So on Saturday I finally saw Julie & Julia, which I loved. Of course! I have never seen a Nora Ephron movie that I didn’t love. I’ve also never seen a Meryl Streep movie that I did not love (that is, if you don’t include Mamma Mia, which was disturbing on so many levels that it temporarily made me want to break up with Meryl, which I could never, ever do. And Colin Firth, for that matter. So I have permanently erased Mamma Mia from my mental hard drive, so much so that I don’t even remember if it’s Mamma Mia or Mamma Mia! with an exclamation point!) I saw Julie & Julia with my sister Valerie and her neighbor Leslie, because my husband Does Not See Those Kinds of Movies. Which is fine with both of us.
Then on Sunday my friend Kim came over for an impromptu drink before dinner. I couldn’t wait to discuss the movie with her, because she had a very strong reaction to it: specifically, the actor who plays Julie Powell’s husband eats in such a way (with gusto, you could say, if you want to be charitable) that made Kim almost have to leave the movie. In short, he chews with his mouth open, and any thinking person knows that chewing with your mouth open will eventually make everyone around you hate you, no matter how nice a human being you are.
But then Kim made another observation that gave me pause. “If you had a friend who took on a project to cook all of those recipes in a year and blog about it,” she said, “you would just think she was a giant loser.” Now, a note about Kim: She is a successful photographer, mother of three, world traveler, great friend, very funny, terrific cook, perhaps the most beautiful “real person” (as opposed to model or celebrity) I’ve ever met, really good at impersonating people, and always fun to have around. And we usually agree on such matters. This time, though, at the risk of being a giant loser myself, I respectfully disagreed. Now, I never read Julie Powell’s blog, but I thought the project was…interesting. And sort of cool. And something I could never, ever do myself. Although I do really love butter.
So, do tell: If a friend told you she was going to take on a mammoth project like cooking 500+ recipes from Julia Child over the course of a year, what would you think? Hero? Madwoman? Superwoman? Loser?