Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen by Julie Powell
rating: 4 of 5 stars
A slightly neurotic, obscenity-happy, professionally-unfulfilled, gimlet-guzzling Texas-born 29-year-old woman decides that to give greater meaning to her rapidly-spiraling-out-of-control life, if at least for a year, she is going to cook her way through Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking and blog about it in what she dubs the Julie/Julia Project. The premise alone had me hooked from page one.
The book is a memoir of the year in which Julie Powell cooked 524 recipes in 365 days, and though it incorporates anecdotes about writing on her blog, and excerpts from it, it is not a transcription of the blog (still available online, actually). We get to go behind the scenes of the blog, so to speak, and get to know Julie and her life, including husband Eric, and her quirky friends. We get to hear stories of the process of cooking, of the tantrums and catharsis provided by making roues and reductions and Bitch Rice (read it to find out). Of the insane amounts of butter used in French recipes. But most of all, of the sheer joy of Cooking, of putting together these disparate ingredients into dishes that convey emotions and make us gather in unison around the table, even if for cold chicken or eggs en gelee.
Julie is an entertaining host through this journey, even if at times she grates on the nerves a bit (though I never found her unlikeable). In many ways she reminds me of a real-life Bridget Jones, a compliment in my book. Modern food bloggers (frankly, I think any blogger) will get a kick out of reading this book both for the view at blogging in the “olden days” of 2002, and for the smiles you’ll get as you recognize yourself in the various meta-blogging anecdotes scattered throughout.