Sunday, December 27, 2009

Julie & Julia (2009)

We watched Julie & Julia last night. This was an entertaining story and a well-made movie.

Meryl Streep was very endearing as Julia Child. Even though I've only seen the briefest of snippets from Child's television show, she seems like a highly likeable person: genuinely enthusiastic about the joy of food and preparing it.

I continue to be interested in people who have passions, and the movie is the story of two passions: Julia Child's discovery of her passion for cooking, and Julie Powell's discovery (by way of working through all the recipes in Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and then blogging about them) of her passions for cooking and writing about it. Now that I'm thinking about it, the parts of the movie about Child do not focus as much on the writing of the cookbook, although there are a number of scenes about her relationships with her two French collaborators.

395. What are the similarities and differences between writing and cooking? I guess one similarity is that both are primarily solo activities, but a difference is that cooking is more tactile whereas writing occurs more in the mind.

396. I see that this movie was nominated for Best Musical/Comedy by the Golden Globes and that Streep is nominated for Best Actress. Which movies and actors/actresses will be the primary contenders for the Golden Globes and Actors? On Slate's Culture Gabfest, they've said that The Hurt Locker will get a nomination for Best Picture, and I think that's right-on -- it was my favorite movie of the year. I imagine that Morgan Freeman will get a nod for Invictus.

397. Did Julia Child really discover her passion for cooking as accidentally as it's portrayed in the movie? Or was that a bit of dramatic license -- was she in reality a more ambitious person than the film makes out?

398. Is Rachael Ray the top-selling cookbook writer at the moment? There's a great piece in this morning's New York Times where they have essays about each year of the decade, and Anthony Bourdain's essay for 2007 (here) talks about the way in which chefs' newfound celebrity enables them to -- at long last -- refute the claim that the customer is always right:
The best news of 2007 was that chefs, as a social class somehow empowered by the strange and terrible glare of celebrity, were finally free to rid themselves of the time-honored dictum of “the customer is always right.” If experience had taught chefs anything, it was that this is very rarely the case. Chefs were now trusted enough to persuade customers to try what they themselves loved to eat.

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