|Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen
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Julie & Julia is the story of Julie Powell's attempt to revitalize her marriage, restore her ambition, and save her soul by cooking all 524 recipes in Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume I, in a period of 365 days. The result is a masterful medley of Bridget Jones' Diary meets Like Water for Chocolate, mixed with a healthy dose of original wit, warmth, and inspiration that sets this memoir apart from most tales of personal redemption.
When we first meet Julie, she's a frustrated temp-to-perm secretary who slaves away at a thankless job, only to return to an equally demoralizing apartment in the outer boroughs of Manhattan each evening. At the urging of Eric, her devoted and slightly geeky husband, she decides to start a blog that will chronicle what she dubs the "Julie/Julia Project." What follows is a year of butter-drenched meals that will both necessitate the wearing of an unbearably uncomfortable girdle on the hottest night of the year, as well as the realization that life is what you make of it and joy is not as impossible a quest as it may seem, even when it's -10 degrees out and your pipes are frozen.
Powell is a natural when it comes to connecting with her readers, which is probably why her blog generated so much buzz, both from readers and media alike. And while her self-deprecating sense of humor can sometimes dissolve into whininess, she never really loses her edge, or her sense of purpose. Even on day 365, she's working her way through Mayonnaise Collee and ending the evening "back exactly where we started--just Eric and me, three cats and Buffy...sitting on a couch in the outer boroughs, eating, with Julia chortling alongside us...."
Inspired and encouraging, Julie and Julia is a unique opportunity to join one woman's attempt to change her life, and have a laugh, or ten, along the way. --Gisele Toueg
The bestselling memoir that's "irresistible....A kind of Bridget Jones meets The French Chef" (Philadelphia Inquirer) is now a major motion picture. Audiobook read by the author and value-priced!
Directed by Nora Ephron, starring Amy Adams as Julie and Meryl Streep as Julia, the film Julie & Julia will be released by Sony Pictures on April 19, 2009.
The film is based on this bestselling memoir in which Julie Powell, nearing thirty and trapped in a dead-end secretarial job, resolves to reclaim her life by cooking in the span of a single year, every one of the 524 recipes in Julia Child's legendary Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Her unexpected reward: not just a newfound respect for calves' livers and aspic, but a new life-lived with gusto.
- Made me a fast reader again!
A once avid reader, I'm finding myself getting slower and slower, caring less and less about what's happening in books that I've chosen to read. Julie & Julia brought me back. I tore through this book. I couldn't wait to see what was going to happen next. To me, it was her dysfunctional life and her friends' supporting roles that kept it so entertaining. There were a few key paragraphs that I found myself typing in IM chats to my friends because the situations were so similar to our lives. Great book!...more info
- Absolutely TERRIBLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Too bad I cannot give negative stars!! Read the only the first chapter and was completely turned off by the vulgarity and whiney tone. Even though I am a college graduate I had to have a dictionary handy to interpret the obscure vocabulary that was completely unnecessary. I agree with all of the bad reviews this book is getting and am vehement about how much I hated it!...more info
- Narcissistic and boring
The jacket gushes, "Julie Powell writes about cooking the way it always needed to be written about."
No, she doesn't. She writes about her friends' dysfunctional sex lives, about her own barely-controlled anger management issues, and about how much city life sucks for the less-than rich. But she writes very little about cooking.
She also has a rather limited vocabulary, substituting liberal amounts of profanity. This gets old quickly, too.
I threw this away unfinished; I didn't want to be responsible for anyone else wasting time on this book by giving it away. Fortunately it was cheap....more info
- It stinks.
Foul language. Filth. Narcissism. Maggots. Ugly attitudes.
If any of this sounds good to you, by all means buy it. But after handling this book long enough, I want to wash my hands.
Julia Child would smack this author with a frying pan. Anyone who has explored this book for any length of time would make no effort to stop her.
Blech. ...more info
- Glad I bought it used. Wish I hadn't bought it at all.
Interesting idea, funny moments, and the author seems like a nice enough person-- However, about the third time I got to a gratuitous insult of Republicans, I put it down. Why is this okay? Apparently, just anybody's political opinions and beliefs aren't worthy of respect, only Democrats'. How incredibly liberal and tolerant! Lesson learned, and won't be purchasing any more of Julie's words....more info
- Too Funny to Pass Up!
This the true story of a women just 30 who struggles with the idea of working to live, not being able to carry a child, and an oh too boring existence. She lives in NY city where she works for a local Government agency as a secretary. She absolutely hates her job, which she finds no purpose in what so ever. When she realizes that she is unable to have children, she begins to question everything, mainly her purpose. She takes a trip to visit her mother and father back home, to get some much needed R and R, and comes across her mother's Art of French Cooking book. She takes it home with her and begins to cook, she writes a blog about the adventure, as she decides much to the dismay of family and friends to cook every recipe in the book by years end. I know it doesn't sound very exciting, but it's a great read and this is why.
