Saturday, 24 October 2009

Julie and Julia: a film for food lovers

Earlier this week I went to see the film Julie and Julia. I loved it and, if you like food, you'll probably love it, too. As a Brit, it didn't matter that I was only loosely aware of Julia Child or that there was no mention of Elizabeth David who was just as influential. It is warm, gentle and thoroughly entertaining and reveals the powerful role food can play in people's lives; as someone who has adored cooking since the age of seven, I was captivated from beginning to end.

The film portrays two food-obsessed women. Julia Child's passion is fired when her diplomat husband's work takes them to Paris. Via hatmaking and other hobbies, she settles on cookery, studying at the Cordon Bleu school. Half a century later in New York, failed novelist Julie Powell realises that her enthusiasm for cookery compensates for the deficiencies of her job in a insurance company. The two women's stories are brought together by Julie's decision to try every recipe of Julia's book, Mastering the Art of French Cooking and document her experiences in a blog.

There are a number of memorable scenes depicting both women sharing their creations with their husbands and friends (and seeing Meryl Streep's Julia Child enjoying Parisian restaurants and food shops and markets for the first time is priceless). The film demonstrates just how pleasurable and therapeutic cooking can be and how it is a tool for expressing love.

In our materialistic, yet economically challenged world, reflecting on these simpler pleasures helps remind us what really matters. This delightful film shows how mood enhancing some time in the kitchen can be, whether Julia Child in Paris or Cambridge, Massachusetts or Julie Powell in Queens (or Lucy in London). Bon appetit!

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