Don't Believe This Julie & Julia Myth, Says Julia Child Friend Eric W. Spivey

America loves a feud. Give America a baseless, mostly fabricated feud between two talented, well-known women, and people will pop that feud into their mouths like Milk Duds in a movie theater. So it's no surprise, really, that one of the scenes from 2009's "Julie & Julia" that got stuck in viewers' teeth was the one in which blogger Julie Powell — who found success replicating the recipes from Julia Child's cookbook "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" — finds out that the inspiration for her blog, Child herself, can't stand Powell (via Los Angeles Times).

Or rather, that's what "Julie & Julia" would have you believe. "Julia hates me!" cries Powell (played by Amy Adams) after a phone call from a journalist who has spoken to Child (Meryl Streep) about Powell's blog, "The Julie/Julia Project." Adams' Powell is crushed; not only is she not in the running for a real life meeting with her muse, but her muse has completely rejected her — a very un-muse-like thing to do. In real life, however, the journalist in question and the CEO of Child's foundation are equally una-muse-ed — they both claim that while the dramatic plot twist made for a great Hollywood moment, it's not quite how things went down (via Grub Street). Eric W. Spivey, a friend of Child's and the chairman of the Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts, has the most definitive account of what happened.

Revisionist history and Hollywood flair

Spivey and his wife were with Child when the famous chef got the call about Powell's blog. "Julia was a very humble person," Spivey told Grub Street. All that happened, according to Spivey, was that the chef who brought French cooking into American households was a bit confused. Why would anyone want to cook a recipe a day from her cookbook, and then blog about it? More to the point — what's a blog? Spivey and the foundation supported "Julie & Julia" — which was, itself, an adaptation of both Powell's memoir and Child's book "My Life in France" — but recognize the scene for what it was: a bit of drama.

Russ Parsons, a writer for the Los Angeles Times and the journalist who sent Powell's blog to Child back in the early 2000s, mostly agrees. Though Child asked him not to quote her at the time, Parsons has since revealed that Child's initial reaction to "The Julie/Julia Project" blog was to be politely mystified. "Well, she just doesn't seem very serious, does she?" Child asked Parsons, when pressed for her thoughts. "I worked very hard on that book [...] I don't understand how she could have problems with them. She must not be much of a cook." Not quite the scathing hatred that sells movie tickets, but sometimes the truth is hard to swallow.