Remember food blogger Julie Powell’s Julie/Julia Project? Over a year, Julie Powell cooked her way through Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking and blogged about it. Then it became a book. Here’s the NYT review. And now, it’s a movie with Meryl Streep directed by the wonderful Nora Ephron. (I met Ms. Ephron at the movie screening and only gabbed with her for like 3 minutes but she seemed wonderful.)
I saw the movie screening (it comes out in August) with a BookExpo America audience, one well versed in this publishing story, Julia Child’s story and the story of Judith Jones, the American editrix that published Julia first.
Food was the star of the show, after the story of Julie & Julia (or was food first really?). Butter and sauces and meats and fowl and fish were gorgeously shot, luscious to look at and clearly enjoyed by the characters.
The movie also showcased a fictionalized version of Julia Child: her appetite for life, her joie de vivre and her innate sexiness (yes, sexiness). Meryl Streep was the embodiment of this larger than life food icon, and she seemed to be having a great time portraying Julia.
For me, the food, the cooking, Julia Child's story, the copper pots and pans, the whisking, the braising of beef in wine and the trussing of chicken legs were joyous reminders of our collective human affection and respect for food, culinary craft and technique and the wonder that is cooking and entertaining.
For someone that has food allergies, like this Allergic Girl, all the foodie elements of the movie deeply resonated with me.
Are you surprised? Perhaps you think that having food allergies means I dread mealtimes? Or that I should dread them? Or that I wouldn't like movies about food and other people's carefree abandon when eating anything they want, anytime?
I know for many of you, by many I mean millions, mealtimes are fraught with panic, anxiety, even fear and dread. Joy doesn’t enter that dining room; joy is for other people and food.
Let me say to you right now and I hope you listen closely: Joy and food and food allergies can co-exist.
I am proof: My love of food has not been diminished by food allergies. I think my foodie love has been heightened precisely because every safe morsel is savored and treasured and a reason for delight.
Sure, I wolf down a quick rice pasta dish every now on my couch in my jammies without much thought or pomp (like I did while writing this post). But for the most part give me some roasted asparagus in olive oil with sea salt and a fresh squeeze of lemon and watch as I consume each spear with relish.
I invite you to start thinking about this, for yourself. Food and joy and food allergies and then joy again. If you think about this "issue" all the time, then think a little deeper than you have before. Try to be kind to yourself and connect to what you love about sustenance i.e. food. And then maybe see the movie when it comes out. And have some butter.