She is a great comedic writer, it reminded me a whole lot of Bridget Jones, I laughed through out.
She holds nothing back, letting you inside all aspects of her thoughts and memories, which are always amusing.
She is highly relatable, if you are a late 20's to mid 30's women you should find this book humorous and enlightening.
The book took me a few weeks to read, it was not a page turner suspense, but it was great on lunches or lazy Sundays. Its just too funny and real not to read!
- Oh, lighten UP, folks!
I liked this little venture into one woman's obsession. She wasn't trying to write Larousse's Gastronomique, for heaven's sake. It's just a fun little chicklit type of memoir. Quirky and cute. Just don't look for big a big emotional work of art or for a cooking how-to. Go aloong for the ride and enjoy it....more info
- Marrow, maggots, and moaning, oh my!
____I loved the premise of Julie and Julia, and luckily, I had not read any of the reviews before reading the book, otherwise I probably would not have bothered. I expected some amount of editorializing about topics unrelated to cooking/food as the book is an offshoot of the author's blogging experience, after all. However, her condescending and unsympathetic tone toward anyone who does not share her personal worldview, political stance, or dress sense was extremely off-putting; and while I am not the most reverent person myself, I found a lot of the narrative to be excessively crass.
____All that said, the biggest problem this story has is that the protagonist is not terribly relatable( okay I know it's nonfiction, but still). Sure lots of us have tedious jobs, are less than tidy, make ghastly mistakes in recipes, and have occasional hissy fits; but this gal takes it all to the extreme. The sarcasm and bitterness about her "government drone" job are unpleasant. Her descriptions of her housekeeping (or lack thereof) are pretty horrifying. (Really, how many people end up with maggots under their dish drainer!) Everyone makes cooking or baking mistakes at some point, but the sheer number of times this author has problems because SHE DIDN'T BOTHER READING THROUGH THE FLIPPIN' RECIPE FIRST is incredibly annoying. Then, on top of all this, she is constantly whingeing and moaning about one or another of the aforementioned issues...either that or totally freaking out and getting hysterical. I kept wishing she would get on medication already (not that drugs are the answer, but geez, it might be worth a try)!
____One final note: she does say f*** way too much. :)...more info
- A fun and entertaining read
For the most part I really enjoyed reading this book. The random digs at her coworkers based on their political party were really out of place in the story line....more info
- I've never disliked anyone so much in my life.
This book was so much less than I had hoped for and that it could have been. I love the parts about Julia Child but why did this writer include stories about herself?! This writer's life is not only boring, it's painful to read about! This woman is pathetic. I found not one redeeming quality in Julie Powell as a person and she seemed so proud of being what I consider a self-centered, high-maintenance, elitist b_ _ _ h. Her poor husband! Poor readers! I say go directly to anything by or about Julia Child and read the real thing. Get to know Julia Child...a woman of grace, courage and talent. Everything Julie Powell is not....more info
This book has travelled with me from Arizona to PA, to TX, to NOLA, to PA, to NOLA, to GA, to PA, back to GA and finally back to PA again.... I have been "in the middle" of this book for almost two years. It is one of those books that never really grabs you. Some books grab you and pull you in and you can't put the book down, however, I put this book down many timees.
Julie & Julia is a very boring and unintelligible memoir to Julia Child (maybe) but more so a self-involved journaling/rambling of a person battling depression, cooking obsession and the beating of the "biological clock." Her half-a**ed attempts at recreating Julia Child's recipes left me with a bad taste in my mouth.
The author attempts to (and somewhat accomplishes) the re-creation of every recipe in Julia Childs renown cookbook (524 recipes) (Mastering the Art of French Cooking) in one year. She cooks things such as brains, liver, kidneys, marrow. The only humorous memory was that her Mother always said that kidneys always "tasted like piss." however some that the author cooked did not taste like piss, however her "piss smelled like kidneys." That was such a crude remark (and I am no priss mind you) I could not help but laugh.
The author wrote a blog and this book really made small mention of her blog, small mention of other characters. The only characters truly developed in this book is the author and her husband Eric. But even his character is truly never examined, just from the author's perspective minimally. This book was albout the author. My final impression of the book was that the author wants/wanted to have a baby, had to do something to occupy her mind besides thinking about having a baby or not being able to have a baby and the personal neglect in her kitchen can't help but be seen as depression.
I'm sorry but little flies flying around the author's kitchen constantly and finally towards the end of the book they discover maggots under their dish drying tray. They were very neglectful of the dishes, left them piled in the sink frequently and I'm sorry but this book was extremely bad and further, I could not imagine eathing ANYTHING from this author's kitchen knowing the lack of care taken to have a clean kitchen. She put forth about as much energy in writing a book.
- A good summer book. Entertaining, easy, funny.
