Not that long ago, I might have thought that I was qualified for the title foodie – after all, I like food. But once you have lived with someone who reads recipe books like they’re novels, who creates menus like a football coach creates plays and who ponders food combinations and possibilities the way a chemist plays with their beakers and bunson burners, you realize that true foodies are a breed apart. Julia Child and her alter ego Julie Powell were foodies.
This film is a delightful and warm journey of two very determined women who are incapable of living the lives of quiet desperation that others might have led in their situation. Their story begins with the universal feeling of being lost and in search of purpose and ends with salvation discovered no further away then your kitchen door.
Both Julia Child and Julie Powell follow their spouses to foreign cities allowing them to pursue their careers. Ms. Child has been brought to paradise in the form of a wonderful flat in post war Paris, while Ms. Powell is left to her own defenses in post 9-11 Queens. Ms. Child greets her neighbors with a big smile and “Bonjour Fredric!” Ms. Powell avoids making eye contact with anyone and tries to ignore the sounds of the trucks passing under her bedroom window at night. But after a slightly heavy handed scene of realizing her friends are all seemingly self-important if not fairly shallow, Julie Powell decides to attempt to make all of Julia Childs recipes while writing a blog about her daily challenge. It is no easy task. Along the way she discovers the strength required to make self-imposed deadlines, boil a lobster and debone a chicken… She’s our generations “Rosie the Riveter”, and since she’s also Amy Adams, she’s really cute as she stands to conquer her mother’s pessimism, her own self-doubt and her need to know what Julia would do.
Meryl Streep is wonderful as Julia Child. Of course Meryl Streep is always wonderful, but making the shrill voice and alcohol laden life of Julia Child sympathetic and vulnerable isn’t easy, but ultimately very rewarding for her audience.
Given today’s genre of “women’s stories” perhaps the most remarkable facet of Julia and Julie was that they didn’t need to leave their husbands or have torrid affairs to break out of their confines, but rather they worked hard to become very good at something that gave them joy and in the process brought them closer to their husbands and to the sense of fulfillment they so eagerly sought.
As the husband of an equally determined woman, who can bone a chicken, change a diaper, check her Google analytics and whip up a lemon dill sauce along with her Yerushalmi kugel, I found this story and movie to be a feast of enormous satisfaction.
More kosher recipes at GourmetKosherCooking.com