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Cleaving: A Story of Marriage, Meat, and Obsessionby Julie Powell
"The wisecracking, brutally honest Powell is back, except now instead of cooking all the recipes in Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking, she's learning how to debone turkeys and hacking up beef at a butcher shop in upstate New York. Oh, and she cheated on her husband. Wait — what?" Nicole Chvatal, The Oregonian (read the entire Oregonian review)
Synopses & Reviews
Julie Powell thought cooking her way through Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking was the craziest thing she'd ever do — until she embarked on the voyage recounted in her new memoir, Cleaving.
Her marriage challenged by an insane, irresistible love affair, Julie decides to leave town and immerse herself in a new obsession: butchery. She finds her way to Fleischer's, a butcher shop where she buries herself in the details of food. She learns how to break down a side of beef and French a rack of ribs — tough, physical work that only sometimes distracts her from thoughts of afternoon trysts.
The camaraderie at Fleischer's leads Julie to search out fellow butchers around the world — from South America to Europe to Africa. At the end of her odyssey, she has learned a new art and perhaps even mastered her unruly heart.
The author of Julie and Julia recounts her latest adventure in a new memoir. Her marriage challenged by an insane, irresistible love affair, she decides to leave town and immerse herself in a new obsession: butchery. At the end of her odyssey, she learns a new art and perhaps even masters her unruly heart.
About the Author
After a misspent youth involving loads of dead-end jobs and several questionable decisions, Julie Powell, author of Julie and Julia — made into a major motion picture by Nora Ephron starring Meryl Streep and Amy Adams — has found her calling as a writer-cum-butcher. She lives in Long Island City, Queens, when she isn't in Kingston, NY, cutting up animals.
A Meaty Tale: The Powells.com Interview with Julie Powell
Megan: You've said that Julie and Julia was about more than you learning to cook — it was about finding your vocation as a writer and finding your voice. What's the big picture result of Cleaving?
Powell: It's about my journey to find myself as a person — a person who can stand on her own two feet — something that I think is common for people who married very young.... [I]t's really about me realizing that standing on my own two feet is a good thing. Because I stepped two feet away, because I traveled to Argentina, because I cut up animals — which Eric didn't understand — that doesn't mean I'm running. That's me being an individual person. That's me taking care of what I want to be. And that's good, that's a good thing. That's not something to be afraid of. And the reason why Eric and I managed to stay together is that we had to both say some separation and some individuality should not seem terrifying. It's what you call "growing up." It just took us awhile to sort through it.
Megan: I pride myself on being an adventurous eater with a pretty strong stomach, but I had a lot of trouble with the scene from the book where you're in Africa, drinking blood.
Powell: The blood didn't bother me, but the thing where they stir the stick and it coagulates — that was bad. [Laughter] That's when I had my "no way" moment.
(read more of Megan's interview with Julie Powell)
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