More about Julia

With the movie where Meryl Streep plays Julia Child in the
theaters, a lot of people are writing about her. I’ve already
commented on the Michael Pollan
article
. Here are two other posts worth thinking about:

  • Don’t Buy Julia
    Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking — You will never cook
    from it
    in slate.com takes the point of view that:

    The inconvenient truth is that although the
    country’s best-loved “French chef” produced an unparalleled
    recipe collection in Mastering the Art, it has always been
    daunting. It was never meant for the frivolous or trendy. And it
    now seems even more overwhelming in a Rachael Ray world: Those
    thousands and thousands of cookbooks sold are very likely going
    to wind up where so many of the previous printings
    have — in pristine condition decorating a kitchen
    bookshelf or on a nightstand, handy for vicarious cooking and
    eating.

    I acquired a one-volume copy last summer when I was cleaning out Bonnie’s
    house. I admit I haven’t yet cooked anything from it, and it is
    fairly pristine, although Bonnie cooked a lot from quite a
    number of her cookbooks. But I expect to change that this month
    — I won a box of organic cake flour from King Arthur Flour,
    and unlike most of my other cookbooks, Julia has recipes that
    specify (and presumably were tested with) cake flour.

  • Rachel
    Laudan
    , in her blog about food politics and food history,
    writes a post comparing Julia Child with Elizabeth David, who
    wrote the books about French cooking that caused her generation
    in England to discover it. She says:

    So although their dishes overlapped, David and Julia offered their audiences quite different ideas about cuisine. David’s was this breath of scented air, recipes as poetic guides to possibilities, a touch of sophistication and class for the aspiring. Julia’s allure was the challenge, the hard work, the mastery the guaranteed results that offered entry into a tempting international world.

    Neither vision had much to do with what French housewives, still
    reeling from World War II, actually cooked (here and here),
    an observation not a criticism.

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