Julie and Julia

Well, that was… a movie. I regret spending any time watching it, although thankfully I watched it on 2x speed so I didn’t have to suffer as long as I could have. If I wanted to watch a half-baked dramatization of a half-baked chef I would watch Top Chef or something. Not only was the movie a typical representation of bland cinematography and writing style, Julia Child is one of the least interesting chefs that has ever become famous. She was a decent TV personality and managed to entertain an American audience, but she developed her cooking style through imitation of French cooking, which is counterproductive. Of course it is important to learn the technical skills that French cuisine requires, but attempting to replicate a cooking style is never the way to go. An American will never be better at cooking French food than a French chef of the same caliber. The American can become passable, decent, even good, but this requires extensive work with the knowledge that you will never surpass them. It is a much better investment of a cook’s time to learn techniques and apply them to foods of one’s own cultural background, so that you gain a basis for cooking. With this basis and feeling for the techniques and ingredients, you can begin to develop your own style and ingenuity that is the marker of a good cook – maybe even eventually a great chef. Child’s emphasis on the “frenchness” of her cooking leads to discouraged cooks and countless imitators of a cuisine full of history and culture.

Okay. Rant over. Other than those few things, I think that the movie was fine. One thread that I found between this movie and the previous shows that we’ve watched is the theme that cooking can “save” a person. In Cooked, Pollan is trying to encourage cooking so that our health and culture can be preserved – saved. In Chef’s Table, each of the individual chefs was saved by food in their own way. Cooking gave them a purpose and a craft that they can master, as well as a goal that they can strive for – much like it did for Julie in this movie.

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One thought on “Julie and Julia

  1. Interesting assessment. I actually did like the movie a good bit, and upon researching Julia Childs while watching I did notice their were some popular criticisms of her. While I agree that her cooking style wasn’t authentic, the movie didn’t portray her intentions as develop a unique style. It was much more focused on her presenting recipes in a manner which American housewives could prepare at home. As far as the movie was concerned, her intention was to make the recipes accessible, not make them great. Regardless of positions on Julia Childs, I think that everyone agrees that Meryl Streep is wonderful.

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