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.