A friend just sent me a copy of Julie and Julia
, the true story of one woman's quest to cook every recipe in Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking
in the space of a single year.
Julie Powell's incredibly ambitious project, which became a blog
, which became a book, which became a movie
starring Meryl Streep as Julia Child (directed by Nora Ephron, coming this summer) was all the more unreal because she lived in a crappy Queens apartment so small she had to roll out pastry on her hall floor -- and this she did in her spare time after working a 40 hour week in a crappy secretarial job.
I'm a sucker for these kinds of inspirational rags-to-riches stories, so I've been thinking about taking on some crazy year-long project of my own, like training my mutt, pictured left, who we adopted when she was a pregnant, teenage, unwed mother, to become a prizewinning champion agility dog. Tentative title of the bestselling book to follow: Snappy and Me.
Anyway, Food & Wine just sent me a list of 12 classic dishes which I MUST master this year if I ever plan to call myself a cook. They include cassoulet, bouillabaisse, chicken soup (I can do this), a mushroom quiche adapted from a recipe by Thomas Keller, a citrus marinated pork roast, and boeuf bourguignon, which was actually the first real dish I ever learned to cook. F&W's list is rather ho-hum and obvious, IMHO, except maybe for the cassoulet, which is notoriously difficult. So my question to you: If you had to learn to cook only ONE DISH this year, what would it be? What impossibly complicated food do you yearn to turn out like a pro? Send me your most outre suggestions, and I'll live blog myself trying to cook them -- and thereby give you something to scoff at for the next couple of months, along with lots of mistakes to avoid.