Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerouslyby Julie Powell
With the humor of Bridget Jones and the vitality of Augusten Burroughs, Julie Powell recounts how she conquered every recipe in Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking and saved her soul.Julie Powell is 30 years old, living in a tiny apartment in Queens and working at a soul-sucking secretarial job that's going nowhere. She needs something to break the monotony of her life, and she invents a deranged assignment. She will take her mother's worn, dog-eared copy of Julia Child's 1961 classic Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and she will cook all 524 recipes -- in the span of one year. At first she thinks it will be easy. But as she moves from the simple Potage Parmentier (potato soup) into the more complicated realm of aspics and crepes, she realizes there's more to Mastering the Art of French Cooking than meets the eye. And somewhere along the line she realizes she has turned her outer-borough kitchen into a miracle of creation and cuisine. She has eclipsed her life's ordinariness through spectacular humor, hysteria, and perseverance. About the Author
Born and raised in Austin, Texas, JULIE POWELL has resided in one place or another in the outer boroughs of New York City for the past eight years. Currently, she lives in Long Island City, New York, with her husband, Eric, three cats, and a snake.
The New York Times Book Review
The Washington Post
"A really good book."Washington Post Book World
"Laugh-out-loud funny."Boston Globe
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Julie and JuliaMy Year of Cooking Dangerously
By Julie Powell
LITTLE, BROWNCopyright © 2005 Julie Powell
All right reserved.
Chapter OneDAY 1, RECIPE 1
The Road to Hell Is Paved with Leeks and Potatoes
As far as I know, the only evidence supporting the theory that Julia Child first made Potage Parmentier during a bad bout of ennui is her own recipe for it. She writes that Potage Parmentier-which is just a Frenchie way of saying potato soup - "smells good, tastes good, and is simplicity itself to make." It is the first recipe in the first book she ever wrote. She concedes that you can add carrots or broccoli or green beans if you want, but that seems beside the point, if what you're looking for is simplicity itself.
Simplicity itself. It sounds like poetry, doesn't it? It sounds like just what the doctor ordered.
It wasn't what my doctor ordered, though. My doctor-my gynecologist, to be specific-ordered a baby.
"There are the hormonal issues in your case, with the PCOS, you know about that already. And you are pushing thirty, after all. Look at it this way - there will never be a better time." This was not the first time I'd heard this. It had been happening for a couple of years now, ever since I'd sold some of my eggs for $7,500 in order to pay off credit card debt. Actually, that was the second time I'd "donated"- a funny wayof putting it, since when you wake up from the anesthesia less a few dozen ova and get dressed, there's a check for thousands of dollars with your name on it waiting at the receptionist's desk. The first time was five years ago, when I was twenty-four, impecunious and fancyfree. I hadn't planned on doing it twice, but three years later I got a call from a doctor with an unidentifiable European accent who asked me if I'd be interested in flying down to Florida for a second go-round, because "our clients were very satisfied with the results of your initial donation." Egg donation is still a newenough technology that our slowly evolving legal and etiquette systems have not yet quite caught up; nobody knows if egg donators are going to be getting sued for child support ten years down the line or what. So discussions on the subject tend to be knotted with imprecise pronouns and euphemisms. The upshot of this phone call, though, was that there was a little me running around Tampa or somewhere, and the little me's parents were happy enough with him or her that they wanted a matched set. The honest part of me wanted to shout, "Wait, no - when they start hitting puberty you'll regret this!" But $7,500 is a lot of money.
Anyway, it was not until the second harvesting (they actually call it "harvesting"; fertility clinics, it turns out, use a lot of vaguely apocalyptic terms) that I found out I had polycystic ovarian syndrome, which sounds absolutely terrifying, but apparently just meant that I was going to get hairy and fat and I'd have to take all kinds of drugs to conceive. Which means, I guess, that I haven't heard my last of crypto-religious obstetric jargon.
So. Ever since I was diagnosed with this PCOS, two years ago, doctors have been obsessing over my childbearing prospects. I've even been given the Pushing Thirty speech by my avuncular, white-haired orthopedist (what kind of twenty-nine-year-old has a herniated disk, I ask you?).
