about bliss

Sunday, August 09, 2009

daily bliss: julie & julia

julia's kitchen, smithsonian, seen *just* before they added her pans:(

"It seems to me that our three basic needs, for food and security and love, are so mixed and mingled and entwined that we cannot straightly think of one without the others." M.F.K. Fisher, "The Art of Eating"

What I love most about Julie & Julia, the film, is how well Nora Ephron evokes Fisher's famous statement throughout the film, though particularly in the Julia storyline. Every foray into eating and cooking and writing is filtered through a deep abiding love of life, of discovery, and, most certainly, of Paul. And the film beautifully captures the power of this trifecta of food and security and love, illustrating how blissful life can be when these elements are strong and true.

And then there is the writerliness. We see Julia feed onionskin paper and carbon sheets into a typewriter; we see Julie settle in with her laptop, tapping keys, and creating an online narrative confessional of her search for something more. The sheer joy at possible publication, the thrill of comments, the sense that our words can give shape and pleasure to others, the arrival of that first finished book, well, aren't these the kinds of validation that most writers crave?!?

Oh, and the food. The sizzle of melting butter. The playfulness of a chocolate and slivered almond covered cake. The sparkle of champagne in coupes. The pleasing, rhythmic thud of a chef's knife meeting a wooden cutting board. The smiles, the joy, the little happy sounds when people eat said food. A revelation in simple, elemental happiness. The surprise that something so wonderful and tasty and transcendent can be created not in a four star Michelin restaurant, but right here, at home, in crowded kitchens.

Watching the film made me long to write and cook and share, to write and cook and not be alone. And that's exactly what I/we did. And it was lovely.


  1. Anonymous3:52 PM

    I saw the movie yesterday. It was great! I really need to be more like Julia (and her sister) in terms of attitude. Love life and enjoy it to the fullest.

  2. What a WONDERFUl review! I couldn't agree more. I honestly wasn't expecting much from the film, but I absolutely adored every bit of it and can't wait to see it again!!