Recently, I bought the movie "Julie and Julia." I had seen it before but decided I wanted to own the movie and watch it again and again. Have you seen it? If not, it's excellent with Meryl Streep and Amy Adams. It's a true life story of two cooks: Julia Child and Julie Powell. Julie takes on a self-made challenge of preparing 524 in 565 days from Julia Child's book called, Mastering the Art of French Cooking (1961). Julie Powell blogs about her experience as she completes each dish. The blog is noticed by The New York Times and gains the attention of a growing audience. Even if you hate to cook, the movie is funny and refreshing. The acting is excellent, earning a long list of awards.
One thing that fascinated me was the small kitchens that both cooks had to deal with, especially that tiny kitchen in which Julie made fabulous dishes. As I sat through the kitchen scenes, it began to occur to me that I had become a kitchen snob.
You may already be aware that I had downsized from a three bedroom home with a gorgeous garden to a two bedroom apartment with a screened in porch. No, I did not have one of those humongus $100,000 kitchens where the pantry can outdo the closet space of an average apartment bedroom--or the living room. My previous home had a somewhat small kitchen but with 42" cherry cabinets, full height granite counter tops, stainless steel appliances, etc, etc. And I loved it with as much love I had for cooking and testing healthy meals.
The apartment I now live in has been upgraded although it is still a very small apartment kitchen. Still, I do have a nice kitchen, although the range is has an electric oven. (Sorry folks, I hate electric ovens and I guess I'll never get over that.) So my snobbery had focused on what my small apartment kitchen didn't have, especially those small kitchen cabinets.
What also occurred to me was that while I love to cook, I had simply stopped making so many of the lovely dishes I used to make. Instead, I ate junk food, bought oven-ready, quick-cook packaged meals--not necessarily healthy meals.
My kitchen snobbery got in the way of the pleasure I had in cooking: the challenges; lovely trips to fresh food markets; learning about and trying new foods; browsing and shopping in kitchen stores for new small appliances and kitchen gadgets; the excitement of trying out a new recipe or just an old one; and most of all, sharing a lovely evening with friends over a well cooked, beautifully presented meal that I had made.
The wonderful thing about life, for me, is I can change that. So stay tuned as I start to share with you more of my adventures in apartment living to include what's going on in the kitchen: from making a dish and drinks to menus to kitchen tools and resources to more table setting ideas.
If you are wondering will I try to repeat the challenges of Julie Powell, NO and again NO. That was truly courageous. I do hope to inspire those of you who love to cook or would like to give it try but live with the limitations of a small apartment kitchen to not be deterred by the size or even lack of amenities in it. Great cooks, even good cooks do it every day.
First Stop for me: shopping online at Sur La Table for a new mandolin slicer and getting my camera ready!