I loved this book. It is funny, easy to read, well written, and entertaining. No, I did no "learn" anything about cooking but it was engaging, laugh-out-loud funny in spots, and just a good summer read. I recommend this book for someone looking for a light, easy, book for reading at the beach, or on a plane.
- A delicious read.
As a Texas 'gal about the same age as Julie, I related in many ways to this author. She was drifting, trying to find or create meaning in her life so she cooked! I thought though her plan of cooking her way through Julia Child's recipes was a bit neurotic it was a metaphor of the many ways we all try to distance ourselves from our own personal rough patches. I must say that the excerpts from Paul & Julia's letters were at times distracting as a reader. They did fit, however, into the overall theme of escape into someone's else's life as a respite from your own. A really nice read with some interesting commentary on French cooking for the modern palate. I would definitely recommend it. ...more info
- too much julie not enough julia
The politics gets really old really fast as do the day to day lives of the self absorbed and rather dull cast of characters. I really wanted to like the book, but, like a number of other reviewers, I could only make it part way through. PS. enough with the F-word already. It may be hip, but it's jarring especailly when used incessently....more info
The author has a good sense of humor so there are many funny moments, but in general, there isn't a lot of substance here. Definitely don't pay full price for this one! ...more info
- Better as a Blog
The premise had promise. The execution was shallow, narcissistic, and naive. In short, it brandished every hallmark of the blog it once was.
But, let me be clear: I actually would have loved it as a blog. From a book, I craved more thoughtful prose and structural and thematic sophistication....more info
- A breath of fresh air!
Oh what a special, special book. Funny and real. A story of a woman feeling lost and wondering where life would lead, taking on a slightly irrational project that became all consuming, who inspires an unlikely mix of characters while finding her own path of sorts along the way. Touching, truthful and self-aware, this book gives credence to the philosophy that one who follows their passion, however crazy it seems, will find joy and perhaps herself in the mix. A must read for the foodies among us, but applicable to anyone who has ever found themselves engulfed by a project, their career, or life in general and wondering how everything will come together. Loved it, loved it....more info
- funny but disappointing
The vapid prejudice was unappealing. Of course its ok to disagree with a set of political ideas. The blessing of America as we can all disagree openly. But to just randomly name "republicans" as the evil guys in the world in the name of humor is not funny and reveals prejudice...Too bad as the book surely has its funny bits. It rawly shares a vulnerability which has a real appeal. ...more info
- Pretty entertaining read about the adventures of a foodie. Warning: you have to be in a generous state of mind though!
As you may know already, this is the story of a 30-year-old secretary who decided to embark on making all the recipes in Julia Child's seminal cookbook in a year. There's a lot of (and I mean A LOT!) drama in the book with the author's job, cooking project and other interpersonal relationships, and I'm not sure that it's the good kind of drama.
It's kind of fun to read about her cooking experiences, but the author's style is very erratic and almost ADD-like, which makes it very hard to follow. You have to be in a generous state of mind to finish and maybe enjoy this book (which I was). I have to agree with other reviewers that in the end, this is a pretty self-absorbed book about Julie's cooking project and life, reminiscent of another surprising hit "Eat, Pray, Love".
I guess if you are into reading the complaints and whining of a pretty damn lucky person's existence and experience, this is the book for you. Despite the endless rant about how difficult and hard her life was, I liked the parts where she actually described her cooking project....more info
- Enjoy it for what it is...
At first I had a hard time connecting with the book, but after a while Julie drew me in with her self-deprecating sense of humor. She's pretty honest about her imperfections and her disillusion with her professional accomplishments. This project was a way for her to reclaim her life. I loved how she hung in there and vividly describes both her successes and failures in the kitchen. Can't wait to see the movie next year!...more info
- Meh, don't really bother your time
This book was OK. It wasn't climactic, and in the end the author rubs it in your face that she made all this money from writing her blog and her book. Luckily it's a short read so I didn't waste too much time on it....more info
- Funny book to listen to
As Julie Powell was approaching 30, she found herself in a funk. She'd moved to New York to pursue an acting career, yet she was working as a secretary and she was having reproductive issues just as her biological clock was ticking. She decided to embark on a project - in the next year she was going to cook all 524 recipes in Julia Child's original cookbook, The Art of French Cooking. Her husband, Eric was supportive, and even suggested she start a blog to document her progress along the way. While listening to this book, you meet Julie's friends and family and learn of her accomplishments and frustrations. You learn about the recipes she creates and the difficulties she has finding some of the ingredients.
Julie & Julia, by Julie Powell is the story of "The Project," as she began to call it. This book is about the recipes, her blog and her relationships with her friends and family. I downloaded the audio version of this book from iTunes after seeing people talk about it on Twitter. The author reads the book and she does a splendid job.
