How I Taught My Brother To Cook

Improvisational Tuscan-Provençal-Catalan Cookery (and other good stuff to eat)

Well, it's been some time since the movie came out and an even longer time since the "project" began, but none the less it is now time to comment on it/them.

The movie itself was ok. Nothing I would watch again, but then again, rarely do I ever watch any movie more than once. The acting was good although the production itself was a bit lacking. I would have rather seen a movie about Julia Child's life.

The "project" was a very interesting concept. Developed primarily out of boredom. The project gained notoriety slowly but began gaining speed because of the unique idea plus it was piggy-backing off the fame of Julia Child which in itself spawned interest from media types. It is evident that Child's fame gave the project the catalyst it needed to make it beyond the internet's anonymity. If the cookbook used to make all the recipes were by a lesser known individual then the outcome could have been very much different if not non-existent. As it were, the cards fell into place and those that needed to be made aware, were and since it becomes a business of who knows who, the wheels of fortune and fame were in motion. This is what brought "Julie" up and to the forefront.

Julia on the other hand, created a character or should I say, created her own destiny. It was very important that she was who she was as a person. For it was this persona and love for life that inspired her to tread where others would not even think. An almost "ignorance is bliss" attitude which shed fear before venturing on. Be that as it may, things may still not have fallen into place if she had not connections in the right places. Primarily, a contact/agent in the publishing business. Remember, nobody gets anywhere without the aid of others in the right places. That is just a fact. So whether it be a book or TV show, important insiders were key ingredients.

Now while Julia, out of boredom, never really had a goal of becoming famous for writing or television, she took what was given her and ran with it but not to the extent of selling out. If she was going to do it, it was by her terms and philosophy. So, yes even though she knew people in the right places does not mean what she did was not monumental nor unachieving. It was her genuine persona that made it all work. Think about it......teaching Americans to cook French is or was in great demand? I think not. People tuned in to watch the woman. Book sales were because of television. After all, who knew Julia until they saw her on television? Hell, who knows anyone before they see them on TV?

Just saw and old show with her and Jacque Pepin yesterday. She had to be in her late 80's if not 90 when the show was recorded. Yes, age robbed her of some manual skills in the kitchen but her wit and candor was alive and well.

If you want to watch cooking shows, try to rent some old Julia Child episodes. They run rings around ANY cooking shows that are out there today. And you know why? To her it was ok to make a mistake in the kitchen. It was normal. It was human. She never was embarrassed or felt sorry whenever she goofed something up. But today! God forbid if the shows areN'T squeaky clean, prim, proper and TASTELESS!!!.

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Comment by John Barrows on January 4, 2010 at 2:20pm
I have watched all the Julia Child shows on DVD in the last year or so. The thing that struck me the most was the quantity of cream and butter she used. That style is very true in parts of France (and makes up the major stereotype of French cooking). Remember, in her shows and in her books, her goal was to bring French cooking to American women - and so she strove to make it accessible by "authorizing" the use of ingredients not commonly found then in American markets. However, as much loved, respected and admired as she was by her targeted audience, like all cooking shows then and now, most people didn't actually go out and cook the stuff. It was then, and it is now entertainment - and as Patrick says it was her personality that captured the audience. Julie's gimmick was clearly an attempt at capturing her own 15 minutes of fame, and she lucked out - riding on Julia's coattails. Good for her! It's the American way - where anything is possible.


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