Monday, January 01, 2007

Julie & Julia by Julie Powell

Julie Powell, a New York City secretary in a fit of angst over the lack of direction in her life, decides to spend an entire year cooking every single recipe in Julia Child's seminal cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking. This book is the result of her conscientious blogging efforts over the course of that year as she sort of masters the art of some of the recipes, cursing up a storm as she does so. And it's actually quite riveting.

At first I wasn't sure if I was going to like this book. Powell's tone is just a little bit too self-deprecating; I think she enjoys making fun of herself, but it often veers into the realm of narcissism. However, her descriptions of her cooking experiences kept me reading. I don't remember the last time that I was so utterly overwhelmed by a feeling of amused, shocked disbelief as I was when I read Powell's description of how she cut up a lobster. I laughed out loud at her description of her brother and husband helping her to cut up a marrow bone to extract beef marrow for a steak sauce. I cheered her on as she tried over and over again to make mayonnaise by hand.

If you like to watch The Food Network and enjoy reading slightly off-colour memoirs, this book is definitely for you.

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