"Julie & Julia" blends the old with the new

Thu Aug 6, 2009 4:23pm EDT
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By Christine Kearney

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Before reality television cooking shows, celebrity chefs, counting calories and the organic food movement, Julia Child revolutionized the way Americans thought about food in the 1960s.

Now the legendary American chef, author and television personality is immortalized on the big screen in the movie "Julie & Julia" where her virtual influence extends across time to a New Yorker whose life is forever changed by cooking all 524 recipes in Child's seminal cookbook in one year.

The movie, starring Meryl Streep and opening in the United States on Friday, marks how far U.S. cooking and culinary culture has come since Child began her groundbreaking first TV cooking show "The French Chef" in 1963.

"Julia Child really did change the whole thing," Streep said, recalling how Child introduced French Cordon Bleu cooking to an America more used to canned corn, ravioli, baked beans and French fries.

"This is how we ate," she said. "Julia changed the way people thought about cooking."

Directed by Nora Ephron and also starring Amy Adams, the comedy-drama is Sony's big summer box office hope in a sluggish entertainment economy.

The movie is adapted from two memoirs -- "My Life In France," written by Child about learning to cook while living in Paris with her diplomat husband, which led to the writing of her 1961 cookbook "Mastering the Art of French Cooking", and the modern day story of blogger Julie Powell.

Powell turned her popular blog where she wrote about cooking Child's recipes into her 2006 paperback memoir "Julie & Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously."   Continued...

<p>Actresses Meryl Streep (L) and Amy Adams pose at the premiere of their film "Julie &amp; Julia" in Los Angeles, California July 27, 2009. REUTERS/Fred Prouser</p>