I have to admit that when I first heard about "The Project," my first thought was, "Why?" We used to live in the culinary capitol of France and discovered food that even Carl wouldn't eat. But, after listening to Julie for a little while, I was rooting for her and "The Project." Most bloggers can relate to her joy at receiving 36 hits early on (she knew because she'd checked her stats 12 times that day) and receiving her first comment. This audiobook made me laugh (a lot) and even got me teary-eyed at one point. The author has quite the potty mouth, so this is not one to listen to with your children. There's a great interview with the author at the end....more info
- Julie is a whiner who doesn't like to cook!
I only read 2/3 of this "memoir." Before reading I was intrigued by the concept - the author cooking the recipes of Julia Child. Sounds like potential for amusement. I agree with many of the negative reviews below that this is a self-absorbed, whiney author. I found each chapter repetitive - drinking her gimlets, not having sex with her husband, her try-too-hard-to-be-eccentric friends. This book is a case in point that a popular-blog-does-not-a well-written, well-conceived-book-make. I would recommend Ruth Reichl's memoirs or Peter Mayle's tales of French food and experiences. Or Julia Child's "My Life in France" (haven't read that one, but it has *got* to be better than this.) This book is a poor choice for a reader, a foodie or anyone who abhors whining....more info
- Self absorbed, lazy, and stupid
I was given this to read after some family enjoyed it. I was appalled, though. I just finished the book (kinda felt that I had to after having it given to me to read). Why this is not a good book:
a. It is entirely self-absorbed. Which I get, Americans like to be voyeurs. But not when someone is this boring.
b. I did not empathize or even sympathize with Julie Powell in the least. She said she moved to NY to act, never even went to any auditions, and yet she COMPLAINS about being a temp. Yet she continues to talk about how she cam to NY to act. I cannot stand to hear someone whining about their circumstance when they have done absolutely nothing to change it.
c. This woman BOASTS about how horrible her housekeeping skills are and is not surprised when she finds maggots in her kitchen. And this book is supposed to be about cooking!! It is too painful to read about these kinds of living conditions. This is not the third world, she should be able to take care of her living area well enough so as to not have it be a breeding ground for maggots.
d. She complains about being fat constantly, and then makes steaks prepared with a half pound of butter. Every night.
e. I love to cook. But this food is absolutely disgusting. Steak sauce made from bone marrow? Aspic? If you like food, you should not be reading this book.
f. I feel that this book promotes a high-fat, meat-intensive diet. This kind of eating is in no way healthy. Vegetarians and vegans are often put down in the book because the author is too gluttonous to understand why anyone would not need to eat like she does. Obesity is a serious issue in this country. The fact that Julie Powell is condoning this kind of food is really pretty scary. Perhaps if she had written about becoming a vegan in the course of a year and the wonderful foods she ate and changes in her body, this would be a bit more of an inspiration. As it is, it is a painful reminder of the problems with the American diet and mentality around food. I'd like to hear Mimi Roth's opinion here.
I just don't really see what there is to like. I don't think this woman is funny, but I know that I'm supposed to. I just find her to be despicable. I don't want to hear her complain about how her life sucks when she is not doing anything to change it. No, I don't consider cooking your way through a cookbook to be changing it. That could be a fun project and a good way to learn to cook, but I'm sorry, it does not constitute doing something about your life. Community service might have been a more constructive pastime. If she had blogged about that, I might like her more. But as is, she just comes off as a lazy, apathetic slacker who likes to whine about what she doesn't have.
- I did laugh alot
I picked up this book because I heard that it was Norah Ephron's next project and I love her movies. I laughed alot and did enjoy it but sometimes got a little bored with the food talk. I know it is a book about cooking so I excpected that but I enjoyed her random chatter the most....more info
- A total disappointment
I am a fan of her blog, and got this book with high hopes. What a disappointment. I stopped reading after a couple of chapters due to pure boredom. I recommend that she publish a book consisting of her blog entries. It would make a more entertaining read....more info
- Julie and Julia
I desperately tried to like this book - in fact, when it arrived from Amazon (used - thank goodness), I couldn't wait until my baby was asleep to jump into bed to start reading it. However, after picking away at Julie and Julia for three nights, I finally had to put it away for good. I found it tedious and rather uninteresting, focusing more on the writer's unappealing life & friends than on cooking. Nice attempt, but overrated and a disappointment....more info
- Deserves more stars
There are so many here who are so offended by the language and politics in this book. If you're an over-sensitive, self-righteous right-winger with absolutely no sense of humor, then I submit you probably wouldn't enjoy it, so don't go out and buy/borrow it and trash the overall rating of this book with your negative criticism that focuses on your opinion of the author personally and detracts from what the book is about and its clever writing.
This is a MEMOIR, people. The author is being herself both in her writing style/language and her opinions. That's what a memoir is. Why should she change the way she speaks or modify her views to please anyone? You don't have to agree with her to enjoy the book for what it is, a humorous account of a year-long cooking project and her blog writing that resulted from it and subsequently became the book.
