Meryl Streep as Julia Child. Incidentally, all of the food for the film was actually prepared by Susan Spungen, the former food editor at Martha Stewart Living!
Martha Stewart must also share some affinity with the Amy Adams character. She, too, tried every single one of Julia's recipes when she was a homemaker during the first few years of her marriage. Martha has regularly cited Julia as her foremost idol and influence. It's that blend of country-kitchen ease with uncompromising standards that must have originally appealed to Martha. In many ways, Martha has continued that culinary legacy with her own cookbooks and her own television programs. (Indeed, Julia laid the foundations for an entire generation of celebrity chefs.)
Martha and Julia knew each other and took part in each other's television programs on occasion. The most famous is when Julia joined Martha on her first Holiday special, making crocumbouche at Turkey Hill. Martha's, of course, was perfect: a towering, golden pyramid of sweets, blanketed in ribbons of spun sugar. Julia's was a little lop-sided and askew, a bit of an avalanche-in-waiting. But something tells me it probably tasted better.
Anyone - and I do mean anyone - who calls themselves a home cook needs this book: "Mastering the Art of French Cooking." I have yet to make anything terribly complex from it, but I've made some of the basics. My former employer gave me her original copy, which was nicely used and smudged with butter stains. Beautiful!
A series of DVDs was released with ten episodes each of the old French Chef program, put together by WGBH, Boston's public television station. These DVDs are, by far, the most loving collection of Julia's best work on television, complete with a fully-illustrated booklet.
"Appetite for Life, the Biography of Julia Child " by Noel Riley Fitch is one of the best biographies I've ever read. It is loving without being overly sychophantic. It traces Julia's life from her childhood days as the rambunctious daughter of wealthy California merchants to her misfired attempts at professional journalism, all the way to France and back. It looks at some of her relationships (romantic and otherwise) and paints the portrait of an eternal optimist, despite some bouts of loneliness. It's a fantastic book.
I saw the film on the weekend and I'm very glad I did! Meryl Streep delivers her usual gold-star performance playing the incomparable Julia Child, and Amy Adams is endearing as a determined blogger and everlasting Julia Child admirer. The movie made me fall in love with the art of blogging all over again and certainly reconfirmed my love for Julia Child - and Meryl Streep...and food! When I got home we made an enormous dinner, slathered in too much butter, and toasted Julia and the joy of food!