Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Julia would be proud

How meta is this? Blogging about a movie that is about a blog. But either way, I simply must rant and ramble about 'Julie and Julia' which is one of the best movies that I have seen in quite a while. You see, Julia Child holds special significance for the women in my family. In the fifties and sixties, during Julia's meteoric rise to fame, my grandmother, a young wife to a Unitarian minister lived and breathed gourmet cooking. She made meals that would have made Julia proud. Which is, judging by the movie, a qualifiable thing.

I myself have spent hours poring over her books trying to recreate her masterpieces. What is nice about her books is that yes, the recipes are hard (which is in itself refreshing for the at-home chef who has tried everything) but they are beautiful and delicious. Julia Child never says 'here is an easier version of this beautiful, delicious thing'. She gives you instructions and fully believes that anyone is capable of it. I myself recently made myself and Julia proud by cooking her duck pate. Deboning and defleshing an entire duck, baking the seasoned forcemeat and breast in its own skin. It was divine. I remember trying to make Isles Flotant with my mom out of that very same cookbook when I was ten or so. The islands did not float, but there was something about trying to burn our own sugar for caramel that was strangely affirming. You don't usually need to buy a ton of crazy imported products for these recipes (like some cookbooks of late, which are of the more difficult variety but mostly in the form of frustrating grocery shopping) with a pound of butter and a pound of sugar and some cream in the fridge, you are capable of anything.

As I watched Julie and Julia, I also noticed the beautiful flame red Le Creuset dutch oven and braisers they were using. These things are so cool they make me salivate. My grandmother used to have them, but had to give them up as they are quite heavy and her arthritis wouldn't allow for it. Now I have something to put on my christmas list for next year, or maybe if I get a big fat tax refund I'll splurge.

Next on the list is stuffed cabbage, and Mike has been making sounds like he wants an aspic. Yes an aspic. So if I can steal a jelly mold from my mother, I may just try it. For Julia.

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