Giveaway! Julie & Julia

by Ahalya on May 20, 2010

Let it be known – I love to cook. I turn on the music, I take out the vegetables (I am a vegetarian), and I spend at least an hour and a half trying to be clever and artful and create something not just edible but hopefully memorable. So, I was a little disappointed when I picked up Julie and Julia, a book I had heard a lot about (apparently this is the first cook-blog that turned into a book that then became a movie — starring none other than THE Meryl Streep). I was disappointed because nearly ALL the recipes require meat, poultry, or fish.

Well, never mind, I said, as I munched on some cleverly and artfully toasted bread, I will give away this book to someone who will like these recipes.

But, hold on. Vegetarians don’t go away. There’s something else about this book that demands attention. It is a very good book about taking chances, learning to step across the danger line and try something fantastic, no matter how trivial it may seem to other people. After all, if you aren’t happy with the way your life is right now, who else can set it right but you? It’s about learning to live (by cooking) a little dangerously.

julie-and-julia_bookcoverJulie Powell, the author of the cook-blog/book, was down in the dumps when she decided to cook and blog her way through 524 recipes from the 1950 book Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child. Why? Because, the book reminded her of her happy childhood, when her mother would rustle up some tasty, thrifty, and clever dishes. Back then, women cooked through the night, poured their heart into the food they were making for their families, and the results? Perfect.

She gave herself a year to cook/blog and before the project was halfway off the ground, she realised it was affecting her, her marriage, her friends and her newfound internet friends, in a way she had never thought possible.

Now for some controversy. Apparently, the real Julia Child, a fiesty, witty and brutally honest person, never did like Ms. Powell’s enterprise. While Ms. Child, who had her own cookery show on a famous US TV network encouraged everyone to cook and love the art of it, she somehow ended up disliking the attention and adulation Ms. Powell’s blog encouraged.

So, the giveaway. How do you win a copy of this book?

Tell me your most cherished food-related memory.


There you go, not too difficult, right? πŸ™‚ The winner would be chosen (with the help of random.org) after six days. So I will announce the winner at midnight May 26-27.

I will also announce another giveaway on May 27, so I hope you come back for that. I will be hosting a virtual blog tour on May 27!!!

{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

Vishal Devgon May 21, 2010 at 2:40 pm

I love good food. I’m a great fan of well cooked food that not only tastes great but is a feast for eyes too. And yes I too try my culinary skills with off the rote recipes off and on, and without being a brag I can say i am pretty good at some of them.
At one such moment i took over the kitchen from my wife and told her to enjoy her fab TV soap and let me cook a surprise for her. She was too glad for it. I decided on my recipe of vegetable rice which promise little effort and stomach full at the earliest. Coz the tough part of slicing and dicing vegies is done by my better half as she is really better at it.
When all the stuff was in the pressure cooker steamed well and ready to be served, I decided to open the pressure cooker (it has to be really used with care). But a lil mistake i forgot to check on the steam valve to make sure that all the steam has escaped. I just turned the top lid around and ‘phutt’, the lid let itself loose with all the contents of the cooker making their way for the kitchen walls and me just wondering what hit me, and my wife laughing her way to the kitchen. Thankfully i wasn’t in the way of flying lid and the hot rice and vegies when they thought it prudent to stick to the walls. I think some of it even reached for the roof.

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admin May 22, 2010 at 1:04 pm

Oh my God, Vishal! And that’s your most cherished food memory???!!! Tell me what happened next though! And your wife is a patient, kind soul, she deserves a round of applause! *applause*

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Vishal Devgon May 24, 2010 at 10:26 am

Yes a truly memorable one. And then we made a dinner together. πŸ™‚
And we rem it till this date.

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admin May 26, 2010 at 10:26 pm

Awwwwwww πŸ™‚

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Devaki May 22, 2010 at 3:28 pm

My most cherished food-related memory: When we shifted to our present house in Saket, some 26 years ago, my mother received a copy of Digvijay Singh’s Cooking for the Maharajas. This was a collection of recipes from the kitchens of various Maharajas that the author, himself an ex-Maharaja, was able to access. My job, at this point, was to select and note down various recipes that my mother could try out over the weekends. We’d invite our family and friends for Sunday lunch and get them to try out the dishes prepared. So we tried out such fine dishes as a Khade masale ka korma, a khaibari biryani and a do peaza narangi (a meat dish cooked in orange juice) some of which became family favourites. There was a pasanda with dried methi, which is my sister’s favorite; a korma narendra shahi, wherein we use lots of onions and a kalia (curry) with lots of green chillies and coriander, which my brother’s friends enjoyed immensely. There was also a roghan josh, which we cooked several times in the freezing Delhi winters. This is what really got me interested in cooking and collecting recipes–it also got me over the fear of using spices and eating spicy food. My sister and I used to try to cook something for Diwali that we would distribute to our friends.

