Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Julia: No Enemy of Shortcuts

This past weekend, I finally got around to watching the movie "Julie & Julia." I enjoyed it, although I would have preferred to learn more about Julia Child's life, instead of seeing quite as much of Julie Powell's whiny, angst-ridden persona displayed on the big screen.

Maybe there's another reason I should have been annoyed by Julie Powell. According to this column by Ezra Klein in today's Washington Post:
. . . the past is being massaged to fit the needs of the present. In the movie, Amy Adams, playing blogger Julie Powell, tries to explain the importance of Child to her husband.

"She changed everything," Powell says. "Before her, it was frozen food and can openers and marshmallows." And after her? Most of us have all three in our kitchens. And no rendered beef tallow in our freezer.

"I felt like jumping up in my seat in the movie and saying, 'No, no, no!'" says Laura Shapiro, author of Julia Child: A Life. "There were things that came in cans she liked just fine, like chicken broth. She dubbed Uncle Ben's Rice 'l'Oncle Ben's.' "

Child adored supermarkets and admired McDonald's. She thought premade pie crust a wonderful invention and was supportive of irradiating food for safety. Cooking, for her, was not in conflict with progress. Rather it was, or could be, in partnership with it.
As a self-admitted user of premade pie crust, I think Klein makes a good point.

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