Julie & Julia by Julie Powell
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 fuck 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. I cannot wait to see what Julie comes out with next. Bon Appetite!!!