Julie, Julia & Me






Recently, I picked up an interesting book at my local library: “Julie & Julia” by a Julie Powell.

It is interesting because it got me thinking. And nowadays not many books can do that. Well, not that many anyway.

It is by no means a new book having been published in 2005. But then again I am not exactly known for picking up the latest trend, being rather a latecomer in everything from music to TV programmes, you name it.

When Nirvana was touring the world, I lived in a parallel universe, all of my own, oblivious to its existence, even when they played in Buenos Aires, the very city I inhabited. Of course, by the time I was aware of WHO they were, it was too late and I was left banging my head against my bedroom wall having missed out on the only opportunity E-VER of seeing them play live (for those of you who don’t yet know it, Kurt Cobain blew his brains off shortly afterwards).

When the entire cast of Friends was in town (London in this case, the very city I was living in) to film the ending of season 4 (The One with Ross’ Wedding to Helen Baxendale, remember?) I was probably the only soul in the whole of London who, after seeing the guys everywhere: TV reports, newspapers, magazines, you name it, I mean everywhere, was still wondering: “Who the HELL are these people? Why is everyone making such a fuss?” Needless to say I became a hardcore Friends fan from that moment on and I am one to this day.

But back to Julie and her book.

Maybe I feel empathy because she wrote a blog and I am doing the same.

In any case I thought the idea of “The Project” was quite an interesting one and (it got me thinking) maybe, just maybe, I should start a Project of my own. Although, why on Earth should I want to cook my way through an entire single cookery book (single here being the key word) is beyond me. Being the proud owner of hundreds (yes, hundreds) of cookery books I wouldn’t want to cook my way through any one of them. What would I do with the rest of my books? Even less appealing is cooking my way through every single recipe in The Book when many of those recipes go against my principles (vivisecting a live lobster, anyone?). I also failed to see the point in cooking your way indiscriminately through MtAoFC when many of the recipes, as documented by Julie in said book, were a flop. Am I alone in thinking that to get a recipe right it is infinitely better to do it over and over again until you get it right? After all, that’s the whole point of cooking a recipe from scratch, I mean, learning to make it properly, right? But maybe that’s just me.

I also have a huge problem trying to understand why people would want to cook a lot of recipes for things they do not like to eat. Me being me, I prefer to pick and choose what I like to eat and then and only then, cook it. I am sorry but that’s my criteria.

Zillion of years ago, back in the days when Jamie Oliver (my hero) had a website he actually read, he replied to a question that was rendering me sleepless at night: Could I, an ex-vegetarian, now officially a chef, live up to my profession without eating my way through every single form of, let’s just say, edible thing out there? I had just read a blurb for Anthony Bourdain’s newest book, A Cook’s Tour, in which he boasts of having eaten the (still beating) heart of a cobra. I have viciously hated the man ever since. What’s the need? Seriously. I did see him on TV for the tie-in TV series going into a Japanese restaurant to eat fugu (河豚, , フグ), the famously lethal Japanese fish, and I swear I’ve never ever wished for anything in my life more than I did that time that the chef of said restaurant had committed hara-kiri for having prepared the fish incorrectly.

Anyway, I am getting carried away here. Jamie did reply to me and he said (I still have his answer to this day) that it was perfectly OK to go through life without having to eat all forms of living things out there be it out of principle or, say, because you were allergic to them or something. Just in case, I decided there and then that I was going to be a Pastry Chef.

With that out of the way, I am enjoying the book enormously. Although most of the entertainment comes from Julie’s failures at, say, knowing how to time things properly and keeping everyone waiting until 12.00-ish a.m. to eat pancakes with cheese.

Going as I do to a professional chef school, therefore knowing how and when to get things done in advance (making the pancakes batter the day before actually improves them, believe it or not) I figured that were I to write about a project of my own it would make for very dull reading indeed. After all, what’s the fun in writing: “I got the pancake batter done, put it in the fridge, went to bed and the next morning after having brushed my teeth, I made all my pancakes which I then piled one on top of the other with a piece of greaseproof paper to separate each one”. You would be crying of boredom, believe me.

Perhaps in a not-so-long future I too will have a Project of my own, only that, instead of cooking my way through MtAoFC vol. 2 I will probably tackle “Baking with Julia” which seems to me a far safer bet.


So there.



3 thoughts on “Julie, Julia & Me

  1. Posts about Cookery Books as of March 16, 2009 | The Cookery Books Site

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