Foodies anticipated the premiere of the movie Julie and Julia as eagerly as sci-fi nerds awaited the latest Star Trek movie. And they weren't disappointed; Meryl Streep channeled the iconic chef flawlessly, and Amy Adams was a sympathetic heroine to whom anyone who's ever made a disastrous recipe could relate. But of course the food and the kitchens were the star of the show. If seeing Julie and Julia whetted your culinary ambitions, here is some cooking equipment that can help you outfit your kitchen.
The book that started it all. Stuck in a rut, Julie Powell challenged herself to cook every single of the 524 recipes in this revered culinary masterpiece. Now 40 years old, Mastering the Art of French Cooking has helped many a home cook to become more confident in the kitchen by simplifying classic French recipes and techniques.
An array of well-burnished cooper pots of all sizes hung on the pegboard in Julia Child's Cambridge, Mass. kitchen. She got many of hers at Dehillerin, a renowned cookware store in Paris, but you don't have to go to France to splurge on a beautiful copper saucepan, like this 1.9-quart version made by Mauviel.
In the film, both Julie and Julia constantly seem to be simmering delicious concoctions on the stove in colorful enameled cast iron Dutch ovens. It's likely they both owned Dutch ovens from Le Creuset, which has been around since 1925.
Today, we have electric mixers to do the job, but when Julia was a student at Le Cordon Bleu School of Cooking, she beat egg whites and whipped cream by hand. In fact, most culinary schools require students to master this arm-numbing task; the bigger the whisk, the faster you'll achieve those foamy peaks. This whisk is 12 inches in length, and we bet that Julia would have appreciated that it is marketed by the Culinary Institute of America.
In one funny scene in the film, Julie squeamishly battles a lobster, sentencing it to death in a stock pot of simmering water. In addition to boiling lobsters, a stock pot is essential for boiling water for pasta and mashed potatoes and, yes, for making stock – an essential French technique. The one pictured here is made by FarberWare and holds 12 quarts of liquid - big enough for a few crustaceans!
In the film, Julie proudly calls her husband into the kitchen to see "the world's most beautiful chicken" as she pulls it from the oven. A simple roast chicken is one of the recipes from Mastering the Art of French Cooking that's particularly satisfying to master. But of course you'll need a decent roasting pan, like this one from Calphalon, which comes with a roasting rack and even a baster and a thermometer.
The cooking equipment is as much a star in the movie as Amy Adams and Meryl Streep, and any cook is likely to relate to the way that both heroines reach for their favorite tools again and again. What is your favorite piece of cooking equipment?