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admin May 26, 2010 at 10:05 pm

A Royal Feast if there ever was one! Sounds wonderful Devaki, seriously. And sounds like fun. I can imagine it, a crisp winter morning, fresh ingredients, the poring over the book, the selection of the recipe! The first taste! Lucky you! πŸ™‚

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Meethil May 25, 2010 at 10:19 am

I hate food! I eat only to survive! But that does not mean i don’t have a food related memory. Cherished? i don’t know. But i do remember it, so, well maybe then…
I never ate cheese till i was 16. So well, obviously i never ate pizza either (surprise for those who know me now!). Let me tell you how and when i ate my first pizza.

-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-Short story starts -*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-

It was the bright and fun summer of 1995. We had finished our most dreaded exams! The ICSE board! They had gone remarkably well – we were confident about our good results. Relieved, as we were, and eager for some fun me and 10 of my class mates (we were a class of 70 idiots) decided to go to Essel World for a day full of rides and joy.

The April day was hot – as hot as it gets for a bunch of nerds who had chomped so much on textbook for the last 8 months that an empty theme park was freedom personified! The park was devoid of humans because the SSC exams were still underway and since all the junglees were still eating their books for breakfast, lunch and dinner we decided to take their miss to our advantage and jumped into the Water Kingdom there! (Another surprise for those who know me – i hate water bodies!) The mob mentality that i had immediately kicked into action and soon i was drifting down the artificial river. Splashing in the water for more than three hours – we explored the water ways and behaved like pirates, capsizing many a friends. Then we hear it – the hunger roar from our stomach. It was a loud call and a clear call and a call that could not be denied.

Food at last. Dry and wrinkled, we were seated in the Open House (i think) inside Water Kingdom. Looking through the large glass windows of the restaurant we saw other newbies jumping about in the water. With a famished state of mind each one of use place our orders. I ordered French fries. The only think on the menu i knew i would (like to) eat. (Those were the times when Open House served the best fries in town). Others ordered what their tongue wanted – burgers, pizzas, etc.

When our food arrived a friend sitting opposite me pointed to my fries and asked, “You are going to eat that?”
With a stoic face i replied, “Yes.”
My friends hated the food i ate. It was always too little and too simple for their taste.
This time i was lucky, smiling and pointing to his pizza he said, “You have to eat this. That won’t fill your stomach.” I insisted it will, he further insisted it won’t.

After a brief battle of words and long pauses he put one slice of his pizza into my plate of fries. Too shy to tell my friends i don’t eat cheese, i was left with no choice. Reluctantly, i bit into it.

-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-Short story ends -*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-

Today, this classmate of mine has become a successful Bollywood hero. And i am a connoisseur of pizza for the worlds top pizza companies, being a world authority on pizzas my advice is sought for in over 122 countries (i wish!). And here i am, telling you how i ate my very first slice.

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admin May 26, 2010 at 10:07 pm

Meethil, good effort ya! All lies, of course, (stoic face indeed!) 122 countries… have you even had 122 pizzas is what I want to know!!! πŸ™‚
Incidentally, when was the first time you had a sizzler? πŸ˜‰

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Deepika Mital May 25, 2010 at 1:04 pm

Festivals and food are synonymous for me – Diwali and Holi don’t seem right till I MAKE the mandatory gujiya (called karanjis here), daal kachori and kaddu with dahi pakori; and nariyal ki barfi for Krishna Janmashtami! Meethe poore and kachori for Karva Chauth …. get my drift?! The most important fact herein being the making – never buying!!
I think this comes from the fact that Mom always encouraged us to spend time in the kitchen – with or without her…so found myself making gulabjamun and icecream in class 4 and 5. I remember the awe we were looked at with ‘cos we had cones (!) with home-made icecream πŸ˜‰ for birthdays. We never ate less than 3 at a go – sometimes making it to five! Please remember this was in the pre liberalisation context of only Kwality or Dasaprakash icecreams – no baskin Robbins and Walls etc etc.
Want more?? I could go on and on

