Julie & Julia
Publisher: Back Bay Books, Little, Brown and Company
Who doesn't know what this book is? It's a memoir of a young woman who decided to find herself by cooking every single recipe in Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking (that's over five hundred recipes!) in just one year. Her story was made into a major motion picture starring two of the greatest actresses of our time - Meryl Streep and Amy Adams. You'd have to live under a rock to have not heard of this by now. Quite frankly, after watching and loving the film, I'd been wanting to read the book for quite some time.
It was great to go through the memoir and consider along with Julie each thing she was cooking. She'd never eaten an egg before this experiment, which gets you wondering, how does that even happen? And to be honest, I couldn't identify with Julie's disgust with bone marrow. Have you ever eaten marrow? In my family we practically fight over the bone in the ham steak so we can suck out the marrow. It's creamy and delicious! I don't see why the marrow from a cow would be that much different from that of a pig. Anyway, I was happy to read that Julie enjoyed the marrow when it finally came down to eating it.
One of the more interesting themes for me was the relation between food and sex. As a pre-teen Julie got a thrill by secretly sneaking peaks of her parent's copy of The Joy of Sex and later found flipping through her mother's copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking gave her the same thrill. When Julie and Eric started dating she used food to keep him around and to get in his pants, just as Julia used cooking to help establish a relationship with her husband, Paul. Not just in the memoir, but I think frequently in life, there is this connection between food and sex. It's hard to explain, but it makes sense - they're both delicious, delectable things to indulge in. They kind of go hand in hand somehow.
Watching the movie makes me want to get up and cook something spectacular. Maybe not aspic because, let's face it, that's kind of gross. But maybe something good like Boeuf Bourguignon. At the very least it makes me think I'll bone a duck before I die, though maybe not anytime soon. The book did not inspire me the way the movie did, but it was still a fantastic read. Julie has a gift for quirky writing and the memoir made me giggle at the right points. Props to her for blogging and then making a career out of it. I would definitely recommend this to anyone who likes to cook.