At least my gynecologist had some kind of business in my private parts. Maybe that's why I heroically did not start bawling immediately when he said this, as he was wiping off his speculum. Once he left, however, I did fling one of my navy faille pumps at the place where his head had been just a moment before. The heel hit the door with a thud, leaving a black scuff mark, then dropped onto the counter, where it knocked over a glass jar of cotton swabs. I scooped up all the Q-tips from the counter and the floor and started to stuff them back into the jar before realizing I'd probably gotten them all contaminated, so then I shoved them into a pile next to an apothecary jar full of fresh needles and squeezed myself back into the vintage forties suit I'd been so proud of that morning when Nate from work told me it made my waist look small while subtly eyeing my cleavage, but which on the ride from lower Manhattan to the Upper East Side on an un-air-conditioned 6 train had gotten sweatstained and rumpled. Then I slunk out of the room, fifteen-buck co-pay already in hand, the better to make my escape before anyone discovered I'd trashed the place.
As soon as I got belowground, I knew there was a problem. Even before I reached the turnstiles, I heard a low, subterranean rumble echoing off the tiled walls, and noticed more than the usual number of aimless-looking people milling about. A tangy whiff of disgruntlement wafted on the fetid air. Every once in a great while the "announcement system" would come on and "announce" something, but none of these spatterings of word salad resulted in the arrival of a train, not for a long, long time. Along with everyone else, I leaned out over the platform edge, hoping to see the pale yellow of a train's headlight glinting off the track, but the tunnel was black. I smelled like a rained-upon, nervous sheep. My feet, in their navy heels with the bows on the toe, were killing me, as was my back, and the platform was so crammed with people that before long I began to worry someone was going to fall off the edge onto the tracks-possibly me, or maybe the person I was going to push during my imminent psychotic break.
But then, magically, the crowd veered away. For a split second I thought the stink coming off my suit had reached a deadly new level, but the wary, amused looks on the faces of those edging away weren't focused on me. I followed their gaze to a plug of a woman, her head of salt-and-pepper hair shorn into the sort of crew cut they give to the mentally disabled, who had plopped down on the concrete directly behind me. I could see the whorls of her cowlick like a fingerprint, feel the tingle of invaded personal space against my shins. The woman was muttering to herself fiercely. Commuters had vacated a swath of platform all around the loon as instinctually as a herd of wildebeests evading a lioness. I was the only one stuck in the dangerous blank circle, the lost calf, the old worn-out cripple who couldn't keep up.
The loon started smacking her forehead with the heel of her palm. "Fuck!" she yelled. "Fuck! FUCK!"
I couldn't decide whether it would be safer to edge back into the crowd or freeze where I was. My breathing grew shallow as I turned my eyes blankly out across the tracks to the uptown platform, that old subway chameleon trick.
The loon placed both palms down on the concrete in front of her and- CRACK! - smacked her forehead hard on the ground.
This was a little much even for the surrounding crowd of New Yorkers, who of course all knew that loons and subways go together like peanut butter and chocolate. The sickening noise of skull on concrete seemed to echo in the damp air- as if she was using her specially evolved resonant brainpan as an instrument to call the crazies out from every far-underground branch of the city. Everybody flinched, glancing around nervously. With a squeak I hopped back into the multitude. The loon had a smudgy black abrasion right in the middle of her forehead, like the scuff mark my shoe had left on my gynecologist's door, but she just kept screeching. The train pulled in, and I connived to wiggle into the car the loon wasn't going into.
It was only once I was in the car, squeezed in shoulder to shoulder, the lot of us hanging by one hand from the overhead bar like slaughtered cows on the trundling train, that it came to me- as if some omnipotent God of City Dwellers were whispering the truth in my ear-that the only two reasons I hadn't joined right in with the loon with the gray crew cut, beating my head and screaming "Fuck!" in primal syncopation, were (1) I'd be embarrassed and (2) I didn't want to get my cute vintage suit any dirtier than it already was. Performance anxiety and a dry-cleaning bill; those were the only things keeping me from stark raving lunacy.
That's when I started to cry. When a tear dropped onto the pages of the New York Post that the guy sitting beneath me was reading, he just blew air noisily through his nose and turned to the sports pages.
