inkwell.vue.195 : Julie Powell: The Julie/Julia Project
permalink #126 of 196: Julie Powell (julie-powell) Mon 15 Sep 03 17:14
    
There is absolutely nothing wrong with what Alice Waters is doing --
it's great.  I just think that she, personally, is a self-righteous
smug little snot.  The video they play in the Julia Child kitchen at
the Smithsonian has Alice on it, and she keeps talking about herself --
her perfect ingredients, her fennel, her really wonderful olive oil,
blah blah blah....  She just drives me crazy.

Whereas I have a soft spot for Martha.  She's so clearly neurotic, and
loves animals more than people, and I just identify with her.  More
than I do with Julia, in a way.  Julia is who I'd like to be, but
Martha is just as fucked up as I am.
  
inkwell.vue.195 : Julie Powell: The Julie/Julia Project
permalink #127 of 196: cookie (wiggly) Mon 15 Sep 03 18:21
    
I think I get it now - I've only been looking at them from a cook's
perspective. I think I've only seen Alice Waters on video once, and
the show was about Chez Panisse, so it made sense that she was talking
about her food. I guess it's good that I haven't seen more of her - I
guess the hats should have tipped me off.
  
inkwell.vue.195 : Julie Powell: The Julie/Julia Project
permalink #128 of 196: Serge (serge-alexandr) Mon 15 Sep 03 23:11
    
Gee, I've only met Ms. Waters twice and she seemed really nice to me. 
I mean, a real person who is really busy and cares a lot about what
she does. But she laughs and drinks wine and sleeps horizontally, just
like us.   Her restaurants are... well I confess I really love them-
really-- AND she started Paul Bertolli and Steve Sullivan down the path
to great Bread at Acme Bakery, and without Acme I wouldn't be doing
what I'm doing and so on and so forth.  How many really great
restaurants are still going and serving exceptional food after so many
years, like maybe 25 or what?  The only ones I know of are run by
people who trained with Alice Waters.    Yikes!I'm showing my
California, I guess. 
-"Taste Everything" 
  
inkwell.vue.195 : Julie Powell: The Julie/Julia Project
permalink #129 of 196: Gary Lambert (almanac) Tue 16 Sep 03 00:26
    

Love this topic. Love the whole premise of the project. Love Julia. Oh,
and growing quite fond of Julie, too (that "God, my kingdom for
barbecue" spoke straight to my soul).

That said... I must add that my mileage varies on the Alice Waters
question, too. I've been living in the Bay Area for almost as long as
Chez Panisse has been in business, and have had quite a bit of
opportunity to observe Ms. Waters. Not really first hand, I'll admit, as
I'm not really part of the the Berkeley foodie community -- but I've
read plenty about her and her work, have heard many interviews and
lectures she's given, and have friends who know her and/or have worked
with her. And I've never gotten that it's-all-about-Alice vibe from her.
I think that she's a quite a bit less self-aggrandizing and egocentric
than a good many of her most notable peers in the big-deal chef world,
and the Waters friends and colleagues that I've encountered speak quite
glowingly of her generosity of spirit. Given Waters' famous advocacy of
the freshest local ingredients and her support of the growers who
provide those ingredients, when she talks of "her" wonderful olive oil,
fennel, etc, I don't hear it as boastful self-promotion so much as
gratitude for the great gifts she considers those ingredients to be.

And then there's Chez Panisse, which ranks high among the friendliest,
least pretentious and least intimidating of the certified Great
Restaurants I've been to in my life. And the not-just-coincidental fact
that several other places that also rank high in that regard (like Mark
Peel and Nancy Silverton's Campanille in L.A.) are run by people who
learned from Waters.  It all adds up to Alice being just a peach
(locally grown, natch) in my book.
  
inkwell.vue.195 : Julie Powell: The Julie/Julia Project
permalink #130 of 196: Julie Powell (julie-powell) Tue 16 Sep 03 05:14
    
I know that whenever I criticize anything about Alice Waters I'm
getting myself into hot water, especially with the California crowd. 
And I must emphasize one more time that I believe that what she's doing
is a good, a great thing.  But every time I hear her say something
like, "There's something WONDERFUL about only being able to eat a peach
during the three days that it's perfectly in season," I want to puke. 


