Creature Comforts: Julie and Julia

When I was eight, my father's boss came to dinner, and it was a really big deal, and my mother made boeuf bourguignon.

But it wasn't just boeuf bourguignon. It was Julia's boeuf bourguignon.

And it was like she was there, like Julia was there in the room, on our side like some great big good fairy. 

And everything was going to be all right.  

- Julie from Julie and Julia 

There are times when I don't want any surprises when it comes to watching a movie or a television series, and I've noticed it's happening more than usual since quarantine. I want to be comforted and when that happens I reach for a familiar heartwarming movie with some of my favorite actors - like Meryl Streep and Stanley Tucci. 

I can still remember when I first watched Julie and Julia. It was on the large screen during a matinee, and I could hardly wait to come home and make myself a buttery omelet for dinner just like Julia made.  Oh yes, and the boeuf bourguignon? It was in my repertoire before the movie. Like most recipes, I have made Julia's recipe my own by using frozen pearl onions instead of having to pare those little suckers, and I use fewer pots and pans than Julia, but the recipe is still all Julia's. I always wince during the movie every time a character smells and tastes from the LeCreuset pot of boeuf bourguignon and lets out a sigh and a "yum." I do the same whenever I make a pot of this delicious and extraordinary beef stew infused with red wine. 

The other night while watching the movie I was reminded that Julie Powell, the heroine of the book and movie Julie and Julia belonged to Salon's virtual community of writers, artists, and musicians that I was also a member of. I remember when Powell's book was released and she held an online book review Q&A for the group. Unfortunately, this all took place during one of the busiest times of my life working two jobs, interning, and going to school full-time; and I didn't give it the attention I now wish I had. 

However, I later read the book, saw the movie, and even read the book My Life in France, Child's autobiography written with Julia's great-nephew Alex Prud'homme. Both books, especially My Life in France are wonderful visual reads. And speaking of visuals... 

I love the visual of Julia Child being one great big good fairy. 


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