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.
DAY 1 , RECIPE 1
The Road to Hell Is
Paved with Leeks and Potatoes
As far as I know, the only evidence supporting the theory that Julia Child
first made Potage Parmentier during a bad bout of ennui is her own recipe for
it. She writes that Potage Parmentier- which is just a Frenchie way of saying
potato soup - "smells good, tastes good, and is simplicity itself to
make." It is the first recipe in the first book she ever wrote. She
concedes that you can add carrots or broccoli or green beans if you want, but
that seems beside the point, if what you're looking for is simplicity itself.
Simplicity itself. It sounds like poetry, doesn't it? It sounds like just what the doctor ordered.
It wasn't what my doctor ordered, though. My doctor - my gynecologist, to be specific - ordered a baby.
"There are the hormonal issues in your case, with the PCOS, you know about that already. And you are pushing thirty, after all. Look at it this way - ...
If you're a keen home cook or a fan of memoirs, real or fictionalized, such as Bridget Jones, this is one for you; and with the holiday season coming up dangerously soon, you might also want to keep a note of Julie & Julia as a potential gift item for a domesticated relative - perhaps paired with Julia Child's autobiography My Life In France (with the caveat that Julia Child, who died while Julie was working her way through The Art of French Cookery, wasn't a fan of Julie or her project!)
(Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).
Full Review (304 words).
Julie Powell says... 'My answer to "what's your favorite read" changes every time I'm asked it, but I can say that as far as cookbook authors, Paul Prudhomme*, Andries de Groot and, yes, Nigella Lawson are folks I enormously admire. Elizabeth Gilbert is a fantastic writer as well as a great person, and I look forward to her next book with bated breath. I am in awe of Alice Munro. As a kid I was a bit of a sci-fi and fantasy geek, and read Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's trilogy on a bi-yearly basis, and was a ...
If you liked Julie & Julia, try these:
In France, you are what you eat. Mort Rosenblum applies his superb nose for news and fine fare to the food-drenched culture of a country that takes its cuisine as seriously as its politics.
Blood, Bones & Butter is an unflinching and lyrical work. Gabrielle Hamilton's story is told with uncommon honesty, grit, humor, and passion. By turns epic and intimate, it marks the debut of a tremendous literary talent.
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