Not that there's anything wrong with a perfectly in-season peach. 
Quite the contrary.  But there's just such an assumption of privilege
latent in that sentence.  The privilege of class -- though I know Ms.
Waters does a great deal to bring real, good food to low-income kids --
the privilege of leisure, the leisure to spend your mornings gleaning
the green markets rather than getting your kids off to school and
yourself off to your shitty job -- the privilege of, well, living in
California.

What can I say, I'm a sour-grapes kind of girl, always have been. 
It's part of my charm.

To me, Julia, especially in her early days, was a real crusader for
the idea that Regular Folks can eat well.  It doesn't take the best
ingredients all the time.  All you need is to care about food and its
preparation.  I think that a lot of us here are so used to exotic
greens and forty seven kinds of mushrooms that we forget that this is
still a relevant issue.  
  
inkwell.vue.195 : Julie Powell: The Julie/Julia Project
permalink #131 of 196: Gary Lambert (almanac) Tue 16 Sep 03 05:48
    

>What can I say, I'm a sour-grapes kind of girl, always have been.
>It's part of my charm.

Indeed it is!

>I'm getting myself into hot water, especially with the California
>crowd.

Well, just so you know: although I have been living (I prefer to think
of it as "visiting") the Bay Area for nearly 30 years, I remain an
unrepentant, defiant New Yorker to the bone (in practice as well as
theory, as I am spending increasing amounts of time in the old hometown
in a sort of sneaky, gradual way of moving back for good). And I do not
have a lot of tolerance myself for the most precious and self-impressed
aspects of the whole California Cuisine trip. But for some strange
reason, Waters just doesn't rub the wrong way like a lot of her famous
contemporaries do (Jeremiah Tower, for example, who *really* loves to
flaunt the fabulousness).

>the privilege of leisure, the leisure to spend your mornings gleaning
>the green markets rather than getting your kids off to school and
>yourself off to your shitty job -- the privilege of, well, living in
>California

Don't kid yourself. That privilege is no more readily available to the
average Californian than to any working stiff anywhere else. Anyway, the
really smart ones around here know that the *real* privilege of living
in California is In-n-Out Burger, and the tacos you can buy off those
trucks in East Oakland, and especially the BBQ at Flint's or Everett &
Jones.

But just between you and me, the privilege I'm dreaming about most right
now is biting into my next slice at Joe and Pat's on Staten Island, my
newest favorite pizza joint. Yes, I said Staten Island -- turns out
there *is* some justification for visiting that benighted Republican
enclave.
  
inkwell.vue.195 : Julie Powell: The Julie/Julia Project
permalink #132 of 196: Julie Powell (julie-powell) Tue 16 Sep 03 08:46
    
I'll have to check it out -- should have done it when we were living
in Bay Ridge, it is truly a HELL of a hike from Long Island City.
  
inkwell.vue.195 : Julie Powell: The Julie/Julia Project
permalink #133 of 196: i am the king I HAVE NO TESTICKALS (mig) Tue 16 Sep 03 08:52
    


i am not a californian no really born and bred new yorker but but but
california california california california meyer lemons california
california california california california california california
and me me california lemons california california california.



pancetta.
  
inkwell.vue.195 : Julie Powell: The Julie/Julia Project
permalink #134 of 196: cookie (wiggly) Tue 16 Sep 03 08:53
    
Okay, now I'm pissed. Why are the other Californians getting perfect
peaches and nobody told me about it?

I associate daily shopping with Europe, not California. Even in places
not known for their cuisine, like Amsterdam, I see normal office people
shopping for small quantities at the daily markets. And places like
La Boqueria in Barcelona and the open air daily markets in Naples put
all but the biggest Californian farmer's markets to shame.

