Suzanne's Reviews > Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously

Julie and Julia by Julie Powell
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's review
Oct 08, 2014

liked it
bookshelves: around-my-bookshelf-year-2, non-fiction, memoir
Read from October 01 to 04, 2014 — I own a copy

I decided to read "foodie" books this month, and eagerly delved into Julie Powell's memoir about tackling the entire Mastering the Art of French Cooking (or MtAoFC as Powell calls it) within one year.

The great thing about this book is it 1) appeals to foodies who love to cook, and 2) has a special appeal to anal people like me, who actually do contemplate cooking their way through an entire cookbook. I was truly impressed that she made it the entire way through. I would definitely have skipped the sections on aspics and offal.

According to Julia Child's publisher, Child did not think much of Powell. She claimed that Powell wasn't serious about cooking and also that the blog (and subsequent book) was a gimmick. From Child's point of view, she was probably right about the seriousness of cooking. Child began learning to cook from cookbooks, but realized that in order to truly master French cooking, she needed proper training. Hence, Child's enrollment and subsequent diploma from Le Cordon Bleu. As for the gimmick - I think Child was wrong. Powell could not possibly have guessed that her project would attract any notice at all. I can identify with Powell in that she set a goal for herself so that in it's achievement, she could feel that she had done something worthwhile. I agree. So hat's off to Julie Powell for that accomplishment.

I do have a couple of complaints about the book. Julie Powell is not the sweet character portrayed by Amy Adams in the movie. In fact, she appears immature, foul-mouthed and especially snarky towards Republicans in her memoir. A good editor would have removed the hateful comments, especially because they served no purpose whatever. As a conservative myself, I didn't appreciate being attacked every few pages.

I did a google search to find up what Powell has been up to since the release of the movie bearing the same name. I found a blog asking people to stock attacking Powell (which made me smile a little, because she should have known that would happen when she dished out insults left and right in her book). I also found out that she wrote another memoir a couple of years ago. This time, the book covers the break-up of her marriage, due to the chronic bad habit that her girlfriends introduced her to in this book: infidelity. The book, as expected, was not a big seller.

Here's my advice to Julie Powell: first, conservative values can be a very good thing. For instance, they could have prevented the break-up of your marriage. Second: you should take Julia Child's advice and get serious about cooking. Call your publisher and tell them you want to enroll in Le Cordon Bleu Paris. Learn French (if you aren't already proficient), and start a new memoir about your experiences mastering the art of French Cooking in a foreign country. I bet you'll have a book deal and I'll be eager to read the memoir when it comes out - provided you stop with the conservative bashing. 3 1/2 stars.

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Reading Progress

10/01/2014 marked as: currently-reading
10/08/2014 marked as: read

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