The best line from Norah Ephron’s movie Julie & Julia is when Julie (Amy Adams) is watching Julia Child’s cooking show (played by the inimitable Meryl Streep.) Julie has spent almost an entire year cooking her way through Julia Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” (co-written with Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle in 1960).
Julie has saved that which she perceived to be the most challenging dish to last: roasting a duck. Julia Child (Meryl Streep) begins the episode of her show on duck cooking by grasping the legs of a plucked duck and announcing, “The first thing to do is to confront the duck!”
I smiled when I heard this and thought, “This is what the whole movie is about: confronting ducks, our fears, obstacles to growing up, to taking ones place in the world, to know oneself.”
“Confront the duck” made me laugh.
For Julie, the year’s journey led up to this finale. If she was really going to finish at least one thing in her life: she had to confront that duck.
That duck was a means of grace for Julie. Once she confronted that duck, she was free to take the next best step in her life, including the disappointment that Julia Child didn’t think much of her blog or her project.
If I had been in Julie’s place, I would have wanted to hear Julia Child say: “Confront the fish!” But duck is so much … funnier.
Food movies are inevitably about grace because they are about creativity, sharing, nurturing, transformation, sacrifice, selflessness.
This blog will be reflections on divine grace in everyday life. I believe that God is the source of grace. As Catholics we believe that grace comes to us through the sacraments, those outwards signs of invisible realities, instituted by Christ. Food movies often suggest the Eucharist, in particular, the panis angelicum of the soul.
Grace grows with each good thought and action that people share with others beyond themselves. Grace is that free gift of God that empowers us to be the change we want to see in the world (Gandhi.) Grace is there for all, without distinction. How people respond to this gift, or struggle with it, is the stuff of the best stories ever told.