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Deepika Mital May 25, 2010 at 1:22 pm

A more recent memory – yesterday to be precise – was baking a banana coconut cake for my office types during my lunchtime. My 6 year old son comes along and wants to ‘help’…so there I am wanting to finish in 15 minutes flat and with an enthusiastic but novice ‘helper’ – I try and dissuade him gently then harder – especially since he is sitting ON the counter so that he can reach! But no go- so then I tell him that I need to finish fast since I have to be back at work – so he tells me – if two of us do it it will go faster – when you are doing something I can do another! Unanswerable logic……..:) . So it was that he held the mixer and I held the bowl, he poured the maida and i mixed it in, he poured the banana and milk and i picked it up ;). The cake turned out just superb – thanks to my helper and we ended up eating it hot out of the oven together – even more superb πŸ˜‰

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admin May 26, 2010 at 10:09 pm

Deepika, your boy is ADORABLE! I am honoured, am not making this up, that you shared this beautiful moment on my site. I wish all mums are as patient as you though, and all children like your helpful little elf.

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Shravani Karve May 25, 2010 at 3:18 pm

As a teenager, I knew that there was one thing I would never like to do – and that is to cook. I would declare very vehemently to all my friends much to the disappointment of my mother – ‘ I am never going to cook, it is so boring!!’ She took my rejection very much to heart- the poor lady!! But I did love good food. My mother’s cooking technique is really the most amazing thing I know of. Be it the simple sambar or Mutton Biryani, her sense of taste and almost instinctive knowledge of which masalas would blend together to make magic and which would not work are just phenomenal.
But as the story goes, age tends to bring to the fore the values that you were brought up on and being used to good food, I discovered that the best way to get what I want is to make it myself. So I spend most of my time trying out new dishes in the hope of being like my Mom some day …
So now after that long introduction, my favourite food story – Being now married for almost 4 years and staying in a different city, I don’t get to meet Mommy that often :(.
Last month she finally got the time to visit us and I spent several nights feverishly going through all the recipes I have collected over the years and tried to prepare the perfect menu to surprise her with.
I spent the whole week prior to her visit, recooking some of my personal favourites to see if they would work and wondering if she would like it with more chilli or with more garam masala.
The fateful day arrived and I had decided to cook one of my favourites – Sesame Seed Pulao and Dum Aloo. I tried really hard to look calm and composed as she took the first mouthful and raised her eyebrows in surprise at the amazingly subtle flavours of the rice. The conversation flowed around us unabated and she didn’t bat an eyelid as she participated in quite an animated discussion on the pros and cons of pre- schools for toddlers.
And then ..she smiled as she took a second serving and then a third and looked to me and nodded her head in acknowledgement. Being a woman of few words, that gesture from her is something that I will treasure always :):)

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admin May 26, 2010 at 10:11 pm

Hi Shravani,
Your mum sounds like one of those formidable people who have a heart of gold!

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Aletha May 26, 2010 at 12:30 am

Hostel, 2 girls out for a party, danced the night away, drank some pinna coladas, and then came back home ravenous- but what could they eat?? At 3 am all they could get was noodles to boil over a slow burner and a few crushed garlic cloves tossed in with a dollop of butter- never tasted such a simple scrumptious dish ever again!!
It’s not just the food, but the memories and ambience that lends a teeny weeny touch to taste.

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admin May 26, 2010 at 10:14 pm

Hey Aletha,
Pinacoladas! Yum! and you know i’ve never tried garlic with noodles (am assuming you are talking about something like maggi) but i think it sounds great (slurp). And most of all, I guess its the person you share the meal with that makes it so memorable! Sigh πŸ™‚

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Zach May 26, 2010 at 5:49 am

I absolutely love food. I also loved the movie to this, but that’s beside the point. My most cherished food memory…well it seems to be the first Thanksgiving I can remember. We had so much food, the only problem was that the Turkey took about 8 hours to cook. Our oven malfunctioned a bunch of times, turning off in the middle of cooking and so on, but eventually after a stroke of luck and I dare say cooking expertise, we got the Turkey cooked and all had a good dinner! I love food! πŸ™‚

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admin May 26, 2010 at 10:18 pm

Hey Zach, i loved the ‘we had so much food’ bit in the story πŸ˜‰ Isn’t that the best part? When the food’s great and there’s plenty for everyone. Personally, I tend to do that, cook more so that people can take second… third helpings if they like (but I also tend to nag if people don’t polish off all that extra food… hmm, now that doesn’t sound very nice… ).
I haven’t seen the movie yet, but Meryl Streep *has to be* simply great though!

