As a lover of food in fiction, the film Julie & Julia could have been written just for me. Every time I watch, I salivate over chocolate cream pie (which was apparently Nora Ephron's own recipe) and bread beautifully fried with tomatoes piled on top making a tomato bruschetta.
Both Julie Powell and Julia Child, living in different decades, were saved by food and writing. The reason why I've chosen poached eggs, when I could have chosen a multitude of dishes from the film, is because, for me, by their very presence they showed something important about the characters of the two women.
For Julia Child, taking a beginners' cookery course where she was being taught how to boil an egg demonstrated her desire to be more challenged by cooking. She then persevered until she was allowed to do a professional class.
For Julie Powell, the 'wilfull child' who had never eaten an egg in her 29 years, it showed her ambition to make this cooking and writing project, with a year's deadline, work. A poached egg is one of Julia Child's simplest recipes, but for Julie it was almost as challenging as the lobster.
For Julia Child her life changed from then on. If she'd accepted the basic cooking class, just because it gave her something to do as an American wife living in Paris, we'd probably have never heard of her. And for Julie. Once she'd tasted that poached egg, which she likened to 'cheese sauce' you just knew she was going to complete the project.
POACHED EGG RECIPE (adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking Vol.1 by Julia Child)
Egg, as fresh as possible
1 tbsp white vinegar per 1 pint water
Toast and butter, for serving
Saucepan at least three inches deep, slotted spoon, egg timer
- Pour the water into a saucepan.
- Add the vinegar and bring to a simmer - don't allow it to boil vigorously.
- Break the egg into a cup or saucer and drop gently into the water. (The water will go white-ish. Don't panic, there will be enough white to go around the yolk.) I wouldn't advise you to let it drop in from a great height like Julie did in the film.
- Push the white over the egg yolk with a spoon for a few seconds.
- Cook for a few minutes. Julia says four. Mine took three but the egg was extremely fresh.
- Whilst it is cooking prepare your toast.
- Remove with a slotted spoon and place on your hot, buttered toast.