Writer-director Nora Ephron says of Julie & Julia, which hits theaters August 7: "I felt my entire life had prepared me to write this screenplay — my obsession with food."
While the film is something of a love story (blogger Julie Powell cooks chef Julia Child's recipes and goes on a journey of self-discovery) Ephron — known for films like Sleepless in Seattle and When Harry Met Sally — considers food right up there on the same level as romance. John Horn, who spent an afternoon baking with Ephron, writes:
"The truth is that most marriages have food as a major player in them, and certainly mine does," said Ephron, who is married to author and screenwriter Nick Pileggi (Goodfellas, Casino) and wrote about her earlier marriage to journalist Carl Bernstein in the caustic roman à clef Heartburn, a novel that included recipes. Ephron's best-selling 2006 memoir, I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman, shares an almost equal fascination with gastronomy.
Of course, many human relationships revolve around food: Dating often involves going out to dinner; catching up with friends can mean lunches and brunches; family get-togethers and reunions mean picnics and barbecues.
But Ephron's love of food may go beyond the norm: She says her postgraduate cooking phase was "obsessive. It was competitive. It was pathological." And Horn describes shots of food in Julie & Julia as " adoring close-ups of fish, duck and even an Everest of chopped onions." The question is, will the movie inspire women who don't know a turnip from a radish to get in the kitchen and try out recipes? Perhaps not. "No one seems to cook anymore," Ephron says. Maybe we'll just walk out of the theater with an insatiable appetite.