Food and drink: Longing for the good life 

Julie, Julia and us, in the kitchen, microwaving KD — and reading

I don't know if Columbia Pictures planned this, but the release date for the movie Julie & Julia this past weekend falls remarkably and, one hopes, auspiciously close to the anniversary dates of both Julia Child's birth, Aug. 15, 1912, and her death, Aug. 13, 2004.

'Tis as though 'twere ordained. Given that the inimitable Ms. Child, played by Meryl Streep, was such a singular force of nature, it may well be the case, if only such things were possible.

More likely, Paramount thought this light-hearted flick would make for good summertime box office returns, and it does.

But another unforeseen and far larger result has been a tidal wave of renewed interest in the one, the only, the ebullient Julia Child. Her books are back on best-seller lists - again - some 50 years later, and Le Creuset cookware is marching off the shelves of culinary stores around the planet.

By comparison, this Child-ish renaissance leaves Julie Powell, recreated in the film by Amy Adams, somewhat standing in the pastry flour dust, so to speak, despite the fact that this witty New York blogger, who cooked her way through the 1961 classic Mastering the Art of French Cookery , which Child co-authored along with two other female gastronomes, made her way to her own epiphany (cooking is good), her own bestseller ( Julie & Julia ), movie royalties, plus another book on the way. My, my.

Although I must say, it is engaging and très très post-post-modern to be able to visit Ms. Powell's blog and check out her responses to the movie, to the critics, to the fame, to her own narrative arc, and to the responses to her responses. Then you get to read the comments, 159 posted Monday, another 438 posted opening day, responding to her responses, to the movie, to the critics, to the fame, to her own narrative arc and sometimes how their own narrative arcs compare, or don't, and to the responses to her responses, naturellement .

Oh, you also can bear witness to the classic reveal - what Julie cooked for dinner the other night.

Aargh! Give me the real Julia, please - tall as a basketball player on steroids with a voice like, well, like a man, say, John Cleese, all campy and pretending to be a woman.

Then teleport me back to pre-Blogger 1963, when most people, at least the common folk, saw her in action for the first time in grainy black-and-white television on The French Chef, run for many years by the venerable public broadcaster, WGBH in Boston. The show delivered Julia to hoards of hungry North Americans, longing for something more, much like our contemporary blogging friend, Julie.


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