Friday, July 10, 2009

"Julie & Julia": My life in technicolor

Last night I, along with several of my fellow food bloggers, was fortunate enough to attend a special screening of Julie & Julia at the Arclight theatre courtesy of Hipcooks. The film, based on the book of the same title, alternates back and forth between the true stories of Julia Child’s journey from housewife to author of Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and food blogger Julie Powell’s journey cooking her way through Julia’s cookbook over the course of one year.

While watching Meryl Streep’s highly amusing (and accurate) portrayal of the incomparable Ms. Childs kept my sides aching with laughter, as a food blogger, I found Julie Powell’s story even more compelling. I identified so much with Julie’s struggles and victories that I felt like I was watching a version of myself on the screen. Albeit one with much shorter hair and a much better bed companion (Sophie the stuffed bunny is not as cuddly as Chris Messina.)

One of my favorite scenes in the film occurs when Julie finally receives her first comment on one of her blog posts. She leaps up to announce the good news to her cubicle neighbor, only to discover that the comment is actually from her mother. The moment is painfully relatable, and reminds me so much of the days when I was first starting out as a blogger. It was thrilling to get a comment – especially from someone who wasn’t my mother, roommate or best friend from college.

Today, I still get excited when I see a new comment pop up, and I am constantly hitting the refresh button on my latest post to see if anyone else has chimed in. Knowing that someone out there is reading and enjoying what I have to say is incredibly satisfying and uplifting to my sense of self as an aspiring writer. When I see that someone cares enough to say, “Hey, that salad looks awesome,” or “I’m neurotic about ordering too,” it partially legitimizes my exhausting obsession with documenting everything in my life that is food related.

Like Julie, who has a major meltdown in the movie, I also struggle with the question, “What am I doing?” with this silly pink blog o’ mine. I get frustrated when dishes I make don’t turn out and I have to admit to the blogosphere that “I failed.” I get mad when I feel compelled to cook something blogworthy rather than the frozen pizza that I actually want. And I get tired of lugging my camera around with me everywhere I go in case I happen upon some food item I want to photograph.

There have been more than a few moments in the past 15 months that all the effort doesn’t seem worth it, and I’ve wanted to throw in the frying pan and digital camera and go back to being a “normal” person who doesn’t feel the need to tell “the world” about her experience at Pinkberry or Pizzeria Mozza, again. Yet even with all the frustrations, burn marks, and weird looks from people who don’t appreciate my paparazzi-esque behavior in restaurants, something always brings me back to my little piece of cyberspace real estate.

Over the past year, my blog has become part of my identity. I’m not just Diana anymore; I’m “DianaTakesaBite.” I’m not just another tall blonde girl attempting to find herself and her true calling in the smoggy city of LA, I’m a part of a community that has made LA more accessible to me than I ever could have imagined when I arrived wide-eyed and sheltered from the OC.

In one slightly overly effusive scene in the film, Julie Powell tells her husband, “I was drowning and [Julia] pulled me out.” In many ways, my blog has done the same thing for me. It’s given me a sense of direction. It’s given me a purpose. And it’s given me the opportunity to meet some incredible people who share my passion for food.

This is what makes it worth it. Burn marks, weird looks, extra poundage and all.


Gastronomer said...

The LA blogging community really is something special.

REFRESH! You've got a new comment!

Chrystal & said...

Another new comment. :) Looks like you got a nice bit of feel goodness out of that one. Funny how technology has really infiltrated society and media. To think that a movie would parallel the story of a world famous cook and an unknown blogger is endearing...and encouraging. So blog on we must!

Jenn said...

I, too, get excited when I receive a new comment.

You're lucky you got to see the movie. I'm jealous (in a good way)!!!

Kirby! said...

I was there too! I think I saw you! Were you wearing orange? I was like, "That kind of looks like Diana... but I don't really know what Diana looks like..."

I also totally loved the movie. It made me all nostalgic about blogging, and during the "I have 53 comments!" scene, my boyfriend poked me and was like, "uhhh, that's YOU."
and I am so in love Julia Child that I am going to Netflix the French Chef.

Futile Sniffer said...

I said it before and I'll say it again. I think you should make t-shirts for your blog! :)

Reeni♥ said...

I can't wait to see the movie!! Finally, a movie about food blogging!

Diana said...

Cathy - Yay! (Funny thing is, I really did think "yay" when I saw the first new comment up!)

Chrystal & Amir - Yes, blog on we must. :) It was really a sweet movie. I think you would both really enjoy it.

Jenn - I'm glad I'm not the only one who is a nerd about comments. It's like when a teacher writes a nice note on an essay or something!

Kirby - That was me!!! Aw I wish I'd known you were going to be there! Bummer! But too funny that you recognized me!

Meg - Pink with pink letters?

Reeni - You'll love it! Can't wait to hear what you think.

yutjangsah said...

extra poundage? where! it was nice seeing you again at ira's gourmet. : )

The Blonde Duck said...

How interesting! I'm going to check out this movie.