It Came From The Library: Julie & Julia Edition by Food Network Kitchens in News, August 14th, 2009
As noted by the sharp media critics over at EatMeDaily, the real star of the culture storm that is Julie & Julia turns out to be a book. Check the numbers: Since the film’s opening, Julia Child’s seminal Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Vol. 1 has been Amazon’s overall number 1 (now 2) bestseller. Which leads one to wonder whether, in addition to rekindling America’s love affair with Julia, Julie & Julia will also mark a resurgence of interest in French cuisine. Is the movie likely to alter in a significant way the place of French cuisine in American culture? Does Julie & Julia shut the door on the era of the freedom fry?
The latter, a bit, perhaps. Maybe the film will make a tiny dent in our national Francophobia. But as for restoring French hegemony to matters of cooking and dining: very unlikely. While there have been anecdotal reports of cooking classes selling out (a trend the recession started) and bistros filling-up, the social forces behind the declining status of French cuisine — the globalization of taste, the democratization of fine dining and international travel — are just too broad and well-established. Today’s center of culinary gravity lies solidly in the Mediterranean, somewhere between Rome and Barcelona, perhaps inching in the direction of Athens, and for all their butter-drenched magnetism, neither Julia nor Julie nor Julie & Julia are likely to move it.
Jonathan Milder, Research Librarian