Thursday, February 19, 2009

Julie and Julia - A Foodie Book I'd Recommend

My neighbor and friend left a rather tattered copy of Julie and Julia by Julie Powell in my mailbox with a tiny Post-it note attached that read, "It will either make you puke or laugh." I was intrigued. I had no real idea what the book was about, and I'm not now, nor have I ever been, a fan of Julia Child. I don't have anything against her, I just don't know that much about her. I've never seen her show, never cooked any of her recipes, and I don't own any of her books. But I love food, and I love good writing, and I especially love to read good food writing. So I gave the book a go.

The book is a memoir. A food memoir that grew out of the yearlong project, The Julie/Julia Project. Julie Powell was a 29 year old New Yorker, working in a dead-end job as a secretary for a government agency, when she decided to cook all 524 recipes in her stolen copy of Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking in 365 days, and blog about it daily. No small task, clearly. The book chronicles that year of cooking with wit, down-home honesty, and occasional irreverence.

No matter that Julia Child was a stranger to me when I started this book. She is not the star of this book. Julie Powell is. And while yes, I did learn a thing or two about Child, and even grew to admire her some, it is Powell who I learned to love in these pages. She is funny and genuine, and a joy to read. She drinks a little too much and is prone to fits of weeping, but she is also an inspiration to anyone who has ever dared to try something new with their lives.


  1. Hey, Beth. I am a fan of Julia Child as you may know. She was an amazing woman who learned to cook when she moved to France with her new husband. She was clever and intelligent, some say a spy for the US during WWII. She was fun and well loved by her friends,as you would expect. But most people credit her with the food revolution in the US and pick her as the person who single-handedly brought 'foody-ism' to us. And she had a cracker-jack sense of humor, too.

  2. I got Julia Child's book, My Life in France, for Christmas and really enjoyed it. It is a nostalgic memoir of her years in France at the beginning of her marriage, starting when she couldn't cook at all. I'd recommend it, especially to any foodie.