Having read so many reviews and seen so many previews for it, and as a purveyor of food I knew I needed to have first hand knowledge of the new film, Julie&Julia. My daughter and I just returned from seeing it, and I felt compelled to record my thoughts and dial them into the mix.

After seeing the movie, I believe our fascination with this story (the theatre was packed) is that there is something in it for which we each yearn.

First off, I admit I was moved by the movie, more so than I expected, but maybe for reasons not so obvious. And I don’t think it was just because I am now a cook and a teacher and a writer and that I could relate to their love of food. I saw something deeper in the story, a more kindred parallel a little further down.

I saw a film this afternoon about our hunger to be alive.

Even the opening scene, in the French restaurant, when Julia takes a bite of the fish that was so skillfully prepared and served tableside, her facial expression could only come from the soul of a woman who knew what it was that makes her human. Her fascination of Paris, of her new apartment and all the French surroundings led her to believe, “I could live here forever.”

Enter Julie Powell, a thirtysomething woman in a dead end job that leaves her with nothing but the burden of complaints and tragedies from the victims of the Twin Tower horror. She knows her life is a mess, and her friends aren’t much help to draw her past that knowledge. Something is desperately needed to take her mind off the mundane and point her in a better direction.

Julia Child provided some of that inspiration.

Julie decided to cook her way through Julia’s tome, Mastering the Art of French Cooking and write about it every day on a blog. This would be her release, her escape from the trainwreck that was her day job. And since cooking was one thing in her life she felt she could rely on, it only made sense to go in this direction.

And like many salvific efforts, little did she know what would lie ahead.

This is where the film crosses paths with my story.

In my late 30’s, I also felt a need for something greater than what I was currently experiencing. Call it midlife, or boredom or just plain itchy feet, I knew something had to change. But instead of cooking someone else’s food in my own little kitchen, I went several steps further.

I decided to open a restaurant.

It certainly fit the “bigger than myself” category, and like Julie, I undoubtedly did not know fully what I was getting into, but it had the desired effect for me as her choice did for her.

I got my life back.

I spoke with two customers in our restaurant Saturday night that saw the movie and they reminisced about watching Julia Child cook on television. Paraphrasing their words, the conversation included this thought, “There was something about her that was so appealing, so attractive, so authentic….”

And now I would add, “Something very alive?”

We loved Julia Child because she embodied something we all want. It’s not enough to simply have something to do and be good at doing it. And maybe I can’t speak for you, but as I watched the film, it connected to my desire to always be about the kind of work that matters.

Sure, I’ll probably never be a household name like Julia Child; and it’s doubtful my blog posts will ever turn into a movie deal, but to be able to daily enjoy my work AND see people smile because of it, I’ll take that in whatever form I can get it.

Go see the film, and the next time you’re in for a meal, let me know your thoughts on it.

Alive and well in Lincoln, NE

5 thoughts on “Alive and well in Lincoln, NE

  • August 10, 2009 at 12:33 am
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    I haven't seen the movie yet, but plan on going soon, if in part because of this great article in the New York Times Magazine by Michael Pollan. Totally worth a read, especially because it goes beyond discussion just the movie and delves into the changes that have affected our food culture here in America.

    The article: Out of the Kitchen, Onto the Couch

    Can't wait for the holidays so I can get back to Lincoln and Bread & Cup.

    Brad

  • August 11, 2009 at 6:47 am
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    I saw the movie this afternoon and was surprised that I thought it was a LOVE story!
    I liked the interaction of the couples…their love for each other and Julia's love for food!

    Very relaxing, cute movie. I want to find out more about Julia now!!!

    I'm coming for a late lunch on Tuesday.

  • August 11, 2009 at 1:24 pm
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    Mary Beth,

    I too noticed and appreciated the supportive role the men played in the two women's lives. As a guy, I feel like the better of our kind don't always get portrayed very often.

    ks

  • August 13, 2009 at 3:54 pm
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    Loved the movie and left feeling good and feeling hungry for quality food and wish we could smell the cooking in the film.

  • August 13, 2009 at 3:54 pm
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    Loved the movie and left feeling good and feeling hungry for quality food and wish we could smell the cooking in the film.

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