Pass the double cream (and the butter) and damn the consequences

It’s funny how movies and TV series spark off sales booms in books. (Remember the way an obscure reference to Flann O’Brien in Lost led to a sudden surge in demand for his The Third Policeman?) Well, the movie Julie and Julia has led to Julia Child’s 40-year-old cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, the tome that introduced the US gastronomic classes to French cuisine, climbing the NYT best-seller lists. And to an outbreak of blogging on the subject. Here’s an example from the NYT report.

Readers who only recently opened the book, and have been blogging and tweeting about it, have found some anachronistic surprises.

“I’m looking at these ingredients going, Oh, sweet Lord, we’ll die,” said Melissah Bruce-Weiner, 45, a resident of Lakeland, Fla., who bought the book on her way home from seeing the movie. Horrified by the prospect of cooking with pork fat, she tried her own variation of boeuf bourguignon, which she called “beef fauxguignon.”

“I know why all of the greatest generation has died of heart attacks,” she said. “I actually did a can of cream of mushroom soup, and a can of French onion soup, and a can of red wine — it was the same can — I filled it with the bottle that I had been drinking the night before.

“Yes, Julia Child rolled over in her grave when I opened the cream of mushroom soup, I’m pretty sure of that. But you know what? That’s our world.”

I’m not a purist, but really — cream of mushroom soup.