Ed Levine's Serious Diet, Week 78: The Julia Child Mantra, Does It Work, Serious Eaters?

"Moderation. Small helpings. Sample a little bit of everything. These are the secrets of happiness and good health."--Julia Child

20080306-scale.jpgThis famous quote from the late, great Julia Child has been the cornerstone of my serious diet. And that quote was on a sign for all to see, as the guests wandered into the ultra old-line, ultra New York Metropolitan Club for the post-premiere party of Julie & Julia, Nora Ephron's loveable movie that chronicles in parallel fashion the lives of cooking culture icon, cookbook author, and seminal food TV star Julia Child and writer-blogger Julie Powell.

It was a good thing the sign was there, because the opportunities for excess were everywhere. New York restaurateur Drew Nieporent had put together a team of all-star
chefs to duplicate some of Julie Child's most beloved recipes. Michael Romano of Union Square Cafe made perfect roast chicken; Babbo pastry chef, cookbook author, and Serious Eats Italian food bureau chief Gina DePalma made reine de saba cupcakes; Tribeca Grill chef Stephen Lewandowski made her boeuf bourgignon--well, I think you get the picture.

Even sampling a little bit of everything would have been a serious diet disaster the night before a weigh-in. To make the evening work for me, I was going to have to moderate the moderation.

I congratulated Nora Ephron and told her the film was even better the second time I saw it. She accepted the compliment graciously, but in typical Nora Ephron fashion she was much more interested in the food being served at the party: "Ed, you have to try the boeuf bourgignon. It's amazing."


Proceed with caution.

All right, if Nora Ephron tells you to try the boeuf bourgignon at a party celebrating a film that celebrates Julia Child's food, you'd be a fool not to take her advice. My wife Vicky and I each garnered a plate of the boeuf bourgignon. It was crazy good, spoon tender and suffused with insane amounts of red wine-y, beefy flavor. But somehow I conjured up Julia Child (or maybe it was Meryl Streep playing Julie Child) and her mantra, and I managed to give my half-eaten plate to a passing waiter.

Amazingly enough, that was the only savory food I ate. I had a couple of bites of Gina DePalma's amazing reine de saba cupcakes, which she said were made from a Julia Child recipe she faithfully followed. That was it. Somehow Julia's mantra had saved the evening, and with any luck it will save the weigh-in this morning.

The Weigh-In

I had successfully navigated the party, and I think I've done pretty well the rest of the week as well. But let's see. 211. Down four pounds from last week, which admittedly was a lousy one for my serious diet.

Long live Julia Child's work, long live Nora Ephron, long live Meryl Streep--and if I can keep abiding by the Julia Child mantra, long live Ed Levine.

Serious Eats Newsletters

Keep up with our latest recipes, tips, techniques and where to eat!


Comments can take up to a minute to appear - please be patient!

Previewing your comment: