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Julie & Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously Paperback – 6 Aug 2009
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Sassy, quirky and disarmingly honest (Marie Claire)
Restores your faith in eating for pleasure (Vogue)
I savoured each dish with the same delight as the author (Sarah Vine The Times)
A gem of a book...both hilarious and touching (Glamour)
What lies at the heart is the power of food to transform the everyday act of eating into a complex and potentially life-changing experience (Guardian)
An entertaining romp portraying the joys and frustrations familiar to any ambitious domestic cook (Sunday Times)
Heartwarming...highly entertaining (Daily Mail)
Reads like a rip-roaringly good novel...a deliciously funny romp(BBC Good Food Magazine)
About the Author
After spending a long, long time working as a temp, Julie Powell now writes in her pyjamas in Long Island City, Queens, where she shares a "loft" apartment with her husband Eric, their dog Robert, their cats Maxine, Lumi and Cooper, and their snake Zuzu Marlene.
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The idea of working through the whole book, cooking every single recipe, is quite remarkable & Julie Powell writes in a very easy style.
I have not made all of the recipes & of recent years have stuck to the tried & tested so this book has somewhat inspired me to return to the index & delve deeper.
I am not an afficionado of bad language but it didn't ruin my enjoyment of the book - I just feel it is unnecessary.
A good read for any cooks - particularly those who have dabbled in MtAoFC.
Julie Powell is in a mundane and dead-end job with a government agency when she decides to inject a bit of a challenge into her life. Her aim is to cook the 524 recipes from Julia Child's 'Mastering the Art of French Cookery' within twelve months. The book includes such wonders as: eggs poached in red wine, various food stuffs suspended in aspic, 'B*tch rice', many lobster recipes and something unspeakable made with marrowbone.
I loved this book. Powell's sense of humour and determination make it a wonderful read. You'll cheer her triumphs and commiserate over her failures (and there are many!)
For me, sometimes what you do in your kitchen provides the most fulfilment (when your job is crap and life-direction is in short supply). Julie Powell is really good on this stuff, and on what food can mean to your life - when a potato is not just a potato, when eating a good steak dinner is what your soul needs on the anniversary of Sept 11. If you share this approach - food is lot lot more than just calories - you might get a kick out of this book.
Mind you, I did get a bit fed up with "and then the food processor went wrong and I burst into tears" tantrums. And I wished there were some recipes too - I really want to try some of these now, better add the inspiration to my amazon wish list I guess. Hence, 4 not 5 stars.
I'm re-reading it again at the moment, and getting even more out of it 2nd time around...
Julie and Julie is a book which is at its heart self indulgent - and as a sort of a partial memoir you expect this. However what I found jarring was the person the memoir was about. Julie Powell cries at every obstacle, throws tantrums when things go wrong, yells at her husband for no reason...and this is the picture of herself she paints. God only knows what she'd be like in reality. But in a way I liked that, at first. The reality of it all, the way she'd showed a no holds barred view of who she was. Similar to an actress going bare faced in a film - it was a little liberating and strangely fascinating. However that soon got old. Really old. Really fast. No sane, happy person would react the way she does so continuously, with so little explanation.
However, saying that, there are positives. She has a nice writing style, the project she undertook was interesting and whilst I doubt I would ever read another book by her unless it was concerning a challenge equally engrossing I didn't actively dislike this book. If there was a star rating for lukewarm water this would be the book for it. In fact the only thing which gave me pains was, you guessed it, the constant childish pessimism of the author.
If it's a weigh up I'd say watch the infinitely more interesting and enjoyable movie. It tells you a lot more about the life of Julia Child and stars the wondrous Meryl Streep - what more incentive do you need than that?!
Thus begins Julie Powell's enjoyable and charming account of a year of her life, when she sets out to cook within one year all 524 recipes in Julia Child's 1961 classic American cookbook `Mastering the Art of French Cooking'.
It is not essential to be interested in French cooking to enjoy reading this. It is fun because of the style in which it is written and the often amusing details of the rest of the author's life in that year, including her work, family, friends and cats. However, the Project to complete all the recipes, interspersed with occasional scenes from the life of the cookery writer Julia Child herself, gives the book a structure that a general memoir of a year in the life of a 30 year old secretary and failed actress would otherwise lack. The authoress Julie Powell's life is complicated by the need to e.g. carry live lobsters home on the subway after a day's work to attempt `Grande Cuisine' in her cramped kitchen in the New York Borough of Queens.
A film Julie and Julia [DVD]  of this book stars Meryl Streep as Julia Child, and Amy Adams as Julie Powell herself. The film is good, if slightly prettified in places, and with the Julia Child scenes expanded, but is otherwise quite faithful.
I think the book is better, but if you plan to experience both then, as with most films of books, it works better to see the film first and then read the book after. That way the film's images help you to visualise what you are reading and you are not annoyed at the changes all films of books inevitably make to the original story.
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Julie in the book is way tougher!Read more