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Sanjay Gupta May 26, 2010 at 10:37 am

Cooking was always a passion, though never a necessity for me. Sundays used to be special many moons ago when my best critics (the two young ‘uns) would demand akuri and toast early as the sun rose on the horizon. The joy of putting together the ingredients, cutting and chopping, slicing and grating, amidst the tittering laughter brings a tear to my eye. The younger cherub would gently break eggs while the elder would get busy beating them to fluffiness.
Under their vocal instructions I would assemble the one dish I knew ‘how-to’. The smile on their faces and the gentle burps made my day.
Now the cherubs have flown the nest to seek greener pastures, but fond memories remain, to warm the cockles of the heart.

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admin May 26, 2010 at 10:21 pm

Dear Sanjay,
What a wonderful memory! I can just about imagine their ‘instructions’ and the ‘smile on their faces’. The bit you mentioned about their ‘gentle burps’ made me smile! How like a loving father to remember all these tiny (but hugely important) details. I do hope that the memories never fade away! Now each time I eat toast i shall remember this story!

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Sonia May 26, 2010 at 11:22 am

Food is such a wonderful thing that a most cherished food-related memory is difficult to isolate. Was it the taste of the lovely hot samosas and the dry-ginger & tamarind chutney that my mom would get once a month as an incentive for agreeing to stay back home while she went and did the monthly shopping? Combined with the fact that this was the only non-home-made eating we did in those days; these were made by “khule dil wale punjabi halwai” with no compromise on the quality or quantity of the ingredients; thus making them the most scrumptious samosas ever…
Or is it the first taste of the samosa I made on my own after having cooked for over two decades? Staying in a city, one doesn’t feel the need to make such savouries at home. The restaurants and sweet shops are within easy reach and even easier is to just dial and order!
During my short nine month stay at the small beautiful hill-station of Panchgani with my girls, who are aged 12 and 5, is when I realized this. The only sweet shop would make kachoris and not samosas. When you wanted the kachoris, they were over. The friendly wada-pav fellow in the wada-pav galli made good wadas but could not really vary his fare. So I decided to make samosas for my girls when they wanted them. The strong memories of the Samosas eaten once a month in my childhood in Punjab served me well and I put the ingredients together. The fresh and tasty produce available in the small-town market was an added advantage I guess. The sweet tasting potatoes (not sweet-potatoes!), the fresh juicy green peas and the fragrant coriander. Just the right touch of salt and spices made the filling the perfect taste and texture to bite into from the golden fried crisp cover. Oh. Bliss!!!

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admin May 26, 2010 at 10:23 pm

Oh Sonia…. you have a talent for making words sound delicious. If it weren’t ten at night I would be out scouting around for samosas that taste half as good as you described them. Yum. And how true: “Staying in a city, one doesn’t feel the need to make such savouries at home.”
I must confess though, I’ve never made samosas… but I feel inspired now!

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Sonia May 27, 2010 at 3:44 pm

Thank you for your encouraging kind words! I value them a lot! You know what, the best thing about food is that you don’t really need to know how to cook to really appreciate it! All you need is for your tongue, palate, teeth and salivary glands to partner with you in the task of tasting, biting, chewing and feeling whatever the delicacy laid out in front of you! Simple?

