So there was poor Julie Powell, working all day at that job she hates, then shlepping store to store trying to find all the ingredients, many of them esoteric, that she'd need for that evening's recipe, be it pigs' feet or bone marrow or beef bourguignon or whatever. Then dragging it all home to her apartment in Queens, complete with miniscule kitchen and patient young husband, and spending the whole evening turning out yet another classic French masterpiece (or flop). And then, before falling into bed, writing about it....articulately, amusingly, insightfully. What an amazing, insane, wonderful, terrible thing to do, I remember thinking.
The blog developed a huge following and Julie got a book deal. And now it's been turned into a movie, with a screenplay by Nora Ephron, who also directed. Meryl Streep plays Julia Child and everyone says she's brilliant. Stanley Tucci plays Paul Child the adored husband, the man responsible for giving Julia her very first taste of France. (He was in the foreign service and they accepted a posting to Paris.)
In France, Child "found herself" in the kitchen. She studied cooking at the Cordon Bleu and in Provence, then returned to the US and introduced Americans to French food though her books and TV shows, the first of which, The French Chef, you've probably seen parodied once or twice. Child broke barriers left and right, charmed everyone she met, paved the way for celebrity chefs and did scores of great things for the food world. (Her kitchen is now in the Smithsonian.)
The movie also follows the lives of Julia and Paul Child during their years in France (1948-1954), through Child's memoir, My Life in France (a wonderful book). Ephron, the critics say, has woven the two memoirs together beautifully...two strong and talented women finding professional purpose through food.
Julie & Julia opens Friday in the U.S. and I'll be there for sure, with a gaggle of my foodie gal pals beside me. It opens in the U.K. Sept. 11th and in France Sept. 16th. Reviews and features are all over the internet so I won't bother to give you a link. But I will do as Julia always did and wish you a hearty "Bon Appetit!"