Judging from the media blitz that took place for the launch of the Nora Ephron movie “Julie and Julia”, you would think no one had eaten or prepared any French dishes in decades. In this country at least. “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” became the #1 best selling non fiction book according to the NY Times Book Review and I could bet money that it will rot, untouched, in 70% of the kitchen libraries where all these brand new copies have been placed.
Nothing against Julia Child, or the movie (which, incidentally, I went out to see on its opening week-end because I am a chick and who can resist Nora Ephron’s chick flicks?) but I was getting tired of hearing about Boeuf Bourguignon in the middle of August, in 90 degrees weather.
Julia Child no doubt went a long way in demystifying French cuisine for the housewives of Orange County and in introducing unsuspecting palates to new and exciting flavors, not too mention that the little I have seen of her tv shows is hilarious and fun which is what the process of cooking should be all about. Yet, besides Julie Powell, somehow I don’t see women rushing home after work to improvise dishes that require lengthy preparation times, planned advance shopping and that would send your cholesterol reeling just by looking at the text on the page.
So, what are all those books doing in all these thousands of kitchens across America? They are a testament to women’s impulse buying or, worse still, to the desire of recreating the feel good mood of the movie and somehow take it home with us I have to confess that I do not own Ms. Child’s book and that I was vaguely tempted to buy it until I remembered the tome of Madame St Ange, a stupendous compendium of French cooking, still sitting, virtually unopened, next to a score of other cookbooks on my kitchen shelves.
Unopened books aside, I am finding that I am becoming less tolerant of all the unnecessary crap we seem to have lying around, unused, all over the house. A few months ago I relocated for a short period of time to a tiny place and I took the bare necessities with me and guess what? my life didn’t change a bit and I didn’t miss a single item from my home (my dog, on the other hand, missed plenty, the spoiled brat.)
Blame it on the recession, aging or a general lack of funds but the days of impulse shopping seem to be over, internet, publicity campaigns and Ms Ephron notwithstanding.