Bon appetit! – two words that simply mean good appetite or enjoy your meal – but to the world at large these two little words are synonymous with one person – Julia Child.  And admit it, you can’t say it without adding your own impersonation of Julia’s voice!  Bon appetit!  Go on… say it – you know you want to!

The French Chef

Julia Child, co-author of Mastering the Art of French Cooking, as well as a shelf full of other cook books, was the host of early televisions’ The French Chef from 1963 – 1973 and 10 (yes 10!) other cooking shows.  Julia Child paved the way for every reality show chef on television today.

Julia Child photo credit:
Julia Child.  Photo Credit:  Julia Child Foundation
A Pioneer Woman

It’s not often that I can say I was too young for the time – but when it comes to Julia – it’s true.  When she was on television I was too young to appreciate what she had to offer, and quite frankly as an adolescent I wasn’t overly concerned with cooking shows.

But now, I find myself loving Julia and wishing I had been more in tune back in the day.  Not so much for the cooking, although she was truly gifted, but for the person herself.   In many ways she was a square peg in a round hole, but she rose above it all and lived life accordingly.  She had a fierce determination to find her path in life and she was passionately in love with her husband, Paul Child, for 48 years – until his death. She was, a pioneer among women.

Julia and Paul Child photo credit:
Julia & Paul Child.  Photo Credit: Smithsonian Magazine
Julie & Julia

Lying in bed the other night waiting to drift off to sleep I was channel surfing and came across the movie, Julie and Julia and having previously seen it (and loved it) I fell asleep watching Meryl Streep’s priceless performance of Julia. It makes me laugh every time I watch and so I went to sleep, I’m sure, with a smile on my face – but, not before I hit the record button so I could actually watch the movie the next night as well.

Have you seen the movie?  I know, it’s a romantic comedy, but done right such movies can provide a couple of hours of highly entertaining film.  What could go wrong with a film that offers Meryl Streep, Stanley Tucci and Amy Adams. Nora Ephron who wrote the screenplay and directed the film.  Okay, I suppose there are those who thought the movie was too saccharin sweet. But I like the movie.  There I said it.  I’ll say it again – I like love the movie.

photo credit:
photo credit:
Julie Powell

Anyway, I did a little digging and it turns out that Julie Powell actually had very little to do with the film – apparently she sold the rights to her book and that was that.  Well, I’m sure there was much more to the story but that’s my abbreviated version. What intrigued me though was the scene, in the movie, in which Julie finds out from a reporter that Julia didn’t like Julie’s blog – The Julie and Julia Project.

A Stunt?

A Apparently, Julia (along with her editor) did read a snippet or two of the blog and she felt it was a stunt; that Julie wasn’t taking the food seriously.  Also, Julia did not like anyone making money from her name.  It was hers after all.

Child’s editor, Judith Jones, said in an interview: “Flinging around four-letter words when cooking isn’t attractive, to me or Julia. She didn’t want to endorse it. What came through on the blog was somebody who was doing it almost for the sake of a stunt. She would never really describe the end results, how delicious it was, and what she learned. Julia didn’t like what she called ‘the flimsies’. She didn’t suffer fools, if you know what I mean.”

 Not Amy Adams’ Portrayal

Even more intrigued, I went looking for Julie’s blog and found a few passages, but mostly I found a lot of Error 404 messages.  I have watched a couple of Youtube videos.  I can say, with some certainty, that Julie Powell was not the character portrayed by Amy Adams.  Suffice it to say the title of Julie Powell’s current blog is:  “What Could Happen? – Musings from a Soiled and Narcissistic Whore.”  ‘Nuf said, but she does seem to have a large following.  Who’s to say?  I can’t help but wonder though if Julia would have enjoyed Meryl Streep’s portrayal of her.

My Life in France – Bon Appetit

The other half of the narrative in the film is Julia’s story based on her book, My Life in France.  It was written with her grandnephew and they collaborated over the last eight months of Julia’s life.  When our busy tourist season comes to a close in a couple of months, I am looking forward to getting to know Julia a bit more through the technology of Kindle and Julia’s words.

Stay tuned because I’ll be sharing a few of Julia’s classic recipes.  Until then – Bon appetit!

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