Friday, September 04, 2009

Julie & Julia -- My Emotional Response

After watching the movie Julie & Julia, I was intrigued and wanted to know more about both the women portrayed in the book. On the one hand, I was thoroughly disappointed, and on the other, I continue to be inspired.

When I got home, I looked up the Julie/Julia Project blog. I was dismayed. I don't care much about glitzy design on a blog, but I do care about good writing and interesting information. Julie was writing un-edited blog entires, so I wouldn't want to be too harsh, but her writing is no better than my average high-school students. I did see some more polished entries from after the project was completed (assuming she had more time to choose her words and edit herself). My biggest disappointment, however, was that I had absolutely no idea what the real experience of cooking and eating the food was after reading several entries. I love to read cooking blogs. I even have friends who blog about recipes they try and food they make that are far more inspiring that Julie's blog. I realize that her purpose was to document her "project" in her blog, but it just didn't resonate with me.

Julia Child's editor indicated that Julia had read the blog and considered it a stunt. After reading more of it, I completely understand Julia's reaction. Julia would have described the smell of the onions cooking, the texture of the sauce, and the flavor of the final dish in such a way that we would all be chonping at the bit to make it ourselves. When Julie describes her experience, it leaves me thinking about how hard the project is, how many tools it would take, and how expensive it must have been. I'm also thinking about how annoyed her husband must have been most of the time. And I know that Julie was keeping it real with her language, but the F-bombs o' plenty are even more distracting from the food and lower my opinion of her as a skilled writer.

I really wanted to like Julie, to be happy for her for getting a book deal, and even happier for getting a movie deal. In the end, I think Julie is just a pawn of a bigger machine looking for a money-maker. They found it and Julie will have her 15 minutes of fame. I say, good for her. I just wish I could be genuinely happy about the whole project.

Contrast that with my reaction to Julia Child. I did find her inspiring in many of the same ways that Julie found. She was someone who really wanted to find her passion in life. She tried a variety of things that left her lackluster. When she went to France, she was intrigued by the food and fell in love. Then she went to the Cordon Bleu cooking school and found a true passion for cooking. The best part is that she was having a great time doing it. She wanted to share her passion. That is amazing! I want to find something that I can be that passionate about.

I bought her biography and look forward to reading it. I love to bake, but I'm not sure I'm at the level that I'd call Passion. (Notice the capital letter and italics -- that's real passion.) Hopefully I'll find it somewhere along the way. And the good news is that Julia didn't find her passion at 16 or 22. She was in her late 30's when she went to cooking school and older than that when she got involved in her cook book project. Fantastic! I guess I've become a bit passionate about Julia Child and hope I find the inspiration from her to find some pastime that I can be truly Passionate about in my life.

1 comment:

Holly said...

I had similar feelings when I started to read the book. I really loved the movie, I thought it was creative and inspiring. The book was terrible. I actually didn't even finish it. It irritated me that she didn't seem really inspired by the cooking, didn't even follow the directions most times, not to mention I had a hard time with all the language and sex. I finally decided to put it away and not taint my view of the movie.