When I got off the subway, after what seemed like years, I called Eric from a pay phone at the corner of Bay Ridge and Fourth Avenue.
"Hey. Did you get anything for dinner?" Eric made that little sucking-in-through-his-teeth sound he always makes when he thinks he's about to get in trouble. "Was I supposed to?"
"Well, I told you I'd be late because of my doctor's appointment-" "Right, right, sorry. I just, I didn't ... You want me to order something in, or-"
"Don't worry about it. I'll pick up something or other." "But I'm going to start packing just as soon as the NewsHour's done, promise!"
It was nearly eight o'clock, and the only market open in Bay Ridge was the Korean deli on the corner of Seventieth and Third. I must have looked a sight, standing around in the produce aisle in my bedraggled suit, my face tracked with mascara, staring like a catatonic. I couldn't think of a thing that I wanted to eat. I grabbed some potatoes, a bunch of leeks, some Hotel Bar butter.
I felt dazed and somehow will-less, as if I was following a shopping list someone else had made. I paid, walked out of the shop, and headed for the bus stop, but just missed the B69. There wouldn't be another for a half hour at least, at this time of night, so I started the ten-block walk home, carrying a plastic bag bristling with spiky dark leek bouquets.
It wasn't until almost fifteen minutes later, as I was walking past the Catholic boys' school on Shore Road one block over from our apartment building, that I realized that I'd managed, unconsciously, to buy exactly the ingredients for Julia Child's Potage Parmentier.
When I was a kid, my dad used to love to tell the story about finding five-year-old Julie curled up in the back of his copper-colored Datsun ZX immersed in a crumpled back issue of the Atlantic Monthly. He told that one to all the guys at his office, and to the friends he and my mom went out to dinner with, and to all of the family who weren't born again and likely to disapprove. (Of the Atlantic, not Z-cars.)
I think the point behind this was that I'd been singled out as an early entrant to the ranks of the intellectually superior. And since I was awful at ballet and tap dancing, after all, always the last one to make it up the rope in gym class, a girl neither waifish nor charming in owlish red-rimmed glasses, I took my ego-petting where I could get it. But the not-very-highbrow truth of the matter was that the reading was how I got my ya-yas out.
For the sake of my bookish reputation I upgraded to Tolstoy and Steinbeck before I understood them, but my dark secret was that really, I preferred the junk. The Dragonriders of Pern, Flowers in the Attic, The Clan of the Cave Bear. This stuff was like my stash of Playboys under the mattress. I waited until my camp counselor left the cabin to steal the V. C. Andrews she stashed behind her box of Tampax. I nicked my mom's Jean Auel, and had already gotten halfway through before she found out, so she could only wince and suppose there was some educational value, but no Valley of Horses for you, young lady.
Then adolescence set in well and proper, and reading for kicks got shoved in the backseat with the old Atlantics. It had been a long time since I'd done anything with the delicious, licentious cluelessness that I used to read those books - hell, sex now wasn't as exciting as reading about sex used to be. I guess nowadays your average fourteen-year-old Texan possesses exhaustive knowledge of the sexual uses of tongue studs, but I doubt the information excites her any more than my revelations about Neanderthal sex.
You know what a fourteen-year-old Texan doesn't know shit about? French food.
A couple of weeks after my twenty-ninth birthday, in the spring of 2002, I went back to Texas to visit my parents. Actually, Eric kind of made me go.
"You have to get out of here," he said. The kitchen drawer that broke two weeks after we moved in, and was never satisfactorily rehabilitated, had just careened off its tracks yet again, flinging Pottery Barn silverware in all directions. I was sobbing, forks and knives glittering at my feet. Eric was holding me in one of those tight hugs like a half nelson, which he does whenever he's trying to comfort me when what he really wants to do is smack me.
"Will you come with me?" I didn't look up from the snot stain I was impressing upon his shirt.
"I'm too busy at the office right now. Besides, I think it's better if you go by yourself. Hang out with your mom. Buy some clothes. Sleep in."
"I have work, though." "Julie, you're a temp. What's temping for if you can't run off and take a break sometimes? That's why you're doing it, right?" I didn't like to think about why I was temping. My voice went high and cracked. "Well, I can't afford it."
