narcissism.  But, we still had one copy left of Powell's book, and I had kept it thinking I should make another attempt, and then I discovered our library had it on audio book.  Mercifully, it was even abridged, which usually I don't like, but this was my only hope and then I could toss away Powell's book and feel guiltless. 

I believe Powell's blog must have been much more interesting, since I assume it was actually about the recipes and cooking them.  I might have cared about Powell's life if I found her likeable, but I don't in either case.  I was surprised, however, when at the end she was still disregarding JC's instructions in recipes, leaving me to wonder what Powell actually thought she was learning?  Reading about the long testing periods every recipe went through and JC's need for precision, I can truly see how JC would be repelled by Powell and what came across in the book as more of a stunt than anything.  However, 5 little cds have freed me from my guilt, and I can toss Powell's book with nothing but relief of clearing up shelf space. 

And Dearie has inspired me to try a few more JC recipes, though maybe the ones without all the butter........

1 comment:

bittenbyknittin said...

Just the other day, there was an article about how dietary saturated fat does not contribute to heart disease, so bring on the butter! I watched "Julie and Julia" and wished it had been more Julia and way less Julie. And I fell in love with Stanley Tucci.

The New Additions

Shortly after moving, we had to put our oldest cat down, so we have adopted 2 new kittens to keep Theo company: Mostly Theo is not thr...