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Urvi May 26, 2010 at 2:01 pm

My most cherished food-related memory dates back to when I was newly married… In 2001, two days after we got married (much to our relief and after much drama!!), there was a terror attack at the Parliament. My husband having made the career choice he had was recalled…his leave truncated. The letter of intimation reached home, his native place, but the entire family was at my hometown for the wedding. So we remained (blissfully!) unaware of the recall. We were to proceed for our honeymoon to Dalhousie via Delhi and Jammu (to offload all the excess luggage) on the 25th of December. It was when he called up his regiment about his arrival in Jammu and further about his plans for Dalhousie, that the news was broken to him about reporting immediately.
All my dreams of setting up home, cooking scrumptious food and serving tea to my love of long were shattered. In response to my mom’s request at taking kitchen items, my husband had said, “kya Mummy, Mess main khayenge ek-do mahine and then we will see about setting up the kitchen!!” And he was gone and I did not know on which of my very kind neighbours, my next meal depended. The Mess had obviously moved with the regiment to the forward location as part of the mobilisation.
Cope as one has to, I set about the arduous task of starting to set up my kitchen, in a totally alien city with strangers all around!!
Our forward location was not very far, so on a chilly January night, I heard violent knocking at the door of my single room accommodation…I opened the door and much to my surprise…I saw before my eyes, the one man I loved the most!!
He had been unaware of my attempts at setting up the home (read the kitchen!!) and was pleasantly surprised when I offered him a cup of coffee. (He was zapped to see the saucepan, the cups and the coffee!!) Having enjoyed the coffee we cuddled up and just as I was about to fall asleep securely in his arms, he told me he had to leave at 6.45 the following morning. My eyes welled up with tears, but I put up a brave front and asked him in ‘yours’ truly’ manner, what he would like for breakfast…He said he would be fine with anything.
Now, sleep eluded me and all night I kept thinking what would be a befitting first meal that I should offer to him from ‘our’ kitchen.
Cut to 6 am.
While the man was busy putting on all his gear…(the uniform and the accessories he wore with it seemed almost like an astronaut getting ready for flight) I was furiously waiting for the cooker to let up steam to indicate that my first meal for him (his favourite dish!!) was cooked and ready.
At 6.30 I announced in a typically filmy style that breakfast was ready…and promptly served him the plate!! He ate quietly and I mistook his quietude to be the pangs of the impending separation and wept too!!
Years later, when he recounted this incidence to one of our common college friend that I realised my folly!!
In a bid to please him with his favourite dish as the first meal from ‘our’ kitchen, I had made khichdi for him without even thinking of the time of the day I was serving it at!!
Till date he teases me that I have never made a khichdi in all my 8 and a half years of marriage to parallel the taste of the first time I cooked and served it!!
So, a dish as simple and humble as khichdi makes for my most cherished food-related memory!!

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admin May 26, 2010 at 10:25 pm

Urvi! This is the cutest love story I have ever heard! Awwwwwwwwwww. If it makes you feel any better, my friend’s mum makes khichadi for breakfast, so um, at least someone in some part of the world thinks breakfast is the right time for moong dal and rice πŸ™‚

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admin May 27, 2010 at 12:03 am

SONIA!!!!!! SONIA!!! You won! Random.org chose you as the winner of the book giveaway!!! I will be in touch with you for your address πŸ™‚
And for those who did not win, there’s a new giveaway today (about business), and one next week (graphic novels), and another one after that (murder mystery)! So do come back! And thank you very much for participating!

May you always have an interesting book (and great food)!

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Sonia May 27, 2010 at 3:45 pm

THANK YOU!!!

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Sonia June 8, 2010 at 11:43 pm

Still waiting for the book Ahalya!

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Ahalya June 9, 2010 at 7:59 am

Sent on June 7 πŸ™‚ (clubbed it with my other couriers, sent you an email).

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sonia June 11, 2010 at 2:46 pm

Received. In good condition!

Thanks!

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Shawna Bodine May 27, 2010 at 6:11 pm

My great grandfather used to make something called “Pan Fry Bread.” It was a special kind of fried bread he learned to make on the reservation when he was a boy. Every time we went to his house, he’d made it himself and although others in the family often tried to make the bread from his recipe, it never quite tasted like his. He swore it was because of all the grit working on the railroad had put into his hands. We’ll never know because he died in 2002 and I’ve never had bread that’s tasted anything like it since.

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Sonia May 28, 2010 at 10:03 pm

Hey Shawna, Would you happen to have this recipe? And if so, could you share it with me? It sounds like something I’d like to try. Though I am sure no one can ever get the same result as your grandfather as, a grand dad cooking for his clan would automatically mean a special something added to the meal and I am sure that ingredient can not be conjured up by any feat of hand or mind!

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