Monday, January 25, 2010

Eleven: Julie & Julia - Julie Powell

If I wanted to learn to cook, I just cook my way through Mastering the Art of French Cooking. - Julie Powell, August 25, 2002.
Julie Powell, a secretary at a government agency one night randomly picks up the ingredients for potage parmentier from Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking, or MtAoFC for short. After eating dinner, Julie makes the statement above to her husband and The Julie/Julia Project is started - she will attempt to cook through the MtAoFC and blog about her experience.

A few years later, Julie turned that blog into a bestselling book (and movie). She intertwines letters & memories of Paul Child with her own account of cooking Julia's recipes and how her family and friends reacted to her project. While cooking through chapters of egg recipes and crepe recipes, Julie and Eric - her husband - explore New York city to find marrowbones, fresh lobsters, and a whole duck.

Along the way, Julie almost calls it quits on day 221 due to some unexpected results on a cauliflower and watercress side dish. The next day she tried that recipe and the main dish recipe again and continued the project. Slowly her project gets more press. CBS follows her around for a segment. Amanda Hesser from the New York Times writes an article about her. With six days left to go, Julie appears on CNNfn with a cake covered in three different icings.

This book was not the first time I have read a book based on successful blog. I thought Julie's style was refreshingly honest - tell it as it was. I had the pleasure of hearing Julie talk two weeks ago at a library conference I attended in Boston. I'm anxious to read her latest book and rent the movie version of this book. I've also decided to make an effort to cook through the recipes I've pulled out of many magazines over the past couple of years.

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