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Julie & Julia & Me


I didn’t think I’d like it.  I really didn’t.

I mean, there was enough hype to near convince me that I wouldn’t.  I don’t like hype.  Come on:  a huge puff piece in the NYT 10 days before the movie was even released?

I’d always admired Julie Powell’s chutzpah and clever idea to blog her way a year of cooking over 500 recipes in Julia Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.” It resulted in a big New York Times story by Amanda H.  And then, naturally a book deal.  And though I wished Julie well, I had no interest. 

But I saw the food movie tonight.  And I didn’t like it.  I loved it. 

Loved it. And though I know my inner skeptic will kick in later, I’m going to write this blog post and indulge my exuberance right now

Meryl Streep infuses Julia with so much joy and inner beauty that I found myself crying during the cooking scenes.  The scenes of Julia’s pure sensual joy over food and cooking it, her undaunted devotion--helped me remember why I spent more than 10 years of my life so fascinated with food. 

But I am certain it was also the beauty of Julia, shining through Meryl Streep’s performance that got me: the great six-foot two Julia, gamer, adventurer, bon vivant, comic and artist of her own life who didn’t go to cooking school until she was 37 and didn’t publish her first book until she as 49.  There’s been so much fake glamour around food the last twenty years.  This movie was, most amazingly, actually about cooking.  Cooking!  Imagine that.  Cooking in your tiny kitchen.  Cooking because you want to actually learn the hard skills of the craft.  Cooking through failure, like when the chicken slides out on the floor and all the stuffing falls out so that you fall down and cry.  Cooking to make something so beautiful that people gather around, transformed by the beauty of it for an ephemeral moment. 

And then there’s the love and passion of a good man to help make a woman even greater.... Let me say no more.  There--now I’ve contributed to the hype and I’m okay with that.  And so, like every review of this movie, I’ll close mine by invoking Julia:  Bon appetit!

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i loved it as well! made me happy to love cooking and eating. julia showed what it was to make cooking an act of love.

    –  (August 11 2009 at 8:47)

Hi Laura
I have yet to see the movie, but you have made me even more excited about it!

I grew up with Julia Child’s cooking show on TV, and I’m sure she was one on my influences as to why I’ve enjoyed cooking my entire life.  Meryl Streep is always wonderful.

I have to tell you that your book also inspired me to make homemade ravioli! It was a delightful book that I enjoyed reading very much.  My husband emigrated from southern Italy as a young boy and his family never made home made ravioli. It was exciting for this Irish American woman to start a new tradition in my home by learning how to make them from you! Your Youtube video helped with learning how to roll out the dough, although I have to admit I sometimes use the pasta machine too!



    – Pat (August 11 2009 at 3:13)

Hi Laura: I loved this movie too and we both know I don’t do the cooking in this house. I didn’t cry but it made me want to go back to Paris again!!

    – Susan Guerra (August 14 2009 at 12:45)

I too was very concerned to see the movie because of the hype. I had never heard of Julie Powell (I had not been into blogs at the time) I had read the Julia bio for book club earlier this year. I was worried that the movie would not be true to her. Boy was I wrong. The book came to life. And Meryl made me forget 20 years of watching Julia. I use the Joy of Cooking often and now know why my most recent recipe did not turn out since she never tested her recipes...testing is the key to gifting a recipe in book for or card.

Julia made me feel comfortable in the kitchen since she was such a klutz and I was never worried about making a mistake. A good guide for any cook-just do it! The movie reminded me why I love to cook. It is a pinch of love!

    – Hella (August 17 2009 at 9:40)


Wonderful review of “Julie & Julia.” I loved the movie, too. Am getting geared up to go see it again. Friends who’ve seen it again say they saw new things the second time around.


    – Cynthia Bertelsen (September 26 2009 at 8:24)

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