Julie & Julia

My wife and I went to an advance screening of Julie and Julia at Gold Class. I ate an amazing concoction of ice cream and crushed Maltesers, approximately the size of my head, while watching Meryl Streep and Amy Adams pretend to be a couple of chefs finding themselves through food. It was fantastic.

I really enjoyed it, although there’s a bit of a dissonance at the end, where I think the movie doesn’t quite resolve one of the key conflicts in the book. By this I of course mean Julie Powell’s book. It has been published under a couple of subtitles, so don’t let the split catalog records throw you.

If you’d prefer to follow up the story of Julia Child’s time in France in more detail, her memoir was called My life in France, and we have heaps of copies. We also have the book which she was co-writing in the film Mastering the art of French cooking: volume 1.

We don’t have the other nine volumes – sadly there’s little demand for Julia’s style of cookbook in modern libraries. Her work, for its time, was considered incredibly quick and simple, but modern readers find it fussy, time-consuming, and they hate books that don’t have full colour pictures of every dish. We do have her notebook on cooking technique on order, and its an excellent summation of methods, if not of her recipes. It’s called Julia’s kitchen wisdom. This is a 2009 release, and its only 128 pages, so it’s not as daunting to casual readers, or time-strapped foodies, as the ten volume opus was.

If you are looking for something in the opus line, the book that she is given in the film, Larousse Gastronomique, is available in the reference section of most of our branches. It’s a heck of a read, for food nuts, but its focus in on the training of professional chefs. It was revised in 2001, and is excellent.

Oh, and of course, I should link Julie Powell’s blog here.  She’s on Salon.com, which is a fanstastic website for finding bookish discussions.