"We can afford it. Or we can ask your parents to pay." He grabbed my chin and lifted it up to his face. "Julie. Seriously? Go. Because I can't live with you like this anymore." So I went - my mom bought me the ticket for a late birthday present. A week later I flew into Austin, early enough to grab lunch at Poke-Jo's.
And then, right in the middle of my brisket sandwich and okra, less than a month after I turned twenty-nine, Mom dropped the Pushing Thirty bomb for the very first time.
"Jesus, Mom!" "What?" My mother has this bright, smiling, hard tone that she always uses when she wants me to face facts. She was using it now. "All I'm saying is here you are, miserable, running away from New York, getting into a bad place with Eric, and for what? You're getting older, you're not taking advantage of the city, why do this to yourself?"
This was exactly the one thing I had come to Austin to not talk about. I should have known my mother would dig in like a goddamned rat terrier.
I had gone to New York like everybody else goes to New York - just as the essential first step for a potato destined for soup is to have its skin peeled off, the essential starting point for an aspiring actor is to move to New York. I preferred jobs that did not require auditions, which, since I neither looked like Renée Zellweger nor was a terribly good actor, proved to be a problem. Mostly what I'd done was temp, for (to name a few): the photocopier contractor for the UN; the Asian American businesses underwriting department at AIG; the vice president of a broadband technology outfit with an amazing office looking out onto the Brooklyn Bridge, which folded about two weeks after I got there; and an investment firm specializing in the money matters of nunneries. Recently, I'd started work at a government agency downtown.
It looked like they were going to offer to bring me on permanently - eventually all the temp employers offered to let you go perm - and for the first time, I was considering, in a despairing sort of way, doing it. It was enough to make me suicidal even before my mom started telling me I was getting old. Mom should have known this, but instead of apologizing for her cruelty she just popped another piece of fried okra into her mouth and said, "Let's go shopping- your clothes are just awful!"
The next morning I lingered at my parents' kitchen table long after they'd both left for work, wrapped up in a well-worn gray flannel robe I'd forgotten I had, sipping coffee. I'd finished the Times crossword and all the sections except for Business and Circuits, but didn't yet have enough caffeine in my system to contemplate getting dressed. (I'd overindulged in margaritas the night before, not at all an unusual occurrence when visiting the folks in Austin.) The pantry door stood ajar, and my aimless gaze rested on the bookshelves inside, the familiar ranks of spines lined up there. When I got up to fill my cup one last time, I made a detour and took one of the books - Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Vol. 1, my mom's old 1967 edition, a book that had known my family's kitchen longer than I had. I sat back down at the table at which I'd eaten a thousand childhood afternoon snacks and began flipping through, just for the hell of it.
When I was a kid, I used to look at MtAoFC quite a lot. Partly it was just my obsession with anything between two covers, but there was something else, too. Because this book has the power to shock. MtAoFC is still capable of striking deep if obscure zones of discomfort. Find the most pale, pierced and kohl-eyed, proudly pervy hipster you can and ask her to cook Pâté de Canard en Croûte, aided only by the helpful illustrations on pages 571 through 575. I promise you, she'll be fleeing back to Williamsburg, where no one's going to make her bone a whole duck, faster than you can say, "trucker hats are soooo five minutes ago."
Excerpted from Julie and Julia by Julie Powell Copyright © 2005 by Julie Powell. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Meet the Author
After spending a long, long time working as a temp, Julie Powell now writes in her pajamas at her home in Queens, New York, and occasionally serves as a butcher's apprentice.
