Tuesday, August 25, 2009

the Julie/Julia project

I just read Russ Parsons NY times article about why Julia Child was not a fan of Julie Powell - and I feel stirred to share my thoughts with someone other than T...

First off, I have to say that I LOVED both books for very different reasons. A few years ago, I picked up the Julie/Julia book on a whim, and immediately connected with Julie Powell. And I do mean immediately - from page one I was hooked!

Like Julie, I am at a point in my life where I am not sure what "it" is all about. I work really hard for not a ton of money. Granted, I really enjoy my work so its not like I dread getting up in the morning, but 6 days a week does take its toll on a person. Also like Julie, I take public transportation to work. (And for all of you who have never had the joy of seeing your tax dollars at work - I will share this little gem from yesterdays commute: a man with special needs sat down next to me, smiled, told me I was pretty, and then relieved himself.) So you can see how at the end of the day, sometimes the last question I want to answer is "whats for dinner."

I love to cook, and I love to try new things (see the previous few posts about my new pickling/canning obsession for proof), unfortunately, my time at home is limited, as are my resources. I do the best I can, but sometimes its so frustrating to have these desires that are not realized.

Now, before you start saying that I am just as "whiny" as Mr Parsons says Julie is - let me say that I know first hand just how much creativity is spurred by limitations. Some of our best meals have come from me just looking through the cupboards and scrapping something together. The same goes for my work life... as an Interior Designer I am constantly being challenged with budget, taste, and time limitations! But that doesn't mean that I don't sometimes wish I could have carte blanch to do whatever it is that I want!

Anyway, back to the books...

My Life in France was an equally pleasurable read, but for very different reasons. I did not connect with Julia Child on a personal level, but rather found myself putting her up on a pedestal of sorts. She was a woman who displayed amazing character and tenacity - and is definitely a woman to emulate. I loved how she not only had a zeal for the good life, but was also wiling to work very hard for her dream - it took her ten years to perfect her masterpiece!

And yet, in the back of my head there is the nagging thought that to her, cooking was something she did in order to occupy her time - she didn't want to be bored while living in France. And yes Mom, I will admit it - I am jealous. I would LOVE to be able to go to work every day and not have my take home pay matter. I would love to be able to walk to the market and have my pick of the freshest produce to turn into a wonderful dinner that will nourish and sustain my family.

Which brings me back to Julie... and so many other women of my generation who have inherited the aftermath of feminism. We are a group of women who are immensely grateful for the freedom and liberties we have been given , yet are still nostalgic for the comforting routine of domesticity.

A co-worker an I have started recounting our domestic accomplishments, and failures, every Monday morning in an effort to encourage each other's quest for domestic bliss. She is on a mission to roast a whole chicken once a week, using all the bits and pieces for various meals throughout the week. I am on a mission to eat more healthful, which means buying fewer processed products, and instead making my own (so far that means pickles, canned tomatoes, and bread).

We are both on a mission to come to the place of finding a sort of Zen in washing the dishes.

And so, here is to two amazing women who lived in very different times, and faced very different challenges.

I raise my glass to their individual accomplishments...


Nutty Gnome said...

I read 'My Life in France' - and I just wanted to slap her for being so .....perfect! :)

I'm lucky in that I don't work during the school holidays and can garden, grow vegetables, cook wonderful meals full of home grown produce meals and make jams and pickles to my hearts' content - but it all goes out of the window in term time when I'm rushing about like a scalded cat!

Nutty Gnome said...

Ooops, I forgot to mention it, but....... I've nominated you for the meme on 'seven things you didn't know about me'. I hope you don't mind! There's no pressure to do it, but if you want to take part, then the rules are over on my blog!!! (it's your own fault for having such a great blog!)

Laura Marie said...

Thanks for the lovely message, it really is nice to be suprised by results like that :) ...

By the way, i REALLY want to see that film :P <3