Julie & Julia

Author: Julie Powell

Published By: Little, Brown and Company

Reviewed by Melissa Minners

            Years ago, I watched a dramedy called Julie & Julia.  The movie was based on a book by Julie Powell in which she discusses her year long project in which she cooked every single recipe in Mastering the Art of French Cooking: Volume 1 by Julia Child.  Loving the movie starring Meryl Streep as Julia Child and Amy Adams as Julie Powell, I decided I would buy the book.  As luck would have it, I've just gotten the chance to actually read it.

Julie Powell is a Texan who moved to New York in her early twenties in search of a career in acting.  What she ended up with was a bunch of temp jobs that led to a permanent secretary job working for a company in charge of rebuilding on the spot of the Twin Towers.  Faced with a career at a job she hates and the ever-ticking biological clock, Julie feels on the edge of insanity until cooking a recipe from Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking: Volume 1

That first meal was the start of a brand new project - cooking her way through the entire book.  Ever supportive, Julie's husband Eric suggests that she blog about the experience and thus, the Julie/Julia project is born.  For one year, Julie Powell struggles with balancing her work life, home life and everything in between, all while attempting to complete every single recipe in Mastering the Art of French Cooking: Volume 1 in one single year.

The result is chaotic and life-transforming.  Julie Powell's book about the experience is incredibly funny - Julie has a terrific sense of humor.  Readers will find themselves laughing hysterically as she describes slaughtering innocent lobsters as if she is some sort of serial killer, kitchen disasters, the ever illusive gelling technique and more.  Readers may even find themselves shaking their head in dismay over all of the butter used, the hours spent cooking and the alcohol consumed, wondering how the author and her husband have not keeled over from heart attacks due to cholesterol blocked arteries.

I found myself relating to Julie Powell in a way I never expected, understanding her momentary crisis and the project that brought a little insight and a great deal of joy to her life.  I wondered if I could actually commit to and complete such an ambitious project myself.  I also found myself a bit hungry - not exactly the kind of book you want to read while on a diet, but I persevered.  I loved the movie, but there is often nothing more enjoyable than the book a movie is adapted from and Julie & Julia is just that sort of book.  This is a must read that ends up being even more enjoyable than its movie adaptation.  I'm glad I finally got a chance to read it.


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