Boeuf Bourguignon, a stew of, um … AMAZING beef braised in red wine, is something chef Julia Child was awesome at whipping up. And I know this because Julie & Julia (in theaters Aug. 7) told me so.
Yesterday, I attended an early screening of the new Nora Ephron rom-com starring Meryl Streep as the Julia Child and Amy Adams as Julie Powell — a woman who braved cooking 524 Julia Child recipes in 365 days and lived to blog about it, publish a book about it and now has inspired a movie about it. It’s a lovely tribute to two “Jules” of different eras who discovered they were at their best when stuck in a kitchen. The movie is delicious, inspiring and full of warm, bubbling-over-like-butter love. The amount of sap, surprisingly, is fairly low.
A full review is to come — detailing endearing Streep’s abundant overimitation and how in hell the supportive husbands, Stanley Tucci and Chris Messina, managed to morph out of their linear “wet blanket” roles (impressive) — so let’s get back to the Boeuf Bourguignon. Julia’s Boeuf Bourguignon.
Post-screening, a small group of food bloggers and movie bloggers — including yours truly — were escorted out of L.A.’s Arclight Theater and across the courtyard into the Hollywood campus of Le Cordon Bleu cooking school (Julia’s alma mater) and a former Top Chef finalist, Brian Malarkey of season 3, was inside prepping Beouf Bourguignon! For us! The real Julie Powell stood by his side, and the two engaged in a 20-minute demo and banter.
The room smelled of peppered pancetta — not sure that Julia’s boeuf bourguignon includes that, but hey, I’m no food blogger — and Powell remarked that Amy Adams “would do” as the actress playing her in a movie. A “wee little redhead” she called her. Julie herself, however, didn’t boast the horrendous haircut Adams does in the flick. Odd.
The Boeuf itself needed some two and a half hours to get awesome, so the film’s food stylist Susan Spungen attempted to recreate supergooey cheese atop French onion soup. On set, her task was to simulate “cheese extending from the bowl to the mouth.” It’s food eroticism at its best; in fact, we’ve got an exclusive clip of this very scene you oughta watch. Right now.
Oh, and the supportive non-wet blanket husbands mentioned before? One was on hand to explain how the job gets done: Chris Messina, who had a sorta similar role as Vicky’s fiancé in Vicky Cristina Barcelona. He referred to roles like this as “a pain in the ass.” But he does it well! Unlike Justin Long in Drag Me to Hell …
Messina, funnily enough, was an extra on a previous Nora Ephron movie, You’ve Got Mail, and after the making of this film, he — as well as author Powell — agree that Ephron is both “scary” and “terrifying.” But Messina promises that Ephron is the kind of woman that “you could call up, tell her you’re in South Bronx and you need a place to eat, and she’ll suggest the best place you would have never found on your own.”
We like that Nora’s a foodie.
Normally, watching a movie about food or a show like Top Chef can be a bit anticlimatic because, hello, you can’t taste the food! But not last night; all us bloggers and beyond were served personal bowls of boeuf bourguignon. And hell, yeah, I got seconds.
Come August 7, you’re encouraged to eat before you see Julie & Julia. Because that “cheese extending from the bowl to the mouth” scene will totally kill you if you’re viewing on an empty stomach.