- Queens, New York
- Date of Birth:
- April 20, 1973
- Place of Birth:
- Austin, Texas
- B.A. in English and Theater & Dance, Amherst College, 1995
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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I was excited to read this book. What an amazing thing to take on in one year. Cooking some of the hardest receipes out there by the great Julia Child. I was excited to hear about how she figured it out all from a cookbook and no help. Instead - this was a self-indulgent look into a womans life that as I read further, I realized I didn't like. Don't get me wrong - I don't care about the bad language. I'm not giving this a bad rating over that. I found the writing to be disjointed, the story did not flow and I didn't laugh. There were three major problems I had with the book. 1. The gross factor - I'm not talking about cooking livers or kidneys or brains. I'm refering to the filth she lived in and cooked in. When your kitchen is so disgusting that your sinks are backing up, your house is full of flies and you have a mass of maggots in your dish tray - the last thing you should be doing is cooking. 2. The political bashing. While I appreciate everyone is entitled to their opinion, I don't think it belongs in a 'non-political' book. If I want to hear the bashing - I'll turn on the news or read a political book. In a book about cooking and life - there is no reason to continually go off on your political ramblings. The criticism and the stereotyping of one group was just not needed in the book. Each time this happened, I considered throwing the book out. 3. Julie as a person. At the end of the day - I thought I might grow to like her. She was self-centered, lazy, dirty and contributed nothing. At the end of the book - she seemed even more self-centered, I didn't get a big message out of all of this so either she can't write or she didn't either and her contribution was a blog and a poorly written book. Even Julia Child didn't like her. If I were Julia Child - I wouldn't want this woman anywhere near anything I had done. Much less attach her name to mine. Such a shame as this could have been so much better. This book reminded me a lot of Eat, Pray, Love. Another book about a self-absorbed woman that was almost impossible to finish.
From my perspective, Julie Powell's life wasn't worth the reading time it took out of my life. I found the book title and premise misleading, since the work shared few cooking experiences and any relationship to Julia Child was tangential, at best. While the author did use Child's recipes, she also had what I consider the audacity to 'make up' other material regarding the lives of Julia and Paul Child, which, even if 'inspired' by original material and acknowledged in the author's note, seems an obvious ploy at aligning her life with theirs. Anyone interested in the interesting and impressive life of the remarkable woman who was Julia Child would be better served by reading her own work,written with her grandnephew, Alex Prud'homme, 'My Life in France'. Quite frankly, Powell could have been using any cookbook for her excuse to write a blog, and then later a book, except it is clear that by associating her self with Child she seeks a status that is undeserved. I rarely stop reading a book, but in this case I made an exception.
Julie opens the book with the acknowledgment that the Julia Child stories are fiction, then goes on to throw in a good dose of profanity, sex, masturbation, snide remarks about Republicans, condescension towards the elderly as well as the families of victims of 911--oh, and a little about cooking. If I met this woman in person, I wouldn't like her! I'm voting with my pocketbook and returning the book for a refund. Do yourself a favor, and don't buy it in the first place. This snarky style of witticism isn't for me.
I was put off initially by the realization that the stories included about Julia and Paul Child were "made up." There is something slightly offensive about using Julia Child's life as the basis for a book when it isn't even really her life. I wanted to read a fun book about cooking, and this isn't that. This really is a book about a year in Julie Powell's life, with a lot of swearing and stories about sex thrown in. One good thing that I took away from this is the desire to read MtAoFC.
The author has a very poor writing style. 'A. Lot. Of. Sentences. Read. Like. This.' which is incredibly annoying. It was difficult reading due to poor writing style, foul language, and a very sluggish story line. Although the author does cook everything in Julia Child's first cookbook within one year, it still seemed that there was no plot. We hear nothing of her fun in obtaining the ingredients which I would have loved to read about since she is in NYC and has access to ethnic neighborhoods and shops. Also, as a side note, the author works for an agency that deals with 9/11. Her thoughts about her job and the 9/11 victims are appalling.
This book was so much fun, I only wish I had been aware when the project was underway, it would have been fun to blog along and encourage Julie in her endeavor. I actually laughed out loud multiple times while reading. For me that is always a great sign. I truly enjoyed it and am now stimulated to read an actual biography of Julia Child!!
I found this book to be incredibly funny and was not disappointed at all. It is not what I expected it to be from the blurb on the cover, but it was a highly enjoyable read. Don't expect highbrow cooking adventures, rather it is what you would expect if you tried to go through every recipe in Mastering the Art of French Cooking without being a chef. Julie does not apologize for her language or lack of skill, but it makes the book much more accessible. All in all a fun read.
What a disappointing book. The only reason that I read it through was because I paid full price for it. Such a foul mouth!
My review would just be a duplicate of a few others. This book was a huge disappointment. I loved Julia Child's book My Life in France and also "The Sharper your Knife the Less you cry".
