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Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerouslyby Julie Powell
Finally, someone willing to admit just how dirty a kitchen can get! Powell's story is at once a comic tale of struggling to find one's balance in the adult world, and a witty exploration of why — and how — we cook. Gastronomes, as well as those more inclined to order take-out, will enjoy Powell's down-and-dirty journey into French cuisine, but her depiction of America is the secret ingredient that holds the whole recipe together. A nourishing read if you love to cook or would rather stay out of the kitchen altogether.
Synopses & Reviews
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 rundown 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 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. With Julia's stern warble always in her ear, Julie haunts the local butcher, buying kidneys and sweetbreads. She sends her husband on late-night runs for yet more butter and rarely serves dinner before midnight. She discovers how to mold the perfect Orange Bavarian, the trick to extracting marrow from bone, and the intense pleasure of eating liver.
And somewhere along the line she realizes she has turned her kitchen into a miracle of creation and cuisine. She has eclipsed her life's ordinariness through spectacular humor, hysteria, and perseverance.
"Powell became an Internet celebrity with her 2004 blog chronicling her yearlong odyssey of cooking every recipe in Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking. A frustrated secretary in New York City, Powell embarked on 'the Julie/Julia project' to find a sense of direction, and both the cooking and the writing quickly became all-consuming. Some passages in the book are taken verbatim from the blog, but Powell expands on her experience and gives generous background about her personal life: her doting husband, wacky friends, evil co-workers. She also includes some comments from her 'bleaders' (blog readers), who formed an enthusiastic support base. Powell never met Julia Child (who died last year), but the venerable chef's spirit is present throughout, and Powell imaginatively reconstructs episodes from Child's life in the 1940s. Her writing is feisty and unrestrained, especially as she details killing lobsters, tackling marrowbones and cooking late into the night. Occasionally the diarist instinct overwhelms the generally tight structure and Powell goes on unrelated tangents, but her voice is endearing enough that readers will quickly forgive such lapses. Both home cooks and devotees of Bridget Jonesstyle dishing will be caught up in Powell's funny, sharp-tongued but generous writing. Agent, Sarah Chalfant. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"A gratifying year spent tackling the art of French cooking....Indulge in this memoir of marrow and butter, knowing there is always a bitter green to balance the taste." Kirkus Reviews
"The tougher the shopping and cooking assignment, the more sensual the experience, as Powell discovers incredible determination and hidden talents in cooking, writing, and living. This is a joyful, humorous account of one woman's efforts to find meaning in her life." Booklist
"Powell is a talented, funny writer... Julie & Julia [is] a touching, sometimes stomach-turning, and overall delicious read." Johanna Bates, BUST
Nearing 30 and trapped in a dead-end secretarial job, Julie Powell reclaims her life by cooking every single recipe in Julia Child's legendary Mastering the Art of French Cooking in the span of one year. It's a hysterical, inconceivable redemptive journey — life rediscovered through aspics, calves' brains and creme brulee.
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.
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