What I’m Reading Now

As I observed about Eat Pray Love, I’m probably one of two women on the planet who had not read Julie and Julia, the other one being my friend Thelma who loaned me the book before she read it.

Anyway I dove in after finishing Me Talk Pretty One Day (“What I’m Reading Now”), which disappointed overall as the bits I already knew were the funniest. There is a connection to the current work, more about which below.

Julie Powell, who as the world knows, set out to re-create the recipes in Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking, hasn’t measured up after 100 pages. She strains at parallels: Julia worked as a spy. Julie is a factotem who finds tissues for grieving families traumatized the World Trade Center bombings and disses the Republicans as sexist and insensitive. Julia moved from California to Ceylon, as it was then, and to France. Julie moves from Austin, Texas, to Brooklyn, then to Queens. Well, actually Bay Ridge to Long Island City. Julia is earthy without f-bombs (at least in public). Julie is just insecure.

Two aspects of this project bothered me. The big one is that after the first entries, Julie knew she would be cooking and blogging every day. Why didn’t she read ahead in the recipes? I have to assume it was for comic or dramatic effect that she’d buy ingredients for that night’s dinner, having read that far and then arrive home to find the instructions that the  beet and potato salad was supposed to meld “at least 12 hours, preferably 24.” It happened again with the Bavarian, which required “3 to 4 hours or overnight.” Come on, this can happen once, but repeatedly? That’s just being Blanche.

Speaking of which, why in the world would she diss her poor husband who was pretty clearly suffering from migraine headaches by calling him Blanche when he went through the vomiting, moaning, etc.? That’s just cruel. Julie reveals secrets (I presume they’re true and she’s not Freying us) about her husband, brother, “friends.” I know I’m showing my age, but I don’t know that all this gossip has to do with cooking like Julia.

It was her relationship with her brother that made me realize that there’s a certain symmetry between the Sedaris clan in which Amy and David play nice together, except when they torture each other, and Julie and her brother “Heathcliff” who gave her a ball python, which needs a regular ingestion of live mice.

I’ll keep reading but I’ll follow Julia rather that Julie if I want to cook.


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