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Film Released: 2009
Genre: Comedy,  Drama
Film Directed by: Nora Ephron
Cast/Actors include : Meryl Streep, Amy Adams, Stanley Tucci, Chris Messina
 

The film is set in both 2002 New York and Paris, France in the 1950's and is a "true story" based on brief periods in the lives of  American chef Julia Child (played by Meryl Streep) during her early culinary career and Julie Powell (played by Amy Adams) who is an aspiring writer currently working at the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation's call centre, where she answers telephone calls from victims of the September 11 attacks.

 

Julie is fast approaching her 30th birthday and is having a somewhat early mid-life crisis. Disillusioned with her job and her writing attempts thus far, one evening, encouraged by her husband (played by Christ Messina),  she decides to cook all 524 recipes from Child's now famous cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, which was published in 1961. Determined to finish at least one project in her life,  she sets herself one year in which to complete her task,  charting her progress on her blog.

 

Julia on the other hand, is a happily married  woman who adores her diplomat husband Paul (played by Stanley Tucci), is comfortable in her own skin and absolutely adores food.  When Paul is posted to Paris through work, Julia finds herself seeking a hobby to occupy her time. When hat-making fails to keep her interest, she embarks on a cordon bleu cookery course having discovered there are no cookery books about French cuisine which are written in English. This urges her to put one together in conjunction with two French women cooks with whom she has become friends. However, unlike Julie, this project is a serious labour of love which she knows will take her years to complete. 

The storyline cleverly intertwines both women's' stories, comparing the challenges each of them face in their personal quests, as well as highlighting the differences in their temperaments and attitudes when faced with adversities. Julie becomes self-obsessed which leads to her husband leaving her for a few days whilst Julia keeps her humour and perspective on life and her relationship with her husband and friends.

Eventually, both women achieve their goals. Julie's blog covered by the New York Times, following which she receives much attention from journalists and publishers which also gives rise to the making of this film despite the dismissive response from Julia Child who described Julie as "not serious". Although Julia's book was initially rejected by Houghton Mifflin, it was eventually  published by Alfred A. Knopf in 1961 following which she went on to be a pioneer in TV cooking programs. The 2-volume book is still a best seller .

 

There were many many visual and spoken references to food and specific recipes throughout the film, but we've chosen one which was mentioned right at the beginning when Julia and her husband first arrive in Paris and were having a meal in a restaurant because it is a simple, but superb classic French recipe.

Sole Meunière         HT  MC  French    20mins

Serves 4         Hot   Fish   Herbs  Main Course  Eggless  France  Europe

 

Ingredients

4 Small Soles, skinned

Flour to coat

Salt and Black Pepper

100g/4oz Butter

1 tbsp Fresh Parsley, chopped

The juice of 1 Lemon

Lemon Slices to garnish

 

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Instructions

 

1. Remove the heads and fins from the sole. Rinse under cold running water and pat dry with kitchen paper.

 

2. Season the flour with salt and pepper and use to coat the fish. Heat half the butter in a large frying pan, add the fish and fry gently on one side for 5 minutes.

 

3. Carefully turn the fish and cook on the other side for a further 5 minutes or until tender and golden. Drain on kitchen paper and place on a serving platter. Keep warm.

 

4. Wipe the pan clean then add the remaining butter and cook until lightly browned. Stir in the parsley and lemon juice.

 

5. To serve - pour the butter and parsley over the fish and serve immediately.

 

You can substitute Plaice or Dabs for the sole.

 

 

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