If you're any type of foodie, amateur gourmet or even just the occasional home cook, you should really enjoy this book. And even if you're none of these, you should still appreciate the original idea for a memoir and Powell's writing. I found some parts laugh-out-loud funny, like dragging a live lobster home from Manhattan, or interesting such as when she goes in search of bone marrow. I also enjoyed the interstices of Julia and Paul Child that the author imagined and constructed throughout the book. She has a tremendous amount of respect for Julia that comes through regardless of what you think of Julie as a person.
I recommended this book for our monthly book club and we're all planning to emulate Julie's efforts by creating some of Julia's recipes ourselves and sharing our experiences (along with the food) at our next meeting. (And to all the negative reviewers here, so far everyone in our group is really enjoying the book!)
- don't buy it for your Mom!
Great book, well written, witty and funny, but only if you can get past the incredibly filthy language that overpowers the story and detracts rather than adds. ...more info
- What's wrong with you people?
This book inspired me. This book touched me. Julie's story isn't lighthearted all the time but who cares? This story is REAL. It's about a real woman who went through a tough time and tried to find meaning in her life via her kitchen. Her culinary adventures had me completely riveted to her story. Rarely has a book moved me and gripped me this hard. For those who gave the book a bad review, I think you need some therapy....more info
- Cute and funny!
I just finished this book - I received it as a birthday gift from my sister in law who knows I love to peruse through vintage cookbooks in search of interesting dishes to try out. I have to admire people like Julie, who actually make a project out of an obsession! Unlike some other reviewers here, I enjoyed reading about her miserable and boring life outside the project. Her candor and humor about it is what makes this book interesting. If it were JUST about how to make each dish, where would the human interest be? If anything, there was TOO MUCH about the gross aspects of food prep for me! I hardly thought she used the F-word THAT much. And I never use it myself, and don't really care for the overuse of it ("Six Feet Under" now, great show, but THEY use it wayyyy too much). Also, yes, the Republican / Democrat rivalry, funny at first, got to be tiring by the end (and I'm neither party). But on the whole, a good fluffy read when you don't want something too deep! ...more info
- It wasn't all that bad for crying out loud . . .
Well, her writing style captured her frenzied sort of personality. I could almost hear her voice (although I have never actually heard it) while I was reading. I think the back and forth, interjected stories about Isabel and Gwen, her brother, etc. where well done the majority of the time and not difficult to follow. It further reinforced her style and her literary voice, if you will. Perhaps it's not a style that most people are accustomed to, so they poo poo it. Just because you don't understand it or care for it doesn't mean it's bad.
Okay, so I was a little freaked about the maggots, but who knows if Julie was using her literary licence as it were. She did after all include a preface that stated that some stuff was just made up.
I really liked the book and thought it was fun, somewhat inspiring and creative. I probably would only have given it 3 stars if I didn't read all the bad reviews first....more info
I love both cooking and reading blogs, so I thought this book would be a natural fit for me. Unfortunately, I didn't enjoy much about it. The writing is so-so, and the author's "deep thoughts" that come from her cooking experiences are pretty banal and predictable.
I did get a laugh that there are book club questions included at the end - I can't imagine that any book club would select this book - there is just not a lot of substance here. I'd give this one a miss....more info
- excellent, unique, and not for everyone
This is not the same as other books and that obviously offended some people who may be more comfortable with something conventional. I could not put it down. You do not have to agree with everything in a book to like it; the tone was a tad misdirected and even neurotic at times, but it was alive, fresh, and authentic, as les champignons saut¨¦s should be. ...more info
- Fun AND taught me about cooking. Well, a little about cooking...
I had such fun reading this book. I had never heard of Julie Powell and the first time I heard of her blog was in this book. From the very first chapter, though, I was engaged with the book because I felt she was so like myself: 29(well, I'm 30 now, as she turned in the book)and diagnosed with PCOS - as I was myself last year - married, and not entirely satisfied with her life. I was hooked from Chapter 1. I enjoyed reading about her messy life and the messy lives of her friends every bit as much as I enjoyed reading about her hilarious anecdotes about her cooking experiences. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, certainly, but why would you expect this book to be entirely about cooking. This is a memoir - no one's life is ever just about one thing, and if this book HAD been only about cooking, it would not have been nearly as much fun. Or even a true memoir, for that matter. I think it is hilarous that some reviewers criticized Julie for being an amateur cook - I believe that was the point of the project: to tackle something new and different.
