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5 Things/Life lessons I learned watching Julie & Julia

The film Julie & Julia is one of my favorite movies from 2009, I thoroughly enjoyed it. My husband and I saw it while on vacation in Seattle in September. We spent the entire evening and the next couple of days discussing it.


I was unaware that Julia was hardly known in France, I assumed my husband knew who she was. After seeing the movie he was proud to know that there was someone like her whose undying admiration for French food was the impetus for her mission to share his country's food with the American public.

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And of course, my husband and I share the same love!

This movie about the lives of two women pulled at me in various ways and reinforced several life lessons that I am sharing with you.

Find and embrace your passion.

For Julia, it was cooking. For Julie, it was cooking and blogging about Julia's book. While food and eating are some of my greatest passions, I am not a good cook. I thank the heavens above for my husband every day. He loves to cook and saves me from the trauma of bad meals and the constant recipe search.

My passion, like Julie it's blogging. This really took me by surprise. I have wanted to write for a long time but never found the medium that would allow me to express that desire. When I stumbled upon blogging, I was hooked.

I cannot imagine my life without this little blog. It is my outlet, and I am passionate about it. It is my stress relief and it has opened up the brain cells to write offline as well.

However…Don't let your passion blind you to what is important in life.

Following your passion is important, but remember that you have a spouse (or significant other), children, or a job that you still need to pay attention to! This was one of the things I would criticize Julie about, she became obsessed with her project and it nearly cost her her marriage, (and her job).

You can see this happening with artists and writers where they obsess about their work, shrinking into their own world and forgetting those around them. They are lucky when they “re-surface” that their loved ones are still there.

This may be okay when someone knowingly marries an artist or writer, but to start a new passion once relationships are established, and become obsessed with that new passion, may be difficult for the people in your life. Communication is key.

Mistakes happen.

You have to love how unflappable Julia was! She could drop a chicken or flip a jello mold incorrectly, and say “what the heck, squish it here squash it there and it's as good as new…it tastes the same no matter how it looks!” Julia was able to not take herself so seriously and didn't dwell on her mistakes. She learned to do it better. She learned to adapt.

I learned there is also cultural difference around this point of view. Americans are taught to learn from their mistakes, the Teddy Roosevelt “pick yourself up by your bootstraps” and try again kind of attitude.

In other cultures, like the French culture, they are taught to study, to question, to figure something out beforehand so that you don't make a mistake in the first place. I can tell you that made for some very interesting discussions in my household in our early days!

Live life to the fullest.

No matter what Julia Child did she did it with gusto! Everything was the best she ever tasted, she savored every bite and every moment. She never did anything half-heartedly. Enjoy each and every day as if it is your last, take time to enjoy every bite, explore life, and don't say no to trying new things!

I believe attitude is everything. I am sure positive people enjoy life more. They are often called naive or unrealistic, but I believe it is a choice. It does not mean that there are not things in life that get you down or knocks that set you back a step or two, but it is how you deal with those knocks that life throws you that pave the road to happiness.

Butter makes everything taste better.

Bien sûr, butter does make everything taste better, I completely agree! Although my husband cooks mostly with olive oil because it is healthier, we do allow ourselves butter from time to time. Real butter, not margarine or soy butter, or any other butter substitute, but real French (preferably, from Brittany or Normandy) butter.

It is like heaven, and it brings out the taste in food as well. My husband makes lots of soups and stews. He makes them on Sunday and we eat it during the week so we don't have to cook too much when we get home from work.

After seeing Julie and Julia he made beef stew but seared the meat in butter and flour à la Julia and it was heavenly. Not something we would do every day, but yummy all the same!

I wrote another post on Julia's life in Paris, check it out. And see Julia Childs's Paris.

Those are some of the life lessons I gleaned from the movie, how about you? Did you see the movie and picked up on something else? Please share!

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  1. Andi, how fun! I especially love the point about butter!
    Julia inspired me too. You asked us to share what she taught us/me. Here’s what she taught me:

  2. My friends became so insistent that I see the movie (which I had every intention of seeing anyway–but was on vacation when it came out) that when I suddenly found myself with a free afternoon, and no time to make plans with anyone, I went by myself!!

    Oddly, I’m glad I did (go by myself). It gave me a chance to quietly reflect on my oft-spoken-of plans to write ….yet not actually doing it …yet. It was truly the impetus for my own blog, which as you know I just recently started–and which I somehow truly believe is going to lead to dum-de-dum! the rest of my life!!

    Dramatic but true I know. I’m happier and more focused than ever.

    Both Julie and Julia were so easy to relate to, each in their own ways, that they made it seem possible for any of us who happened to be watching, who happened to be currently finding themselves on the edge of a precipice–too afraid to jump, to just go ahead and make the leap!

    I’m totally asking for it for Christmas!

  3. This post makes me want to win your giveaway even more!!

    I totally agree, without passion I don’t know where I’d be right now. It’s what got me where I am!

