Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen

by Julie Powell

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.

This book was quite an entertaining read. I expected it to, and was disappointed it doesn’t, contain some of Julia Child’s recipe so I know better what Julie was cooking, but then this book is not so much about cooking than about one young woman’s life. A typical Gen-Xer living in NY, with a run-down, not-too-clean apartment, a good day/bad day relationship, a marriage-crazed girlfriend, many crazy friends, an over-concerned mother, a mundane OL life, booze, blogs… made untypical by her decision to cook through a classic cook book.

I love Julie’s honest and witty writing. As my friend commented, it’s not very polished writing – well, her language certainly isn’t polished – but the personable note more than make up for it. I mean, how can I hate someone who openly admits to be an awful housekeeper?

My favorite passage is the one about the Petits Chaussons au Roquefort. As she stuffed and sealed the turnovers, she mused “I’d brought the filling into being, and now I was seeking to entrap it in a buttery pastry prison, though it was obvious fromk its evasive behavior that there is nothing Roquefort wants more than to be free. Was this not arrogance? Was it not, in essence, a slave-owning mentality, to be approaching this from the perspective of how best to trap the Roquefort filling, without consideration for the Roquefort’s fundamental desire for freedom?” I think this really captures the spirit of the book.

Published in: on May 16, 2008 at 10:17 pm  Comments (1)