April 27, 2008

The Julie/Julia Project


Have you heard of this?

It was an ambitious project. Julie Powell, about to turn 30 and stuck in a job that was less than satisfying, decided to undertake cooking all the recipes of Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child (and Louisette Bertholle and Simone Beck) in a year's time. That's right. 524 recipes. 365 days. She blogged about it the whole time.

I just finished the book, Julie & Julia, that tells the tale.

I can't help but think I wish I had thought of it first. I mean... the premise is fabulous. Trying to cook each recipe (the names of which I could pronounce one out of 19) in a 40-year-old cookbook. Who cooks every recipe in the whole cookbook besides... the authors?! Let alone in NYC in a small apartment. But to be sure, I could not have done what she did. I don't have the guts to try to cook some of those dishes.



I have a big curiosity in the cooking that took place 20... 30... 40 years ago. When people thought it was normal to spend a lot of time in the kitchen for a simple weeknight meal. When ingredients weren't available all year 'round. When some ingredients may not have been available at all. Or when ingredients were used that are obsolete today.

This book satisfied that curiosity. And it was a fun read. I could have done with a little less commentary on her friend's lives, but whatever. Who cares. I enjoyed reading about making (and eating!) aspic, the brains soaking in her bathtub and dealing with preparing lobster. I even enjoyed the not-so-wild lineup of recipes in the book.

Oh, and I kept a copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking bedside as I read Julie & Julia. It was so fun to read the actual recipe and the Julie's commentary.

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