I say thanks, Julie, for inspiring me to find a project to commit myself to - to find purpose in something I can be passionate about. ...more info
- A Rambling Mess
I picked this book up with an expectation of a fun memoir read. The premise was unique...cooking all 524 recipes from Julia Child's Art of French Cooking. I expected a fun romp of cooking mishaps, triumphant cuisines, interesting tales of kitchen disasters and enjoyments but instead it was nothing but a misguided attempt at a so-called memoir. Very, very disappointing....more info
- Delicious, dark and just what I was in the mood for
My mother jokes that my mexican casserole is so bad that my father shuffled off his mortal coil to avoid having to eat it again, and I don't even like French cooking -- too fussy and too creamy. But I liked watching Julia Child as a kid, and found this book delicious -- dark, funny, idiosyncratic and endearingly messy. In an odd way, a bit like comfort food, if you find aspic, obsession and kitchen chaos comforting. I sure do....more info
- A mix of 5-stars and 3-stars: witty but a little too whiny
I'd been intending to read this book for a couple of years. After all, I'm an active blogger and a serious foodie (as the number of my cookbook reviews will demonstrate). But I procrastinated until I saw the movie preview (in which Meryl Streep captures Julia Child *amazingly*). Now that I read the book... I have oddly mixed feelings.
The real life story is simple enough: a young woman from New York City, stuck in a going-nowhere office job, decides to cook every single recipe from Julia Child's Mastering The Art of French Cooking, a cookbook that was probably on your mother's bookshelf, if not your own. (My mother didn't own a copy, but then Mom hated to cook; the Settlement Cookbook was more her speed. Or a stovetop dinner whose instructions began, "Just brown a pound of ground beef....")
Anyway, Julie Powell blogged about her experiences, which gathered an avid following. This is the book version of the blog. Happily for the reader, this blog-to-book transition did not try to follow the "just print the blog" diary style used in, say, Waiter Rant. So it's eminently readable even if you've never looked at a web log in your life.
If you'd asked me to rate this book halfway through, I'd probably have given it 5 stars. Julie is witty, and she draws you into her life -- not just into her kitchen. Maybe I didn't need to know about her medical conditions or her worries about turning 30 without getting pregnant, but it was okay. Because the beef marrowbone story, for example, put all the backstory into context and made me laugh aloud. ("Perhaps in 1961, when JC published MtAoFC, marrowbones hung off trees like greasy Christmas ornaments. But I did not live in 1961, nor did I live in France, which would have made things simpler. Instead, I lived in Long Island City, and in Long Island City, marrowbones are simply not to be had.")
But perhaps Julie & Julia affected me like too much cream and butter in my food -- after a while, it was too much for one sitting. For one thing, there was less examination of the cooking experience (with a few good exceptions, such as killing lobsters) and a little too much about Julie's life and friends. It's a little like a singer whose voice you like, but who has a "sound" that is a bit too much to listen to for an entire album. Instead of being charmed by Julie's observations, I began to feel as though she was whining about her sex life, her apartment's plumbing, the love lives of the people around her -- and that threatened to chase me away. She's a good writer, really she is, so I kept going until the end... but by then, I found it almost depressing. I love to cook, too, but all that matters in your life is meeting a self-imposed arbitrary deadline?
End result: I liked this book. I'm glad I read it. But I don't feel as though you MUST read it, and I will not press it upon you. If the movie lives up to the trailers, that might be enough....more info
- Author starts out abrasive, but becomes more likable towards the end
Like many of the other reviewers here, I was intrigued by the premise of this book, but the author's attitude and descriptions of her life make it tough going at times. Perhaps she's exaggerating for comic effect, but as is, she initially comes across as the worst caricature of a Gen-X, would-be New York hipster: mean-spirited, self-absorbed, foul-mouthed, rude, whiny, and intolerant of anyone she suspects of not sharing her self-consciously outre (i.e., monogamous married life is "bourgeois", but the woman operating an S&M dungeon in mid-town Manhattan is "awesome!") values. Most of the way through the book, I almost felt sorry for Julie Powell, because she didn't seem to really get much enjoyment out of anything in her life, in spite of having a loving, supportive husband and family.
On reflection, though, I felt that my earlier review was too harsh, because Powell does actually grow up a little and mellow out towards the end, and becomes much more endearing as a result. She can be very amusing at times, and I respect her willingness to let people see her struggles and failings and foibles (although I could have done without the blaspheming, and with fewer descriptions of her strident political biases and her friends' sexual escapades, which in my opinion didn't really add much to the book). Overall, it's not a bad way to pass the time. ...more info
- couldn't put the book down!
I was really excited to bump into Julie Powell's blog in 2004. While the woman is a (likeable!) nut, I liked reading more about the stuff going on in her life while most days she worked a full day, went shopping for ingredients that were obscure and extremely hard to hunt down, and THEN went home to cook some really DIFFICULT old-school food. That's hard. I gotta hand it to her! Coincidentally, there's nothing wrong with the word, "f**k". But if you don't like that word, don't read the book....more info
- Not an heirloom recipe
I got this on the cheap, remaindered at Borders, and was in the mood for something like this. It's a quick read, has its fun moments, but it's not some fantastic book. I like the premise, that Julie Powell is feeling a bit of a life crisis: Close to age 30, feels a bit aimless in life, and decides she wants to cook all recipes in Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking. It looks like a fun, unusual challenge, and reading about it is enjoyable. But I'm getting tired of women who are so horrified of turning 30. Seriously, it's not such a bad thing. Thirty isn't old anymore!