This was meant to be a book club book but most of the club members never got passed the second chapter. It was a sensless book. I finished it to the end but would advise readers to not bother with this book. It is by far not a page turner. It is rather appalling reading about the conditions in which the author cooked her recipes. Everything about the book and every character in the book appears to be dysfunctional. Definitely a waste of time.
This was a charming, witty book with one exception - the liberal use (and I do mean FREQUENT) of really, really bad language for absolutely no reason really was a distraction, and made me extremely hesitant to recommend it to friends.
Read it if you want a different perception of that given by the movie. I saw the movie first and then really looked forward to reading the book for a better overview. I'm glad I did because it definately answered my questions about Julia Child's response to the book. I'm surprised Julie still has a husband and friends....her attitude needs a real adjustment
i don't get it. i mean it wasn't HORRIBLE or anything. but julie did kind of get very whiny and childish and that was hard to deal with. she didn't really bother to try to portray herself as a nice person, or a stable person lmao..she was kind of like all over the place and got real nutty at the drop of a hat. or a crepe. it was one of those books you read so you can say you read it but other than that.. i wouldn't read it again. her poor husband :x
I haven't finished this book yet, but so far I'm finding this to be one of those rare cases of the movie's being sooo much better than the book. I don't find it to be as much about Julia Child or even about cooking and more about the author whining about her life. I'm only continuing to read it because it is my Book Club's current selection.
I really like the concept of this book, but Mrs. Powell focuses more on how the project brought out her true ugliness while failing to recognize her need for some serious therapy. This book is not a very sophisticated read, more along the lines of the literary version of a popcorn film. There are some laughs and interesting side stories, but the overall feeling of a child-like angst towards authority figures, conservatives, educated men, and the world in general tend to distract form forming an actual story. If the writer had been a conservative male there would have been no book and certainly no movie. The movie paints a much more likable version of Julie Powell than what she reveals herself to be in the book. Any other books from this author I will check out from the library.
Although she writes well, she is way too emotional over a simple task of cooking. The first few chapters were interesting, however, I was too exhausted over her emotional rollercoaster to read more than a few pages at a time. Her husband must be a saint to put up with her antics during the year it took her to complete the task she set for herself. She reminds me of someone who was so emotional I had to leave the room just to be able to breathe. Having said that, this is sometimes what people are reading in order to put meaning into their own chaotic lives. I did not read her blog during her ordeal, but I understand she was very popular. People were drawn to her writing and drama so she should do well in her future persuits. I wish her well.
I found this book not to be very interesting. I saw the movie trailers and expected a much more humorous story. The story tended to drag much of the time. The few portions about Julia Childs were more of more interest than the current Julia. I found very little to tie them together.
There was really nothing appealing about this author or her book. I was so looking forward to a lighthearted, funny read. Boy, was I disappointed. I wished I could have returned this book and gotten my money back. My mother asked to read it after me. I didn't want to give it to her, but she insisted. She couldn't get through it and returned it. The author is foul mouthed, has horrible things to say about her coworkers, republicans and 9/11 victims; and even advocated shooting the last president. On top of all that, her descriptions of cooking in her filthy, cat hair ridden kitchen were repulsive. Save your money and see the movie or read Julia'a book "My Life in France." Both were charming and delightful.
I'm usually a person who loves the books more than the movie but this was an exception. The writing was a disappointment and the cursing was so over the top that it turned me off. The movie left me with a good feeling. The book left me with disgust. What good has Julie really achieved? It was a waste of my time and a waste of my money. See the movie instead.
I am an avid reader. I have read numerous books ranging from biographies, to vampire books, and then there's this book which quite frankly in my opinion makes Ron Jeremy look like a child's cartoon character. The ridiculous overuse of profanity in this book caused me to put the book down for good after only reading 1/3 of it. In my opinion, Julie Powell would have done better writing a satanic pornography book rather than a book about her journey with Julia Child's Mastering The Art Of French Cooking. I was greatly disappointed and I have to admit that just reading this 1/3 of the book, I'm not going to rush to the nearest theater to see the movie. I will wait and rent it and hope for the best. I also did not like the fact that Julie made derogatory comments about the mourners of those lost in the 9/11 attacks. It's one thing to not agree with your government, but by making a mockery of it, that is simply unpatriotic.
