The film “Julie and Julia” tells the story of a blogger, Julie Powell, who cooks her way through Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking. But the treat is the film’s depiction of Julia Child’s first years in France, studying French cuisine. The World’s Adeline Sire has more.
Listen to chef Jacques Pepin tell how Julia Child sliced her finger and created a media frenzy–and a spoof on Saturday Night Live.
Julia Child presents a variety of chickens on “The French chef.”
Julia Child’s The French Chef talks about the varieties of chickens
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LISA MULLINS: Another French institution is in no danger of fading away, although this one’s not technically French. We’re talking about the late Julia Child. Her classic “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” introduced French cuisine to Americans back in the 1960s. There’s a new film coming out called “Julie and Julia.” It’s directed by Nora Ephron. The film tells the story of blogger Julie Powell who cooked her way through Julia Child’s cookbook in 2002. But it also chronicles Child’s first years in France, where she discovered the art of cuisine, and in the process, herself. The World’s Adeline Sire has more.
ADELINE SIRE: On November third, 1948, her first day in France, Julia Child took a fateful step. She and her husband had lunch at the restaurant La Couronne in Rouen, Normandy. The lunch included a Sole Meuniere, a Dover sole sautéed in butter. It was apparently a life altering moment. Here’s what Julia Child later said about it in the book “My Life in France.” “It was an epiphany. In all the years since that succulent meal, I have yet to lose the feelings of wonder and excitement that it inspired in me. I can still almost taste it.” She called it the most exciting meal of her life. The new film, Julie and Julia, shows that meal and other transformative moments in Julia Child’s life in France, as she studied and mastered French cuisine. French-born chef, Jacques Pepin co-hosted the PBS cooking show Julia and Jacques cooking at home. The two were close friends. He says he enjoyed the film Julie and Julia, especially the sole meuniere scene.
JACQUES PEPIN: When she stopped in Rouen to eat their first sole meuniere that she discussed very often with us, the shot of the food there was incredible, it was really good.
ADELINE SIRE: It’s during another meal that Julia Child began to close-in on her passion. In this scene, Julia, played by Meryl Streep, and her husband Paul, played by Stanley Tucci, are dining
at a restaurant. The restless Julia wonders what she will do with herself in France while her husband is working at the American Embassy.
ADELINE SIRE: [INDISCERNIBLE] as Meryl Streep is a very believable Julia Child, even though she’s about eight inches shorter than the American chef. And the high-pitched voice is right on. But Pepin says he wishes Julie and Julia had spent less time on the blogger Julie Powell, and more time showing Julia Child cooking in her kitchen. He says the scenes showing the trials of Child, as the only female student at the Cordon Bleu school in Paris, really brought back memories for him.
JACQUES PEPIN: Julia always joked that we wanted to apprenticeship at the same. I mean, I was in an apprenticeship in 1949 when she came to Paris. So of course I was 13 years old. However, the style of cuisine that she’s talking and the reaction, and the way the chef act, and all that, I was pretty familiar with that because this is the way it was when I was a kid. There was discipline, there was certainly a scale of where you belong in the kitchen, you know?
ADELINE SIRE: Where French cooking was concerned, Julia Child wanted Americans to feel that they belonged in the kitchen. And she insisted that even if French cuisine could be intimidating, it was not rocket science. Take a recipe for the sole meuniere.
JACQUES PEPIN: Salt, pepper, dip it in flower, and in a skillet with butter, depending on the size of the sole, three, four minutes on each side. And with a little of lemon juice at the end. That’s it.
ADELINE SIRE: The film Julie and Julia is for foodies and non-foodies alike. It opens tomorrow nationwide and it’ll definitely make you hungry for buttery French cooking. For The World, this is Adeline Sire.
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