I turned 49 today -- an age that doesn't get much in the way of special attention. And August is invariably the bottom of the year for us financially -- I haven't had a paycheck since early July, and there are back-to-school expenses for the kids. Not a good time for going out to dinner in a nice restaurant. So, I celebrated by going to see "Julie and Julia". I don't mind at all going to see a movie alone -- I never really got why some people think that going to the movies is a social occasion. In fact, I like just being out on my own, doing my thing. The last movie I saw was "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince", and my kids, who are old enough to know better, talked so much that I found another place to sit, feeling rather that it was a mistake to bring them along.
"Julie and Julia" is definitly a chick flick, and judging by the audience, an old chick flick. In fact, most probably remember Julia Child being on public television. But unlike most films of that type, I laughed most of the way through it. Meryl Streep was as terrific as all the reviews say she was. I was reminded very much of my Grandma, who liked Julia Child because, in spite of the fancy cuisine she taught, she was very much a *real* person. Grandpa could never stand her voice -- but he had a thing about voices. I never got to watch "All in the Family" as a kid 'cause the second Edith hit the high note in the opening song, Grandpa would change the channel.
But Grandma loved Julia, and she loved cooking. "You cook by feel", she'd say. And I found she's right -- at least the way I cook. I don't have much use for making my way through a fancy recipe which requires a lot of special and expensive ingredients that I don't normally have around my kitchen. I make things, like soup, where I can just use what I have. No canned tomatoes? Fine, I'll just throw in some V-8 juice. Beans, onions, celery, carrots and some herbs will make a soup of some kind -- and if I have fresh parsley, so much the better.
So, for me, Julia Child is more fun to watch in action than to actually try to emulate. She was a character -- and in Streep's performance, at least, I got the picture of a woman who really loved life.
Also, from what I understand, she didn't think much of the current fears about fat and carbs -- and she lived to be 92. I wouldn't dare add all that yummy butter to anything nowadays -- I use olive oil on my breakfast toast, and that sparingly. (Locally processed olive oil -- good stuff!)
The reviewers were rather negative about the parts of the movie that dealt with blogger Julie Powell -- and I think that's a bit unfair. A well-loved personality like Julia Child played by an actress like Meryl Streep is an unfair comparison to just about anybody. Julie Powell took on a tough project, and wrote a good blog about it. If I was trying to cook fancy and unfamiliar cuisine in what Grandma would call a "t.v. dinner kitchen", I'd probably be reduced to a meltdown or two myself.
Anyway, I had fun watching a lot of talk about fine dining, without actually having a birthday dinner.