Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Julie/Julia Project

I'd like to say The Julie/Julia Project had some huge effect on me and got me into cooking and blogging and blogging about cooking... but, in fact, I never heard of it until I was recently trying to decipher Julia Child's omelette technique and Anna mentioned there was someone who had cooked every recipe in Mastering the Art of French Cooking over the course of a year. It's not really surprising I hadn't heard of it since I'm traditionally behind the curve on every pop culture thing... the fact that I started a blog in 2008 and not 2002 and that I've only really had a cell phone for like 3 or 4 years are exhibits A and B, respectively. I also don't get Facebook and don't see the point of Twitter... but in 5 years or so, when you're completely tired of it, I'll think it's the greatest thing since sliced bread(aside: Is sliced bread really that great? Is it so hard to slice bread? I'd say it's actually a fairly terrible invention that announced our departure from home cooking into lunchables or whatever).

So being someone who had never heard of the original blog (still in existence, though not updated - see the link above) a book that summarized it would seem pretty perfect. I checked out about a month worth of entries to see if I liked her style... which I do... she's a much better writer than I am, with a very distinctive voice... though she does say fuck a good bit more than I do :). It's much more about her marriage, friends, and job troubles than it is about cooking though... more of a diary/memoir that includes cooking disasters. I actually think the blog is a better vehicle for this kind of writing than a dead tree publication, but reading through every single entry and comments would be quite an undertaking... so the distillation that the book offers is probably the way to go for most people. It's fairly cute and a quick read... but I'm not sure I think it's a book worth owning unless you are particularly interested in that strange era where bloggers got really famous and made lots of money, but that's why we have libraries... and I can't say I have much guilt about not supporting her in blogger solidarity since she's got a movie of her life coming out with Meryl Streep in it. I think she's doing fine. Since we're urbanites of the same generation who drink a bit too much and who came to get serious about cooking around 30, I thought I would identify a bit more with her... and I think maybe I would if I read her blog from beginning to end, but for whatever reason the book felt more distant... but maybe it's just because I don't have a biological clock and don't hate my job. I dunno. So I guess I give it a "recommended with reservations"... though I don't have the ability to blithely assign an arbitrary score to it.