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Monday, August 24, 2009

Of braised cucumbers and other things of significance

I have yet to thumb through my notepad and my mind to see what other significant aspects of my trip I want to document. In the meantime, braised cucumbers are on my mind!

If you haven't seen the movie Julie and Julia, you should. I wouldn't say it was perfect, but it was certainly enjoyable. How, after all, can one not enjoy a Meryl Streep performance? Actually, though, now that I think of it, I hated The Devil Wears Prada, not even her performance could entertain me. But in this, she is, as usual, amazing. And I will confess to loving Mamma Mia, too, think of me what you will.

I imaagine there are hundreds, maybe more, blogging about the movie, and about Julie, the blogger whose story is the counterpoint to Julia's. So add me to the list. I came across a bunch of them while trying to find Julia's recipe for braised cucumbers, which I couldn't find. Guess I would have to buy, or at least browse through, her famous cookbook. Which I may well do, at Borders. I certainly give them enough business to not feel guilty about that.

I had cooked braised cucumbers a day or two before seeing the movie, just looking for a way to deal with an overabundance of overripe cukes. And basically used a recipe from the Victory Garden cookbook, from another old TV cooking show produced by the Boston Public TV station, as was Julia's. I tweaked it a little bit, because I can never make a recipe exactly as described. (I think this says something about me, but I am not sure what.) I must say it was delicious, hot the first day, and maybe even better cold, the next.

So, at the movie, I was thrilled when one of the 500 plus of Julia's recipes that Julie prepares that gets some attention in the film is the one for braised cucumbers. The other thing beside Meryl that thrilled me was that so much of the action takes place in Paris, where I had been a mere weeek before.

Julie cooks every one of Julia's recipes in the course of a year, the basis of her blog and one of the two parallel stories of the movie. I have never cooked any, because I have always thought that Julia's recipes must be quite complicated. (From the movie, I think that perception is correct. ) ANd, I am not a particularly good cook. But some, including the cucumbers, I think must be quite simple, unlike, for example, boning a duck. So I am now quite curious about how simple or difficult her recipes actually are.

It also seems like a significant co-incidence that I cooked braised cucumbers right before seeing the movie. I know that it signifies something, but haven't a clue what.

Julie blogged about food, about Julia, and about herself and life. So here I am, blogging about Julie blogging about Julia, along, I am sure, with a significant number of others. And, for what it's worth, I understand that Julie's favorite recipe of Julia's was, dadadadadada...braised cucumbers.

In addition to making me think about cucumbers, Paris, and life, the movie has made Loring and me revive our once common habit, also no doubt shared with a significant number of others, of mimicing Julia at every opportunity, and particularly while cooking. Our four young adults, two guests, two quasi-permanent, look at us aghast and askance.

So here's a hearty "Bon Apetit!" Julia-style, to all. (In France, they really do say it at every meal, but not quite in Julia-like tones.)

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