But in between you read about her government job, which she doesn't like, but what she complains about doesn't sound that horrible. Government jobs have their reputation for red tape, etc., but for someone who wanted to be an actress but for some reason never followed through and starts up a cooking blog, it's almost, why complain? Just do something about it! But I guess that's where the 'project' got started. Worst is I get the impression she doesn't even like to cook (in the book she says she started to impress the guy she ends up marrying). That's not really a passion for cooking, but just an attempt to bait a guy.
As for the cookbook, she tackles all recipes. It seems like she did them in order, which makes no sense to me, as I think you'd want to bounce around for variety's sake. But there almost isn't enough cooking in this cooking memoir, and in between you hear about her eccentric friends, selling her eggs for money (and her fertility issue) and her supportive husband and her blog and some of the attention she gets. It's a cute, real fairy tale, but it's missing something: A little bite, a little spice. The parts I liked best were the tidbits between the Julie chapters about Julia Child's life. I wanted more of these mini-chapters. But when those little amuse-bouches prove more enjoyable than the main course, that's not good. ...more info
- Very disappointing
I had this book on my "to read" list for some time and finally got around to picking it up. I thought this would read along the lines of, "Cooking for Mr. Latte" which I thoroughly enjoyed. I was expecting (and wanting) something very light-heartened and by the description I thought, "Julie and Julia" would be exactly that. I could not have been more wrong. I found the author to be annoying and very unlikeable. I got about 1/2 through the book before I gave up. Wish I had read these reviews first....more info
- well i bought the cookbook
Humourous writing style but not Fran. Having some experience in blogging, I know that you just dont *post a blog* and get strangers to hit it. She had some inside help on this..or maybe she glommed onto a Julia Child blog. No wonder Julia was irritated with her.
I suspect Julia threw up her hands when she learned that the author was attempting to make one of her recipes in the midst of maggots. While the author may have found that cute and self-deprecating, I found it disgusting.
And by the way..if you disapprove of the politics of the people who are paying your salary ( at the time the book was written, the taxpayers had voted Republican and the author was living on the taxpayers) show some principle and go work for some other entity that will tolerate your apathy, ennui, and frequent sick days. We get it, you are a Democrat, you are too good to work for Republicans, and you have maggots in your kitchen. And you are absolutely too smart for your job. Well...the reader is wondering...if you are so smart....why do you have that job? Perhaps because working for the government is all you can acccomplish?
Ok.. I like to cook, I'm not an expert, would not eat kidneys etc. Admire her effort if not her housekeeping...wonder if it really happened however...or if it was all a fake.
Bottom line this was a mildly amusing tale..have read better blogs about more interesting subjects and I'm certainly glad I did not buy it in hard cover. And, I sincerely suspect it was not true.
Except the maggots..I believe that happened for sure. ...more info
- The Joy of Cooking, Julie/Julia style
I've been a Julia Child fan for a long time, so when I stumbled on this book (I'm behind the literary times here; I know it's been out for a while, and her blog was written years ago), I was skeptical. I thought it sounded gimmicky. But thanks to the free sample option on my kindle, I read the beginning of the book. And I loved it! So I downloaded it and absolutely devoured the rest of it in a matter of hours, and there was nothing my newborn or my two year old (or my husband, for that matter) could do to stop me.
Now, you have to know what this book is, and what it is not. It's not a rehashing of JC's recipes, or an assessment whether the author succeeded or failed in her attempts to make all 524 recipes in Mastering the Art of French Cooking in one year. It's not a paean to Julia Child, or to french cooking in general, or an attempt by the author to toot her own horn over her culinary skills (except for the deboned duck, which was well warranted); after reading about her filthy kitchen, as a matter of fact, I'm not sure ANYONE should eat Julie Powell's cooking, french or not. What this book is, is a memoir by a young woman lost and full of no small amount of despair in her everyday life. And she found purpose and enthusiasm for her life thanks to Julia Child. Does that sound hokey? Maybe. But Julie Powell pulls it off, and she does it in a damn funny and engaging way. Her voice is fresh and real; she sounds just like who she is: an almost 30-something. She swears; she's irreverent; she throws tantrums not unlike the ones I wanted to throw when I was her age.