It seems like we're getting into Slow Food territory here. Any opinion
on that movement?
  
inkwell.vue.195 : Julie Powell: The Julie/Julia Project
permalink #135 of 196: Julie Powell (julie-powell) Tue 16 Sep 03 09:25
    
Slow Food is good.  Necessary.  I just think it's all so fucking
quixotic, you know?  The only way there will ever be a real change is
if it makes financial sense to change, to provide organic produce and
meat at reasonable prices and all the rest of it.  And how do you do
that?  No clue.  

I do like the aspect of the slow food movement in which they try, in
some small way at least, to help out small farmers and artisanal
producers remain viable, economically.
  
inkwell.vue.195 : Julie Powell: The Julie/Julia Project
permalink #136 of 196: LESLIE TOBIN BACON writes... (tnf) Tue 16 Sep 03 11:28
    

From Leslie Tobin Bacon:



Julie --- dear girl, I am an american who lives in london ---- let me tell
you, Martha loves animals more than people just like THE QUEEN loves her
corgis -- and her horses-- more than she loves her little princes and
princesses..... how can you mistake this for a positive aspect which is
actually an old cold waspish aspect of anglo saxon personality?  Obviously,
you had a lovely mother --- and not someone who preferrd her
dogs/cats/bats/etc. to you.  love your project --- leslie tobin bacon
  
inkwell.vue.195 : Julie Powell: The Julie/Julia Project
permalink #137 of 196: cookie (wiggly) Tue 16 Sep 03 11:43
    
I have an internal conflict regarding food. As a descendent of midwestern
farmers on one side and Texas ranchers on the other, I am instinctively
anti-elitist, and nothing irritates me more than listening to some twit
talk about "fantasy dining" or their latest 98 point wine acquisition.
OTOH, I had my own little Alice Waters-style epiphany in Germany and
Switzerland a few years ago, and I once got so excited about a pizza
in Italy that I stood on my chair and snapped a photo of it, much to
the amusement of the surrounding Italians. If any of my relatives had
been there, I fear they would have excommunicated me.

I feel the conflict every time I venture into yupscale places like
Whole Foods. The cheese selection makes me giddy, yet I feel like
beating the crap out of half the people standing in the checkout line.
Come to think of it, the fact that I actually said that cheese made
me giddy makes me want to kick my own ass.

I wish I could be as unabashedly decadent as Jeffrey Steingarten. For
some reason, his enthusiasm and obsession allow him to fly beneath my
puritan radar.
  
inkwell.vue.195 : Julie Powell: The Julie/Julia Project
permalink #138 of 196: Berliner (captward) Tue 16 Sep 03 11:47
    
You are not to blame for wanting what those people think they want --
or think they're getting. You've arrived at your decision (about, say,
the cheese) in a very different way from them. That you're all after
the same product doesn't mean you're the same people. 
  
inkwell.vue.195 : Julie Powell: The Julie/Julia Project
permalink #139 of 196: Julie Powell (julie-powell) Tue 16 Sep 03 12:31
    
Re: Martha and the dogs.  Not saying that liking animals more than
people is a positive trait -- necessarily -- I'm just saying I relate. 
I relate to the neurotic among us, even if they drive me nuts.

I'm precisely with you on the ambivalence re: foodies and gourmet
shit.  I LOVE that shit.  Love it.  I just hate the lion's share of the
people who eat it.  

And of course I'm wildly jealous of everyone who gets to flit around
eating that stuff all the time, which is my one problem with Jeffrey
Steingarten, who I agree is fabulous and not annoying at all, but for
the fact that he's the luckiest son of a bitch that ever lived.
  
inkwell.vue.195 : Julie Powell: The Julie/Julia Project
permalink #140 of 196: cookie (wiggly) Tue 16 Sep 03 22:28
    
Potential good news on the barbecue front: NYTimes claims real barbecue
is coming to Manhattan:

http://www.nytimes.com/2003/09/17/dining/17BBQ.html
  
inkwell.vue.195 : Julie Powell: The Julie/Julia Project
permalink #141 of 196: Gary Lambert (almanac) Tue 16 Sep 03 22:39
    

Pearson's has had a well-deserved rep as the place that put the 'Q in
Queens for a pretty long time now. Daisy May's is news to me, but I look
forward to checking it out. And the article is correct about Blue Smoke
getting over is early smoker glitches -- the last batch of ribs I had
there was spectacular.
  
