As Julie & Julia points out, Julie Powell was a struggling would-be writer living New York when she stumbled upon the gimmick that would make her famous. She started a blog, "The Julie/Julia Project: Nobody here but us servantless American cooks."
She vowed to attempt every recipe in Julia Child's famous Mastering the Art of French Cooking, developed an online following for the blog, won the attention of The New York Times and got a book deal and then a movie out of the idea.
But being that first blogger to have her online musings converted into a hit book and now a movie is earning mixed notices among her fellow foodie bloggers -- who are legion. And even though Sony, the studio, co-opted some of the foodie community by flying a number of food bloggers to a media junket for the film and won over others by inviting them to select early screenings of the movie, there hasn't been an "Amen chorus" of endorsement from that fractious lot. Apparently comic-book fans, horror fans and American Idol acolytes have nothing on food bloggers when it comes to invective, and scorching their own.
"You watch Julie, but you root for Julia," The Food Section.com huffed.
"Everyone knows what Child thought of Powell," sniffs Amanda at eater.com, deriding the "Julie Powell backlash" yet de-boning Powell as a "functioning alcoholic." (Child thought the "project" was a stunt, and she "didn't suffer fools gladly," Amanda writes.)
More than one blog complains that the real Powell -- whose blog entries had a cranky-dysfunctional edge -- isn't exactly embodied by Miss Enchanted, Amy Adams, who can't help but make her sweeter in the movie. Others express dismay that the half of Julie & Julia that is an amusing but fact-based biography of Child (played by Meryl Streep) is not enough.
"We suspect that because of Julie & Julia, we'll never get to actually see a well-made Julia Child film," complained eatmedaily.com.
Gawker.com, the snarky gossip site that first noticed this backlash, crowed that food bloggers were going after Powell as "a foodie infidel who must be stopped!"
Author and online food critic Virginia Willis backhanded Powell and the movie, mainly based on Powell's questioning of a Child recipe, something Willis first noticed in the book."It struck me as being so disrespectful, completely without deference to Julia Child. What the hell did she [Powell] know about food?"
But the bloggerati reaction hasn't been all sour grapes. Several foodies savored the many recipes executed in foodie-filmmaker Nora Ephron's comedy. Or maybe they were just marinating in the glow of a free movie pass. Bits and Bites/What's Eating SF.com (7x7.com/blogs/bits-bites) called Julie & Julia "a highly entertaining film... feisty and buttery." But not without a parting shot at another favorite food-blogger target:
"Julie & Julia reminds us why Food Network sucks."Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun