I’ve got a light and delicious orzo salad by my side as I sit to type this post. Inspired by the Barefoot Contessa’s Curried Couscous, I threw together some orzo, chicken, dried cranberries, almonds and scallions with a lemon vinaigrette and some parmesan cheese, and I think I have achieved the perfect balance of both flavors and textures. The saltiness of the parmesan with the sweetness of the cranberries. The bite from the almonds with the crunch of the scallions. It just came together tonight.
Which is perfect, considering tonight is my re-entry into the blogging world. I saw Julie and Julia yesterday. It took me almost a month to get around to it. But really, this was years in the making. I couldn’t resist Julie Powell’s book back in January of 2006. That bright teal cover with the cute little egg whisk? I had to find out what this lady was all about. I liked the premise of cooking your way through such a hefty volume, and I identified with Powell’s voice. She approached MtAoFC with caution, and rightfully so… “It’s not lushly illustrated, there are no shiny soft-core images of the glossy-haired author sinking her teeth into a juicy strawberry or smiling stonily before a perfectly rustic tart with carving knife in hand like some chilly blonde kitchen dominatrix.” Is anyone else picturing Sandra Lee right now? I thought Julie dragged a little in the middle, so I put her down, but finished her quickly once we were reunited.
Fast forward to this summer. Eagerly anticipating the movie, I checked My Life in France out from the library while on vacation. Up till that point, my knowledge of Julia consisted of 1)the reverence with which my grandmother spoke of her; 2)a glance at her kitchen on a trip to the Smithsonian; 3) bits of information I gathered while reading J&J. Which is all just to say, I didn’t know much. But what a life, and what a way with food! Julia describes her kitchen endeavors in a way I’ve never read about before. Just listen to her…
“She occasionally sallied forth to whip up baking-powder biscuits.”
“I’d usually plop something on the table by 10:00 p.m.”
“La Truite’s true glory was its sole a la Normande, a poem of poached and flavored sole fillets surrounded by oysters and mussels, and napped with a wonder-sauce of wine, cream, and butter, and topped with fluted mushrooms. Voluptuous was the word.”
“The sauce was composed of flour and water (not even chicken bouillon) and hardly any salt. It was horrible to eat, but a wonderful cultural experience.”
“I was miffed, but not deterred. Onward I plunged!”
“I girded my loins, spit on the old Underwood, and began to type up my suggestions—clickety clack—like a determined woodpecker.”
“Zut! We had muffed it!”
Which brings us to the movie. Amy Adams clicking and clacking at her laptop reminded me a little too much of Meg Ryan’s wistful character in You’ve Got Mail. The movie dragged a bit in the middle, just like the book, but I still loved it. My dad was laughing out loud. A must-see for all!