  4. We all loved the movie (and book) for reasons sited above and elsewhere, but one thing that I thought was a wonderful thread throughout Julia’s (and Julie’s) life were the relationships with their husbands and their endurance. It made me create the following recipe, which I shared on another site when the topic was soulmates. I would hope that Julia would approve.

    One word alone cannot describe or define “relationship endurance” but allow me to offer up a recipe that should stand the test of time:

    One small packet of Passion and Lust
    1 Tablespoon Common Interests
    1 Tablespoon Common Ethics
    1 Tablespoon Common Values
    4 cups of Friendship
    2 cups of Respect
    6 Fluid Ounces of Consideration
    A dollop of Honesty
    A sprinkling of Laughter

    Start with a small packet of Passion and Lust, the starry-eyed kind. Sprinkle it over a bowl filled with a tablespoon each of common interests, ethics and values and watch the foundations of Love grow. Set aside.

    Vigorously mix the next three ingredients (Friendship, Respect and Consideration) with lots of Communication, both the listening and talking kinds. Add a dollop of Honesty being sure not to over do it or the mixture could turn acerbic and tough. Add the Love foundation and mix until thoroughly incorporated. Cover with a blanket of Fairness and set aside to rise. Once double in size punch the mixture, releasing the air to allow it to rise again. Note it may fall on its own as well. Not to worry, it will rise time and again given the combination and strength of the ingredients. Be encouraging, supportive and tolerant throughout the process to develop the best results.

    Place in an oval baking dish (avoiding sharp edges). Sprinkle liberally with Laughter, daily. Place in a warm oven and bake to near perfection. It will turn a lovely golden color. Remove it when it satisfies the two of you.

    Mark each step in the process with Please and Thank You and you’re nearly guaranteed “relationship endurance”.

  5. Unfortunately, I haven’t seen the movie yet. With 3 kids, I rarely make it to see movies in the theater. I love the whole story and am eagerly awaiting the arrival of the dvd at my house.

  6. I haven’t seen it. But I want to. And I think butter makes everything better in life…that with cheese and wine…not necessarily all together.)

  7. What a lovely post, I loved how you learned so much and I agree Butter does make everything better!! I also enjoyed this movie and wish it would have impacted me the same…I admire your preception of art!

    Sassy Chica

  8. Marissa Kobylenski says:

    The movie has stuck with me all year. I must admit I am more of a fast cook, but spend lots of time on presentation. French cooking is not really my thing, but the story was great.

    Julia impressed me that she was not intimidated, in the cooking school and kept showing up every day.

    I also enjoyed a movie where the characters care about each other and nobody is killed, suicidal, or spiteful.

  9. what a great list. i haven’t seen the film – i guess i’ve not been on any long-haul flights lately – but have read many blog posts about it and will have to get my hands on it now that it’s on DVD. and i totally agree that real butter is the best, tho’ i prefer danish butter. with læsø salt, mmm…

  10. What a wonderful post! I too loved the movie, but tend not to analyze too deeply…I feel entertained, so I am happy 🙂 But I agree with all your points, especially the butter one 🙂 I gave up butter many years ago in an attempt to stay slim (ongoing battle, I’d say life and I are about tied at this point). Now I don’t bother with any butter or any substitute, except to cook with olive oil when I do cook (which is not frequently, I too am blessed with a husband who cooks). BUT, when in Paris, biting into a fresh baguette sandwich, and realizing one of the things that makes this sandwich SOOOO good is…the butter!

  11. I saw this movie last night. I had no idea what the movie was going to be about, apparently I missed ALL the previews.

    I was impressed. My hubs actually watched it with me. {I think he liked it.}

    Well, anyway…I’ll probably never de-bone a duck or goose or make that gelatin stuff. But, if anyone ever wanted to prepare me a French meal – I wouldn’t turn them down.

    Blessings to you,
    lana @ ilovemy5kids

  12. I can not wait to see this movie! My Mother in law loved it too. She thought it was so funny that Julia drank so much:)

  13. I seriously can’t wait to see this fame. My Mom loooooooooooved it and she hardly gets blogging. Ah ha

  14. “Butter makes everything taste better.”
    haha ! xD That’s so right ! xD

    I didn’t know Julia either, before I saw the trailer of the movie. =)

  15. I remember reading this post when you first wrote it, and thinking how much I loved it and your straightforward writing style. Clarity and that beautiful lack of big ego shine through in all your posts.

    1. @Jen, thank you m’am!

  16. Amy Green says:

    This is a great film. Well, half-great. Actors Meryl Streep, Jane Lynch, and Stanley Tucci are all terrific. Amy Adams? Not so much. Ordinarily, I’m a big fan. Her character here is unlikable and not needed. I would much rather have seen an entire biography film about Julia Childs’ life. After her performance and what was presented, I wanted to know more about the real-life figure. I can unequivocally say Meryl deserved her Oscar nomination here!