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Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously

by Julie Powell

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5,1392501,440 (3.47)247
Trapped in a boring job and living in a tiny apartment in New York, Julie Powell regularly finds herself weeping on the way home from work. Then one night, through her mascara-smudged eyes, Julie notices that the few items she's grabbed from the Korean grocery store are the very ingredients for Potage Parmentier, as described in Julia Childs' legendary cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking. And The Project is born. Julie begins to cook, every one of the 524 recipes in the book, in the space of just one year. This is Julie's story, as gradually, from oeufs en cocotte to bifstek sauté au beurre, from 'Bitch Rice' to preparing live lobsters, she realises that this deranged Project is changing her life. The richness of the thousands of sauces she slaves over is beginning to spread into her life, and she begins to find the joie de vivre that has been missing for too many years.… (more)

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» See also 247 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 246 (next | show all)
I never thought I’d have any interest in this book or movie, but one day it was on TV and I watched it and really liked it. So when I found the book, I figured, well, the book is always better than the movie, I grabbed it. Sadly, my presumption turned out to be wrong. I did not like the book better. I liked it considerably less.

In the movie, I much preferred the sections on Julia Child, who was considerably more interesting that I would have ever thought from just watching her TV show a few times. A lot of time was given to her story. In the book, Julie, quite naturally, gives more time to her own story- that she would undertake making every single recipe in Julia’s foundational cookbook in the space of one year. She starts a blog to tell the world about this project, and it becomes a huge hit. A book deal appears, and it’s optioned for a movie. This book isn’t just a collection of her blog entries; she’s looking back from the end of the project and going through the memories.

I should have liked it. She can be witty, with the kind of self-deprecating humor that grabs me. She swears almost as much as I do. I get obsessed with food at times. But I disliked her continual complaining about the same things over and over again (note to self: stop doing that! I’m sure NO one likes that!), given that she was living a fairly privileged life. The things she says and thinks about her perfectly good, supportive husband are nasty. Her story telling is not linear in the least. I just got tired of her, and wanted the book to end. ( )
  lauriebrown54 | May 17, 2020 |
With the humor of Bridget Jones and the vitality of Augusten Burroughs, Julie Powell recounts how she conquered every recipe in Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking and saved her soul!

Julie Powell is 30-years-old, living in a rundown apartment in Queens and working at a soul-sucking secretarial job that’s going nowhere. She needs something to break the monotony of her life, and she invents a deranged assignment. She will take her mother's dog-eared copy of Julia Child's 1961 classic Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and she will cook all 524 recipes. In the span of one year.

At first she thinks it will be easy. But as she moves from the simple Potage Parmentier (potato soup) into the more complicated realm of aspics and crépes, she realizes there’s more to Mastering the Art of French Cooking than meets the eye. With Julia’s stern warble always in her ear, Julie haunts the local butcher, buying kidneys and sweetbreads. She sends her husband on late-night runs for yet more butter and rarely serves dinner before midnight. She discovers how to mold the perfect Orange Bavarian, the trick to extracting marrow from bone, and the intense pleasure of eating liver.

And somewhere along the line she realizes she has turned her kitchen into a miracle of creation and cuisine. She has eclipsed her life’s ordinariness through spectacular humor, hysteria, and perseverance. ( )
  jepeters333 | Feb 23, 2020 |
Very good book -- I loved all the descriptions of her cooking various recipes. If you like to cook this is a good book for you. ( )
  rlsova | Oct 29, 2019 |
Interesting look back at the early days of blogging (irritatingly, Julie refers to her followers as bleaders, which is an unfamiliar neologism to me, perhaps because I wasn't reading blogs in 2002, but really, it's unnecessary: do Martha Stewart and Oprah have meaders perusing their magazines? are people who read books called beaders? is Julie, the writer of a blog, a blighter? please no).

There was a surprising amount of plot and drama in this book. I was unsurprised that it was picked up for "a major motion picture" -- unlike Tuscan Sun where the studio had to do major character assassination upon the principal characters to wring any plot out of a simple home renovation.

The book was fun to read and I may have even learned a bit about cooking. But it's not one that I'll return to reread year after year, partly because it's memorable enough to make that unnecessary. ( )
  muumi | Jul 2, 2019 |
An enjoyable read without much substance. ( )
1 vote miri12 | May 31, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 246 (next | show all)
Although I don’t really believe that Julie Powell finds a Julia Child-like satisfaction in the art of cooking, her bloggy memoir offers the pleasures of witnessing a thoroughly grumpy, foul-mouthed New Yorker go through a laughable late-twenties identity crisis, discover the erotic allure of good food, and tell terrible gossip about all her best friends. More than her descriptions of (badly) attempting Julia Child’s recipes or even discovering a new career, Powell’s passages evoking the sensual delights of food connect Julie & Julia to the vivid memories in My Life in France.
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For Julia, without whom I could not have done this, and for Eric, without whom I could not do at all
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Thursday, October 6, 1949.
Paris. At seven o'clock on a dreary evening in the Left Bank, Julia began roasting pigeons for the second time in her life.
Lower Manhattan was not much better. There were wine stores and cheese counters and cute bistros, but since most of the fashionable people who live this far downtown prefer, like vampires, sustenance they can just grab and suck down on the run, a butcher was nowhere to be found.
I was raised in proximity to a self-cleaning stove, and have never been able to square my belief in myself as a person possessed of free will with the act of getting down on my knees to stick my head in a box befogged with carcinogenic fumes and scoop out handfuls of black goo.
The verdict on Foies Volailles en Aspic? Surprisingly undisgusting, but why eat chicken livers cold with jelly on top of them, when you could eat them hot without jelly?
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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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