There are some movies which touch me on a level so deep that the entire process of watching the movie becomes a journey in self-exploration. Food has always been a way for me to disconnect from my worries and to return to a place within me which is safe and untarnished by everything. Cooking is essentially my release.
Sometimes, when I’m really confused and feeling stifled, I cook. Its therapeutic to see basic ingredients turn into something soul-satisfying and beautiful. I guess cooking taught me that sometimes, even if the dish isn’t working out the way you’d like it to, if you just listen to it, and follow its directions, it’ll turn out very nice.
Here was a movie tailored for my current state of being. Right down to the nipping in of the waist or the exact length of the sleeve.
I could relate to Julie’s sense of utter aimlessness. I knew what she felt. Many a times, when I’m stuck in a distasteful situation and I can’t really express myself verbally, I shut myself in the kitchen and spend hours cooking and baking. Toiling over every tiny detail and measuring out every teaspoon of baking powder is how I regain some control over life. Its not exactly the best way to go about it, but, it works…and so, I could also understand her need to create something to have a measure of control over her life.
I was amazed at her sheer tenacity. I don’t think I could keep to a schedule like hers. And that makes me realize that for all my ambitions, I suck at management. I don’t get everything done when I need to. I spend the entire day working and yet, by the end of it, I still have atleast 5-6 things I didn’t get done. I see women working, running homes, being mothers, and it amazes me that I can’t even get half of those things done. Here was a movie, which made me realize that I needed to buck up.
And then, there were these techniques she’d never tried. Ingredients she couldn’t source, and fears she had to overcome. I loved how the women in the movie let food overwhelm them enough to make them spend hours chopping onions or fret about de-boning a duck. I’ve been there. When I couldn’t learn to whip cream, I spent 5 hours and whipped countless tubs of cream till I was satisfied (thank the dear Lord, for electric whippers!)
Another thing the movie made me realize was that with the onslaught of so many articles about how certain foods are bad for you, I’d started tweaking my food to become healthier. Sure, it tasted nice. And sometimes, I didn’t notice the missing fat. Occasionally, less fat would even taste nicer. But then, when she sauteed vegetables in butter and made a butter thyme sauce, I realized just how much of a health freak I’d become. I hadn’t done that in months. I hadn’t fried potato wedges or made a buttercream frosting in almost 2 years. I’d substitute butter on toast with natural preserves. Hell, the movie made me crave butter.
And so, I made myself some fresh veggies in a peppery butter sauce (yep, sauce; oozing, dripping, lusciously vibrant butter!) One bite of that flavorsome snack made me nod understandingly when Julie stated; “If there were a meteor crashing towards earth and we all had just 30 days to live, I would spend all of it eating butter.”