Monday, February 15, 2010
Julia, Julie and Lisa
Is it possible to be in love with a pot?
In my case, yes. You may be wondering why on earth on a blog that has been dedicated entirely to writing, I am crooning about the ridiculously expensive Dutch oven I bought yesterday.
Bear with me. Somehow I will connect this to writing. But first I want to talk about cooking. And Valentine's Day. And the movie Julia and Julie.
Saturday was a busy, busy day for me. I cleaned. Then I went downtown to a gallery opening with my colleagues where a few of our fine students had work in a juried show. Then hubby and I went to IKEA and bought a new couch for the living room (at last) and a desk for my work area. SO, by the time he put on Julia and Julie, I was pooped and not all that engaged. But I loved the movie. And I fell in love with Julie Childs (well, with Meryl Streep as Julia Childs).
So on Sunday, when our plans to go out for a family Valentine's Day dinner seemed like not such a good idea because my daughter had a guitar recital scheduled from 6PM to 7:30 (yes, thank you Riverdale Y—great planning) I decided, all on my own to go Julia. I raced to Bed, Bath and Beyond and bought this magnificent red enameled beauty, eschewing other inferior (but cheaper) models. I knew that Julia would approve of my choice.
I came home laden with food, the Dutch oven and a potato ricer for making mashed potatoes and cooked up a storm. Roast chicken, garlic mashed potatoes and asparagus in cream, all from different JC recipes I found online. I slathered on the butter. And UGHHH. But it was amazing and the food VANISHED with no leftovers in a frantic eating frenzy.
Next Julia recipe, however, I am making modifications. OLIVE OIL. (sorry, Julia).
Okay. What's with me? Why did I love this movie so much? One reason was the lowly young writer, Julie Powell who gave herself a goal and stuck with it, despite the inconvenience. The other was the portrayal of Julia herself, a woman already in the autumn of her years, who stumbles on a consuming passion and does not back down. Both women found a way to persevere for the LOVE OF IT and not for the goals they would achieve. Sure, Julia wanted her cookbook published and Julie just wanted to write something someone would read. But what I took from this movie was the passion for the creating. And I want to write this way. For the love of it.
Then I thought..hmmm. I can do something fun that my family will love with food to thank them for putting up with MY all-consuming passion (writing) which often means they get dinner very late and not always Julia-quality.
So it was my Valentine's gift to the family for putting up with me, I guess. But it was also a tribute to women who strive to achieve and still put food on the table.
Why not enjoy all of it?
The nice benefit to this was as I was struggling to squeeze the potatoes through the ricer, my 14 year-old daughter came in and for possibly the first time in years, wanted to cook with me. I asked her if this was because of the movie and she admitted it was. Then we both discussed how movies (and books) can change and influence us. So it all came around full circle. And she did a smashing job on those potatoes!