The bad language turned me off and I threw it away. It might have been an interesting book without the bad language. I'll never know, because I refuse to read any book with that much foul language. I found it offensive!
Oh. My. God. This was easily one of THE best books I have ever read! Who knew that hidden among the writings on food books was a gem of this caliber and magnificence.
Julie Powell was like many failed actresses who had moved to New York before her¿stuck in a dead end job. She was unhappy in her secretarial work for some government agency as are many people who labor at such menial occupations.
On the cusp of her 30th birthday, Julie recognized the trivial existence she had been inhabiting and determined that she needed some purpose in life. She was beckoned to what would be become her Bible for the next year¿Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child. Julie resolved to cook her way through this intimidating collection of recipes within one year. Not only did she take on this daunting task, she decided to blog about her experience, which resulted in a group of followers, several interviews, and an eventual book deal.
What follows the introduction into the premise is 300 astonishing pages of anger, pain, laughter, frustration, adoration, and¿butter. Julie deliciously (and sometimes disgustingly) describes, in detail, her journey into the foray of French cooking. We are thrilled with her when she accomplishes tasks such as bone marrow scraping and crepe flipping. We are aggravated alongside her through the poaching of eggs and the ever elusive task of mayonnaise making. We are enraptured with tart-a-palooza and squirm our way through aspics. We are even with her when she attempts culinary seduction by way of pecan spice cake with pecan icing.
Not only is there are relationship built with Julie but through her, and the apartments in her brain pan, we come to know Julia Child as a culinary genius and one Hell of a woman. I was even saddened when in the final pages of the book I learned that Julia Child died on the eve of her 92nd birthday.
This book is not strictly about food, though that is the central theme, but is also about people. We get to know Sally and are somewhat creeped out by the David¿s, we worry over Isabel¿s life altering choices, and enjoy Gwen¿s sexy IM romance. We are thankful for husband¿s as supportive and composed as Eric and wish Julie¿s mother would just calm down. What is there to say about Heathcliff other than¿that¿s Heathcliff.
What can I say to express the sheer pleasure and delight that filled me with each turn of the page? I laughed, I cried, and I toiled. This book is inspirational to say the least. I was ravenous through the majority of its duration and my cravings would change as we grew deeper into the cookbook, beginning with potato soup and ending with a stuffed, pastry-wrapped duck. I found myself overflowing with the hunger to cook. I kept walking to my kitchen bookshelf to find and flip through my copy of Julia Child¿s The Way to Cook. Not only have I found myself wanting to create culinary masterpieces, I also was inspired to write. Julie Powell¿s voice is blunt, brutal, and honest. She has no qualms about using the word f*** whenever she sees fit, and sometimes even if it doesn¿t fit. She does not sugar coat her life to make it seem more desirable. She offers the reader nothing other than her self and her life. Take her as she as or do not take her at all¿and balls to you if you don¿t like her!
All in all, this was quite a delectable read. I recommend it to anyone who wants a good laugh and or if you simply want an uplifting, yet down and dirty read. Bon Appetite!!!
It's hard to enjoy the actual story, which is witty and well written, because the vulgar language gets in the way. A few choice words can show a characters frustration, anger, etc. but the f bomb every sentence was distracting and disappointing.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone wanting to be entertained by climps into someone's personal life centered around a cooking project. Julie's year endeavor allows her to grow emotionally. This is my first read into the food journal genre & I hope more writers follow her lead by adding laughter into their books. The negative reviews seem to be from too serious readers. If they would have finished the book, they would find that Julie reflects on her view of Julia Childs & it works for me. I suggested it to my teenage son's girlfriend who loves to cook and she likes it too. I'm glad I didn't pass this one up and am tempted to try some french recipes.
I really enjoyed this book. I found that I related to Julie's personality. She is a very good writer and I really liked her sense of humor. I don't understand what the rest of you are talking about as far as her condoning her friend's affair with a married man. She just didn't voice her opinion on the subject knowing that it would probaly ruin their friendship. Get over it!!! For those of you who can get past that, Julie made French cooking a little more relatable for the common person. It's a very entertaining book.