Julie & Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously by Julie Powell

julie-and-julia-my-year-of-cooking-dangerouslyCompared to what I normally read, this was fluff. After the tragic ending of Loving Frank, I needed something where the only description of something fiery and burning was a flat iron steak. This book is the second I’ve read lately that started out as a blog and reads like a blog … not unlike these book reviews: informal, in the first person, punctuated casually, and frequently digressive. Full of sentence fragments. When Julie was writing her blog, she would cook something and report on the experience the next day. That’s the log in blog. A memoir is not just a collection of individual posts but rather a structured unit comprised of many adventures and reflections pulled together by the narrative’s theme. Julie Powell’s memoir ties together as neatly as a Seinfeld episode with concurrent stories that meet up at the end. Be warned that the language is salty and there is plenty of Republican bashing. There is also an undercurrent of fertility issues which offers TMI (too much information.) for my taste. Both Julie Powell and Julia McWilliams Child (before she was JULIA CHILD) were adrift in their lives. Julia Child had no job and Julie Powell hated hers. Both took on projects to help “find themselves.” Julia Child learned to cook and Julie Powell learned to blog. She had to have a subject and Julia Child’s cookbook was as good a subject as any. What makes Julie Powell’s subject such a great idea was that she could report on her activities everyday, food is interesting or at least understandable to almost everyone, culinary catastrophes lend themselves to humor and her goal was so ambitious: 524 recipes.  Powell’s descriptions of the foods both horrified and fascinated me at the same time: boiling calves feet to make the jelly on Foies de Volailles en Aspic (Sautéed Chicken Livers with Jelly). Every meal was a train wreck and who could resist watching? Both Julie and Julia are self-made successes yet neither set out for fame and fortune. They both set goals and simply did whatever it took to achieve them.  I’m looking forward to seeing the movie this weekend and whipping up some macaroni au fromage when I get home. You know which kind, the cheesiest.

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