I know I’m late to the party but I’d be remiss if I didn’t post about two true stories of life transformation — Julia Child and Julie Powell — celebrated on the big screen this summer.
Julie Powell was lost in a cubicle job when she decided to blog about making her way through Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking, producing all 524 recipes in 365 days.
I get weepy watching that trailer not because of Julie Powell’s obsessive mission, but because it’s so powerful to consider a time when a cultural force like Julia Child didn’t know what she wanted to do with her life. What a relief! If Julia Child can have a midlife crisis wondering what her real calling is, there’s hope for all of us.
I recently stumbled onto Julie Powell’s new blog called “What Could Happen?” On it, she addresses her relationship with her hero, Julia Child:
A lot of people have been asking whether it’s true that Julia Child wasn’t a big fan of Julie Powell, and whether she and I really didn’t meet. Both of those things are true – Julia, I think, from what I gather, was less irritated than simply uninterested. Which, when I first found out, was of course devastating.
But the thing about Julia, to me, was that she was a real person – a great 6-foot-2 force of nature, with tremendous gifts, nearly limitless energy and generosity, firm opinions, and even a few flaws. That’s what I love about her – she inspired because she was a woman, not a saint. Not to say that her not loving my blog was a flaw.
I just mean that the fact that she might not for whatever reason adore me as much as I adore her has absolutely no bearing on what is wonderful about her. Throughout her life, Julia nurtured and encouraged and gave great help to chefs and writers both.
And she changed my life. No matter what she – or anyone else, for that matter – thought of the project. I know why I did what I did, and I am proud that I spent a year writing and cooking in tribute to one the most wonderful women I’ve ever not met.
That’s a powerful story for a totally different reason. What happens if your path collides with your hero — and she’s unimpressed? To remain dedicated to what you’re doing, and to retain your hero, is great inspiration. Because if you can remember why you aspire to be like someone even if she isn’t exactly boosting your self esteem, it sounds to me like Julie Powell got some pretty profound grounding from her year’s mission.
Categories: food and drink