Some reviewers have objected to her language, but balls to that. And some have said she is disrespectful towards Republicans and about 9/11. She certainly is bitter and ascerbic towards the GOP and its supporters, and when you put this in historical context, it makes absolute sense, especially for her age group. On the matter of 9/11, I think that's just over it. She's a New Yorker; she lived it, and continued to have to face the repercussions of it every day thanks to the job that she had. She just doesn't have the reverence for 9/11 that so many do - and I think that it's justified. In any case, it's a small part of the book. Another reviewer says that they walked away feeling that Julie didn't even like Julia Child. This reviewer must not have read the book, or at least very much of it, because it's very, very clear throughout that Julie admires and even adores Julia, so much so that she basically creates an imaginary friend Julia Child for herself, to keep herself going. I love it. I think its a beautiful tribute to a woman who lived life with verve.
I'm really looking forward to hearing more from this authentic and hilarious author. Way to go, Julie! I hold my vodka gimlet high in your honor! ...more info
- Hilariously yummy!
Oh. My. God. This was easily one of THE best books I have ever read! Who knew that hidden among the writings on food books was a gem of this caliber and magnificence.
Julie Powell was like many failed actresses who had moved to New York before her...stuck in a dead end job. She was unhappy in her secretarial work for some government agency as are many people who labor at such menial occupations.
On the cusp of her 30th birthday, Julie recognized the trivial existence she had been inhabiting and determined that she needed some purpose in life. She was beckoned to what would be become her Bible for the next year...Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child. Julie resolved to cook her way through this intimidating collection of recipes within one year. Not only did she take on this daunting task, she decided to blog about her experience, which resulted in a group of followers, several interviews, and an eventual book deal.
What follows the introduction into the premise is 300 astonishing pages of anger, pain, laughter, frustration, adoration, and...butter. Julie deliciously (and sometimes disgustingly) describes, in detail, her journey into the foray of French cooking. We are thrilled with her when she accomplishes tasks such as bone marrow scraping and crepe flipping. We are aggravated alongside her through the poaching of eggs and the ever elusive task of mayonnaise making. We are enraptured with tart-a-palooza and squirm our way through aspics. We are even with her when she attempts culinary seduction by way of pecan spice cake with pecan icing.
Not only is there are relationship built with Julie but through her, and the apartments in her brain pan, we come to know Julia Child as a culinary genius and one Hell of a woman. I was even saddened when in the final pages of the book I learned that Julia Child died on the eve of her 92nd birthday.
This book is not strictly about food, though that is the central theme, but is also about people. We get to know Sally and are somewhat creeped out by the David's, we worry over Isabel's life altering choices, and enjoy Gwen's sexy IM romance. We are thankful for husband's as supportive and composed as Eric and wish Julie's mother would just calm down. What is there to say about Heathcliff other than...that's Heathcliff.
What can I say to express the sheer pleasure and delight that filled me with each turn of the page? I laughed, I cried, and I toiled. This book is inspirational to say the least. I was ravenous through the majority of its duration and my cravings would change as we grew deeper into the cookbook, beginning with potato soup and ending with a stuffed, pastry-wrapped duck. I found myself overflowing with the hunger to cook. I kept walking to my kitchen bookshelf to find and flip through my copy of Julia Child's The Way to Cook. Not only have I found myself wanting to create culinary masterpieces, I also was inspired to write. Julie Powell's voice is blunt, brutal, and honest. She has no qualms about using the word f*** whenever she sees fit, and sometimes even if it doesn't fit. She does not sugar coat her life to make it seem more desirable. She offers the reader nothing other than her self and her life. Take her as she as or do not take her at all...and balls to you if you don't like her!
All in all, this was quite a delectable read. I recommend it to anyone who wants a good laugh and or if you simply want an uplifting, yet down and dirty read. I cannot wait to see what Julie comes out with next. Bon Appetite!!!
- Sans Valeur
Julia Child, at age 91, lived at Casa Dorinda in Montecito. She opined to a reporter that she did not much appreciate immature Julie Powell's precious writing project of crash cooking in one year all 524 recipes in Child's "Mastering the Art of French Cooking". Not serious. Not professional. Disrespectful. Since Julia has sixty more years of wisdom under her belt than Julie, I'll go with Child. Powell's writing style is technically adequate. But it's so full of snotty Julie,Julie,Julie. Her story can be amusing at times, but her incredibly foul mouth obliterates the humor.I will reserve any higher a rating on this trashy tale until I try Powell's attempt at a recipe on page 220 for Foie de Veau ala Moutarde.That's calves'liver. Mustard version. Powell insists it's unctuous, rich, a silky soul. If she can get the public to eat offal, she may deserve some small recognition beyond her bloggers....more info
- Republican bashing at its finest
If you like Republican bashing then this book is for you. Whatever happened to the days when people kept their political opinions to themselves. You've lost half of your audience. Your ratings speak for themselves.
Being a foodie I was hoping to be inspired. The only morsel I got out of this book was that Julia Child has a recipe for a garlic sauce. I will now confiscate my mother's copy of Mtafc.
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