With the humor of Bridget Jones and the vitality of Augusten Burroughs, Julie Powell recounts how she conquered every recipe in Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking and saved her soul. 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. At first she thinks it will be easy. But as she moves from the simple Potage Parmentier (potato soup) into the more complicated realm of aspics and crepes, she realizes there's more to Mastering the Art of French Cooking than meets the eye. With Julia's stern warble always in her ear, Julie haunts the local butcher, buying kidneys and sweetbreads. She sends her husband on late-night runs for yet more butter and rarely serves dinner before midnight. She discovers how to mold the perfect Orange Bavarian, the trick to extracting marrow from bone, and the intense pleasure of eating liver.And somewhere along the line she realizes she has turned her kitchen into a miracle of creation and cuisine. She has eclipsed her life's ordinariness through spectacular humor, hysteria, and perseverance.
Pages: 307 (paperback)
Rating: 5 out of 10
I finished this book at the end of September and I am just now getting around to writing my review. (Tisk Tisk-- Shame on me) Anyway, I read this book for the first meeting of the book club I started. Based on the premise I thought that I would really like the book. I feel like I can relate very well to the desire to have a purpose to your days and feeling like your job is sucking the life out of you. However, I found Julie to be a bit off putting. She was crass and whiny. At times, I hated the way she treated her husband. On the plus side, the book was good for discussion. My edition of the book had questions in the back which certainly helped us to have a lengthy conversation.
In spite of all the reasons why I thought the book was just okay, I did love this quote:
"Julia taught me what it takes to find your way in the world. It's not what I thought it was. I thought it was all about-- I don't know, confidence or will or luck. Those are all some good things to have, no question. But there's something else, something that these things grow out of. It's joy."
If the whole book had been written in that flavor and with that sentiment, I would have had a different (probably more pleasurable) reading experience.
I wrote about the book for one Sunday Salon post.