In general, I've become a fan of the memoir -- almost preferring it to fiction if it's well-written enough (I said almost). However, by far my favorite subset of memoir is the "project memoir." The author sets out to do something (think The Know-It-All: One Man's Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World and other books by AJ Jacobs). These books generally give a glimpse into the person's life in the midst of their project, but aren't so entirely self-absorbed.
Julie Powell is frustrated with her dead-end job and the death of her dreams to do something more, so she decides to cook through Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking in one year. This book is adapted from her blog (back when blogs were relatively new) that she kept detailing her projects one recipe at a time.
I enjoyed this book a lot. The intricacies of foods that I will never cook or eat (aspic and veal marrow) was fascinating and her telling is funny (many project memoirs, are funny and that's another reason I like them).
Another interesting tidbit is that she recounts Sept 11 -- since she was working in Manhattan at the time. There are other neat interesting facts about NYC -- apartment life, subways etc -- if you like that sort of thing as well.
Let's say, for example, that you are in your late twenties, living in New York City in a something-is-always-going wrong apartment, and working at a miserable dead-end secretarial job at a government agency. What do you do to stir up your life? Well, cook every recipe - 524 of them - from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume I by Julia Child in 365 days of course! And that is precisely what Julie Powell, the author of Julie & Julia, set out to do. Living in one … more
Julie and Julia is a true story of a writer named Julie Powell and how she has forever linked her life with that of famous TV Chef and cookbook author Julia Child. Julie and Julia takes place in New York, in Julie Powell's small apartment kitchen. As a writer working in an office job she hates, Julie is longing for more. In her tiny kitchen, she decides to delve into Julia Child's cookbook The Art of French Cooking. Her husband talks her into blogging her journey … more
I had been wanting to read Julie and Julia for a long time. Partly because I saw the movie when it came out last year, partly because I'm a fellow blogger. Last Friday I finally got around to finishing it. There were things about it that I really liked, and things about it that I really didn't. Although the movie was very similar to the book, the book had an undeniable dark streak running through it (as books often do) that was much diluted in the movie. So, things … more
This is one of the greatest books ever written for foodies. I, myself, being a foodie really enjoyed reading about her struggles and tribulations. Just the concept of this book and her mission was so out of the ordinary.
I was surprised by this memoir/homage which I thought would be much more heavily food focused than it was. Obviously food (or its preparation) was the common tie between Julie and Julia, but the book is much more about Julia's quest to find herself through the admittedly odd project to cook her way through Julia Child's cookbook. The book is well-written though I often found myself frustrated with the author who seemed very immature in parts. All in all a decent read for someone … more
Julia Child was and always will be an icon in the cooking world. I went to the American History Museum at the Smithsonian and saw the display with her kitchen. I just stood in awe to think of everything that had been cooked there. It was the same feeling that Julie Powell had after she had completed her year long project to cook every recipe in Julia Child's French cookbook and blog about it. I enjoyed reading about her decision and the reactions she got when Julie pursued the project. Challenges … more
Huh? Why not? After reading about the wondrous slimming powers of French eating in Will Clower's "The Fat Fallacy: The French Diet Secrets to Permanent Weight Loss" and "The French Don't Diet Plan: 10 Simple Steps to Stay Thin for Life," along with Mireille Guiliano's "French Women Don't Get Fat," Michel Montignac's "The French Diet: Why French Women Don't Get Fat" and multiple cookbook dieting diatribe offerings from mega home shopping diva Suzanne Sommers, unsophisticated Americans from the west … more
Julie and Julia is a 2005 memoir written by Julie Powell. The conceit for the book was born out of a blog Powell started called The Julie/Julia Project, which chronicles her self-imposed challenge to cook one recipe from Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking per day.
As mentioned in the book, the Julie/Julia Project started out of Powell's frustration with her ordinary nine-to-five life in post-9/11 New York. When the blog became popular, Powell was able to sign a book deal with Little, Brown.
The book is now being made into a film written and directed by Nora Ephron. The film is simultaneously also based on Julia Child's memoir My Life in France.