On my nightstand: Julie and Julia

23rd August 2009

I have to admit, Julie and Julia is no longer on my nightstand, it’s on my book shelf. I read it cover-to-cover in twelve hours yesterday. (I’m a big dork, I know.) When I saw the movie last week I immediately bought the book, but I never imagined I would love it as much as I did. Julie Powell is delightful, laugh-out-loud funny. I felt like I was cooking my way through Mastering the Art of French Cooking (which I’d actually like to do now, save the aspics).


Here are my favorite passages from the end of the book:

“Julia taught me what it takes to find your way in the world. It’s not what I thought it was. I thought it was all about – I don’t know, confidence or will or luck. Those are all some good things to have, no question. But there’s something else, something that these things grow out of.

It’s joy.

Julia Child began learning to cook because she wanted to share good food with her husband, because she’d fallen in love with great food late but hard, because she was in Paris, because she didn’t know what else to do with herself. She was thirty-seven years old. She’d found love, and it was divine. She’d learned to eat, and that was pretty great, too. But it wasn’t enough. She probably thought she’d never find whatever it was that was missing if she hadn’t found it by the age of thirty-seven. But then, at cooking school in Paris, she did.

I didn’t understand for a long time, but what attracted me to MtAoFC was the deeply buried aroma of hope and discovery of fulfillment in it. I thought I was using the Book to learn to cook French food, but really I was learning to sniff out the secret doors of possibility.

Sometimes, if you want to be happy, you’ve got to run away to Bath and marry a punk rocker. Sometimes you’ve got to dye your hair cobalt blue, or wander remote islands in Sicily, or cook your way through Mastering the Art of French Cooking in a year, for no good reason. Julia taught me that.”

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