I’ve just finished reading ‘Julie and Julia’, an entertaining account of Julie Powell’s year spent cooking her way through Julia Child’s 1961 ‘Mastering the Art of French Cooking’, the book which famously opened the American public’s eyes to the art and style of classic French cuisine.
Julie Powell keeps things light, perhaps too light, but I was touched by the sudden note of seriousness which underlies her explanation of what got her hooked on this project in the first place. Flicking through her mother’s copy of ‘Mastering the Art of French Cooking’, Julie P was fascinated by the complexity and seriousness of the instructions, with their drawings and pages of detailed description. It was a glimpse of a world where craft and dedication would teach you lots of things. ‘I felt like I’d at last found something important’, she writes. ‘It wasn’t the food exactly. If you looked hard enough, the food started to feel almost beside the point. No, there was something deeper here, some code within the words, perhaps some secret embedded in the paper itself.’ Very much how I feel about the musical scores which are the ‘recipes’ for playing music.