Friday, August 21, 2009

If no one's in the kitchen, who's to see?

Seattle friends finally able to tear ourselves away from a myriad of responsibilities to see the much anticipated Julie & Julia, the movie about two foodies from different times Julia Child and the Texan living in Queens, NY, woman who with the help of her supportive and famished husband blogs through "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" over the course of a year.

We take time, sometimes once a month, sometimes more often-but never enough, to get together, smell the roses...or in this case, the beef bourguignon. I guarantee that by the time you leave the theater you will swear that you can.

I did not wear the string of pearls mom had given me years ago, its been too hot, it also turned into a balmy night. Barbara wore her cool cotton pedal pushers and was the envy of us.

Being a collector of Julia's books for a few years....


I wonder what became of our 'Mastering the Art of French Cooking'. What is even more mysterious is three of us are missing copies from our shelves.

Maybe they are keeping each other company.

The movie begins with Julie and husband moving from Queens NY to Brooklyn NY over a Pizza Parlor and Julia and husband to a fabulous Paris apartment.

My favorite car in the world is the 1955 Citro├źn DS, designed by Flaminio Bertoni it was named 'Most beautiful car of all time' by Classic & Sports Car magazine.



But I was smitten with the 1947 turquoise Buick Roadmaster station wagon used in the movie, I read Paul Child named it "Flash".



Upon further research on the web about the Buick I found a couple of discussions questioning the accuracy of the date and model.

Take for instance these convos on separate Auto Clubs.

"Mr. Mark Ricker, the film's production manager in an article written by Mr. Darrell Hartman. When Ricker was asked about the car, he had the following description to give: "A 1947 (sic-clearly it was a 1950) wooded blue Buick station wagon. They called it "The Blue Flash". We found it in France. It could have been Paul and Julia's original car, as far as we know."

"In the movie Julie and Julia, the Buick Estate Wagon is clearly a 1950 "four-holer" Roadmaster, but with a '49 style two-piece windshield. My Buick reference book doesn't mention such a configuration, and even my memory says the windshield was one piece. One web page I came across states, "Special still has the split windshield", which logically means that the Super and Roadmaster didn't."

There also seems to be some speculation the car was modified.

Back to the movie.

Streep was given Julia's height by the angles of the camera, tabletops lowered, shorter actors...like the market scenes. Also lifts were used. Not terribly attractive platform shoes or high heeled sneakers. eek.


I don't remember Julia ever wearing anything like them.



The shoes just did not seem quite right, but I'm probably just being nitpicky because, well, that's my job.

I remember Julia's enthusiastic personality watching her shows over my mother's shoulder, Julia sipping her wine as she cooked, as friend Sara pointed out, a pinch of this and that...not too worried about exact measures, sipping and cooking, chatting and laughing and disturbingly 'playing' with those plucked chickens. Julia had a way of holding them on the table in a way that it looked like they were dancing.

Ponder this story told by an esteemed acquaintance.

One evening you and your partner are cooking a special dinner for guests out of the pages of one of Julia's books, one of the sauces is not turning quite the way you expected. One of you look in the phone book and you cant believe that Julia is actually listed! After a couple of glasses of fine wine and a little courage you ring her for advice, probably doubting she will even pick up the phone, you expect an assistant or an answering machine, at best, urging you to leave a message for an appointment.

You are surprised and delighted, once again, when Julia herself answers and she does not even seem bothered or annoyed, she gladly volunteers to walk you through the process on the phone. After several tries when there seems to be no progress she asks about your impressive wine collection and suggests, if you mind, if she drops by!?

Mind??

That evening she is your 'private chef', to the shock and surprise of your guests who are probably still pinching themselves after all these years, she joins the guests and you are able to enjoy her company till the wee hours of the morning.

I'm guessing Julie Powell would not be terribly pleased with this story as, according to what has been told, her goal was to attract Julia's attention. Sort of like when there is a fan at a rock show who is constantly yelling the musician's name, except Julie's method was subtle.

Isn't that life though?

Sometimes, when you least expect it, the stars align perfectly and magic happens. Unplanned.

Totally by chance.

And sometimes we simply live with our dreams.

Streep is one of our favorite actresses, we felt she played Julia to a T.

a Streep cooking tip from one of her interviews about the movie: 'You can remove the odor of garlic and onions from your hands by rubbing them with salt and cool water, It actually works better than hot water and soap.' she said.

The scene of Julie in Dean & De Luca made my heart skip, those tiny tins, treasures in any serious foodie's kitchen shelves, they found their way, to my delight (and wallet relief) in (gasp) discount gourmet places. Stores where a poor college student could afford a bit of luxury, or as Julia would have said 'Those without a cook'

The post war Paris scenes and fashions were a delight, another reason I was looking forward to seeing the movie, being in the vintage business and all.

I confess I cringed and even closed my eyes during most of the lobster scene.

'LOBSTER KILLA!'

But simply couldn't help cracking a smile during the one where they are sitting at the table and Julie is wearing a lobster pin. I am a lobster pin collector, my favorite found in a Woodstock NY gallery, red enamel with black marcasites.

My NYC kitchen happened to be painted turquoise, as I now realize so was Julia's, with many red lobsters on the walls, that's where the similarity ends. After a few years my collection morphed into all sorts of lobster items as friends gave me anything lobster. Ashtrays, key chains, magnets, pot holders, dishes, candle holders, bottle opener...even Lobster Man!

Here he is, happily riding on Godzilla's tail





A gift from a special friend

A "star aligning perfectly" moment in my life.



What fun it must have been to shop for this movie! The thrill of the hunt one hundred times over.

Some say more should have been made of the Julia vs Julie's blog snub but I 'got it' and I thought the movie did just fine without adding to the already rather awkward situation.

The movie had an excellent cast. The love depicted between Julia and Paul was heart warming.

After we exited the theater we chatted about it for some time, comparing our childhood and early adulthood Julia memories. Barb, being the excellent cook that she is, told us she was actually able to conquer the Aspic recipe without making soup and that her prize dish, prepared in Chicago from 'Mastering the Art' was the Veal Prince Orloff.

The movie has lit my fire to dig through my collection for fashions of the era.

A quickie




Vogue Trend Reports the recession was still Topic A in the front rows of fall shows, maybe that's why they also announced the 40's is 'in'

Vintage will always be a smart investment.


Follow this link to an article found in Country Living mag with interesting tidbits about Julia's kitchen and the movie.

I highly recommend this movie, even those unable to boil water will find it charming.
Bon appetit!

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