Over the festive season I watched this movie called Julie & Julia, and it has been stuck with me ever since. I had no idea what the movie was about and I had never heard of it, or the people it is based on, I just thought it would be a good watch because Meryl Streep is one of the lead actresses and I was on a bit of a Meryl Streep binge at the time.
I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I put the movie on to play in the background late that night while I mindlessly scrolled through Instagram. But within a few minutes I was glued to the screen and when the movie was done in the early hours of the morning my mind was racing. So many thoughts and one big idea, I was INSPIRED.
For those people who haven’t watched the movie it follows the lives of 2 women; Julia Child and her early career years in Paris in the 1950s where she studied to become a chef and collaborates on a cookbook about French cooking for American women and Julie Powel a young writer working an in an unpleseant office job in Manhattan in 2002 who decides to cook every recipe (thats 524 recipes!) in Mastering the Art of French Cooking (1961) by Julia Child (Streep) in ONE year, Julie also decided to write a blog to document her progress and motivate herself.
I found this movie so interesting and quite inspiring, and when the credits rolled and I saw that it was based on a true story I was even more impressed. Was this the beginning of the Food Blog? I mean it all happened before WordPress was even a thing.
If you like food, or Meryl Streep or blogs the go watch it now, it’s on Netflix. Ok maybe not right now, first finish reading my post.
So, that leads me to where I am today, I have decided to do something similar but it is mostly with baking because that is where my passion lies. My goal is to bake/make 202 of the 219 recipes from Mary Berry’s Baking Bible as well as 119 of the 120 recipes in Mary Berry Everyday before the end of the year. That’s a total of 338 recipes in 336 days.
The total recipe count does not include recipes for things like icing and decorations, which I will undoubtedly use. The 18 recipes that I’m skipping are all fruitcakes, I’ll be making about 4 fruit cakes (i think) out of the 2 books which is about 3 too many for my own liking so baking an extra 18 was just not on the cards for me.
Why Mary and why baking?
Well, Mary is pretty much the cake queen of Britain, her recipes (the ones that I’ve tried at least) ALWAYS work and taste good. As for baking, it is something I love, something I feel I need to make more time for and something I dream of doing as a full-time job every single day.
Also, I should hopefully learn a thing or two about baking through all of this and if by the end of the year, I still love baking, even after doing it basically every day, then I can probably be sure that if I do ever get the chance to open a bakery /café that I will enjoy it.
The challenges I foresee
There are in excess of 37 meat/poultry/fish based recipes in Mary Berry Everyday, I am sure there will also be some recipes using gelatine, so I’ll be adapting these slightly to keep them vegetarian, hopefully it works. We have already booked a 2 week birthday trip in March and are planning on a trip back home in December, cutting out approximately 28 days worth of baking, not to mention any other holidays we might find ourselves booking. I am a bit of a social butterfly, I have about 5 meetups with friends over the next month. More drinkies generally = less bakesies. And lastly, my oven is not working 100% as it should, it cannot go above 200°c without shutting itself down so I can’t bake bread at the moment.
And so The Mary and Me Undertaking begins, starting right now.