inkwell.vue.195 : Julie Powell: The Julie/Julia Project
permalink #142 of 196: Julie Powell (julie-powell) Wed 17 Sep 03 05:56
    
I'd not heard of Daisy May's either.  Very exciting stuff.
  
inkwell.vue.195 : Julie Powell: The Julie/Julia Project
permalink #143 of 196: i am the king I HAVE NO TESTICKALS (mig) Wed 17 Sep 03 06:47
    

i'm going to wait a while to let the rushing crowds subside, t hen go.

you wouldn't believe... well, maybe you would... what slaves new york
foodies can be to the NYT. friends in the biz say that once a restaurant
gets a positive review, guests for months come in *with the clipped review*
and order exactly what the reviewer praised. over and over and over.
  
inkwell.vue.195 : Julie Powell: The Julie/Julia Project
permalink #144 of 196: Gary Lambert (almanac) Wed 17 Sep 03 07:24
    

Yeah, I've seen that phenomenon in action, and not just in New York. In
a way, those initial mixed reviews for Blue Smoke might have been
something of a blessing in disguise. The place has never done less than
respectable business, thanks to Danny Meyer's strong track record, but
the cooling of the initial buzz probably gave them a little breathing
room in which to find their legs. Although my first meals there were not
the sort of 'que epiphanies I live for, I also never had one of those
experiences that would drive me away forever (the food never sank below
pretty good, and they did some things extremely well from the beginning
-- the sides, and especially that amazing slaw, for example). And the
address was certain to remain a destination for me anyway, since the
Jazz Standard, which resides in the basement and serves food from the
Blue Smoke kitchen, is among my favorite clubs in NY. So I was able to
experience firsthand the working out of those early kinks, and have been
very happy with the results (while hearing some amazing music in the
process!).

Now, what all this has to do with mastering the art of French cooking, I
know not, and I apologize for the drift, but I just get that way about
barbeque. I'd like to think Julia wouldn't mind!
  
inkwell.vue.195 : Julie Powell: The Julie/Julia Project
permalink #145 of 196: Julie Powell (julie-powell) Wed 17 Sep 03 07:58
    
Absolutely not!
  
inkwell.vue.195 : Julie Powell: The Julie/Julia Project
permalink #146 of 196: cookie (wiggly) Wed 17 Sep 03 10:37
    
According to that article, Pearson's was in Julie's hood - L.I.C. She just
missed them by a few years.

Julie, you had gotten a bit of press prior to the NYT article, but was
Amanda Hesser's article the tipping point for you?
  
inkwell.vue.195 : Julie Powell: The Julie/Julia Project
permalink #147 of 196: Julie Powell (julie-powell) Wed 17 Sep 03 11:35
    
Yeah, we've got to haul out to Jackson Heights now for our BBQ fix. 
(I'm actually not the hugest Pearson's fan in the universe, but again,
that's neither here nor there.)

Re: the NYT article.  Oh Yeah.  Nothing comes close to an article in
the New York Times.  It was a complete fucking deluge.  Which is great
of course.  But I guess I was naive, because I had no idea it was
coming.
  
inkwell.vue.195 : Julie Powell: The Julie/Julia Project
permalink #148 of 196: Casey Ellis (caseyell) Wed 17 Sep 03 17:24
    
Julie, I read on Publisher's Lunch that you did indeed close a book
deal. Congratulations.
  
inkwell.vue.195 : Julie Powell: The Julie/Julia Project
permalink #149 of 196: Julie Powell (julie-powell) Thu 18 Sep 03 06:39
    
You've outed me!  Okay, I guess Publisher's Lunch outed me...  I
haven't actually seen the blurb, but yeah.

I am now officially What's Wrong With Publishing Today.
  
inkwell.vue.195 : Julie Powell: The Julie/Julia Project
permalink #150 of 196: Dan Levy (danlevy) Thu 18 Sep 03 06:48
    

Aw, heck, at least share the blame with your editor and agent.  

Who are they, by the way?
  

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