Stupid Girls

Saturday, April 17, 2010

MOVIE: "Julie and Julia"

You are reading

You are reading

Now, I want to see Paris

Hi, Kate,

I broke down and renewed my long lapsed subscription to NetFlix today. Hulu is free and has been helpful, but NetFlix has stuff I really can't see elsewhere. It saved my sanity in Fort Sumner, as there is no movie theater for sixty miles, and that one shows movies that don't interest me very often. They'll send me one DVD by mail per month.

I've placed Season One of "Ugly Betty," my favorite show on tv since Mary Tyler Moore, probably; it'll come in 6 discs, so I'm assuming I've clogged my waiting list for the next six months. I may break down and buy all 4 seasons of "UB," as it's truly historical television, but not just now, as heart broken fans all over the world grieve like me over the cold-hearted and self destructive decision of ABC to cancel the best show they've aired in decades. But I digress; I'll probably write more about UB later, as the wound is still fresh and my heart wide open at the loss.

I have, happily, unlimited access to films, television shows, independents, classics online, viewed from my computer. They're not the newest releases, but I'm so far behind in recent cinema history, I'll be fine for the rest of my life with their selections.

I used to, when young, keep up pretty well with film. I was in Los Angeles, in the '70s and, while New Yorkers pretend there is no culture in L.A., I was kept quite busy, watching films from all over the world.

Of course, with modern technology, no human being can possibly keep up with cinema in general these days. Sadly, I'm afraid we've reached the era of viewer specialization: narrowcasting (as opposed to "broadcasting"), where one can tailor one's exposure to culture to only fit one's tastes, prejudices, politics and or religious persuasion. It's pretty creepy, actually; one need never stray too far from one's comfort zone, hence, never learning a gall dang thing about the rest of the world.

So, for my "Virgin" online video on demand tonight, somehow, I stumbled on "Julie and Julia."

Do you remember me as a cook? I don't think you've had much exposure to my hobby of taking food pantry items, dumpster rescues and or day old mark downs and creating pseudo gourmet meals. I often use no recipes, at all; I just recall things I've learned from the internet or the PBS cooking shows over thirty plus years and "fake" something into existence.

I used to post recipes in my "Living In the Hood" blog. I compiled a few here:

I'm not a serious cook, in a traditional sense, as I have no aspirations toward doing things Right; I just like to do them Well. I can rarely gather all the appropriate ingredients for traditional recipes. And I'll probably never own a copper bowl in which I can whisk eggs, darn it.

But I taught the kids in my house in the War Zone in Albuquerque to cook. For Christmas, we built a tree of gingerbread and decorated it with candies and cookies.

One of our most ambitious projects (maybe "ambitious" isn't the right word; it was actually a simple recipe) was chocolate mocha truffles. We couldn't afford cream. We couldn't afford MILK! But I had nonfat, powdered milk from the food pantry. And I had real, government commodity butter. So, we let the butter stand at room temperature until soft and beat the snot out of it with powdered milk and just enough water so it wouldn't be cheese. It came out like true whipped cream and, with the addition of highly concentrated espresso and cocoa powder, made a truffle filling so smooth, so mouth rich, so tasty and so evil, I wonder if a real cook could have detected the difference. That's just one example.

I refuse to deprive myself, just because I'm low income. They mark down portabela mushrooms and daikon radishes, if I'll just go to stores in the upper crust parts of town and drag things home on the bus.

In my refrigerator at this moment is a small, octagonal jar. It cost me $28 on my birthday two years ago. I refresh the salt water in it, so the real French truffle inside doesn't waste away as I try to figure out some way to eat it. I've never eaten a truffle. It was a windfall from a radio story I'd sold.

Well, this movie tonight kindled in me my very first genuine longings to visit Paris, because it seemed Julia Child just had so darn much fun, eating there. She was astounded that French people ate like that every day! I've heard stories, but this really brought it home to me. I know even French butter is a totally different experience than what we use, especially, sadly, these days.

I've had fresh churned, country butter on my Great Aunt Minnie's farm in West Virginia. But, I'm told, French butter is, some how, better than that, which I find impossible.

And this Julie, the woman who started a blog about cooking all the recipes in _Mastering the Art of French Cooking_ in a year: her struggle reminded me of something.

Remember that paper I did for you as an independent study over a summer? I'd gone through all my old issues of "The Lesbian Tide," kept a daily journal of what memories it brought back, cut the journal into strips, laid them out on the dining room floor, taped them together by subject and had a completed paper ready for you when you came back to teach in the fall.

I haven't done another writing project like that since.

I've been thinking very hard about how I'm going to possibly create radio, without money, without a newsroom, without resources, without a car, without people to interview, without a network of who's who.... It's been seeming impossible.

But I can do it. I need to research a subject (I have several) and keep a written journal. I can edit the journal into a script and record audio. In the modern world of online videos and other sources of audio, sounds, interviews, etc., as long as I'm very careful to attribute sources, I CAN create radio out here in an almost total vacuum.

So, that's a long way around saying, I watched these two women bash their brains in, Julie and Julia, to produce what they loved: food and writing and I could so relate to how hard it is. And I absolutely know I can. I just have to make a daily commitment to do a minimum of work, and the things will build themselves, like that paper did.

How are you?