Last week I picked up a used copy of Julie Powell’s book, Cleaving. I just started to read it today and don’t have many thoughts on it as of yet but it brought back my memories of joy when I was reading her first book, which then led me to see the movie, get my parents to pick up Mastering the Arts of French Cooking, which then sent me on a mission to read anything and everything about Julia Child.
Today, after a short time baking by the pool, I ended up surfing the internet and landed on past articles on Judith Jones, Julia herself and Julie Powell. Ms. Jones was the editor of Mastering, a friend of Julia’s and has given insight on what Child would have thought about Powell’s book and the movie.
I found her blog and the mention that a writer from the New York Times wrote that people in today’s world would not cook from the book. That it was tedious, etc. Here is the deal, people who love food, who love to cook, they will cook from the book. Those who just happened to see the movie that like food but have no interest in cooking traditional French cuisine will not.
I have cooked from it many times, I have pages marked with bright pink post-it notes and wine splatters over some of my favorite recipes to boot. Will I attempt preparing aspics? No, nor will I go for some of the other recipes that do not appeal to my taste buds. But I cook from it throughout the year and giggle with glee when I pull it off!
I wasn’t one to cook with wine before. Let’s just say that there was an incident years ago where I might have gotten the oil too hot when making fried chicken and there might have been a flash fire in my kitchen. . . but after being with the boy, watching him cook with wine, well, I became brave. Plus, after the boy was out of my life who else would cook those dishes that I loved so much?
So off I went to try my hand at cooking with wine and my oh my! I actually can cook with wine. It adds a depth to the flavors that I had not known before. It also made me sound like I was cooking some fancy dishes, when in reality Child’s recipes from France were traditional home cooking. And that is what I do best, ask Sonia. . .
So I fervently read up on recipes, thinking, contemplating what to try next, having discussions with myself as to what my level of talent is, trying to find a way to step it up. Baking is still a great love of mine but since I have taken that step to really push myself in terms of cooking, well, it is on the back burner, which my clothes thank me for.
It has been almost a year since I tried a Julia recipe for the very first time, all by myself and all I can say is, Child is one fine instructor. I still have moments where I want to pull my hair out, can’t figure out what this or that means but ultimately, it is about trying a recipe out, working out the kinks and going for it.
I can proudly say that I can poach eggs now, when frying up eggs, I can flip them in my skillet without the aid of a spatula and my omelets are to die for. . . I can’t wait for it to get a bit cooler so I can cook up quiche and eat it to my hearts content. Nor can I wait to try (again, I need to be more patient when it comes to sauteing my onions) French Onion Soup or my easy, go to soup of choice, Potato Leek.
I still love Martha Stewart and she is the one I go to for my meatloaf. I also tend to stick with her when it comes to baking. I also have Magnolia Bakery’s cookbook that serves the perfect recipes and memories of NYC when it comes to cupcakes.
So while I surf the net for all things Julia, I also know that there are a few more cookbooks that I am in dire need to acquire. My love of cooking might not ever produce a man to sit at my table nightly but who cares? I get to test and push myself in the kitchen. Cooking and writing are my therapies of choice. I can express myself through cooking and enjoy it immensely. And then I can over share about my crazy life here on this blog while my mother goes to shake her head and wonder just exactly how I became me.