Julie and Julia : My Year of Cooking Dangerously, Paperback

Julie and Julia : My Year of Cooking Dangerously Paperback

3.5 out of 5 (3 ratings)


Julie Powell's "Julie & Julia" is the story of the culinary blogging sensation that inspired the hit film.

Living in a tiny apartment in New York and trapped in a job she hates, Julie Powell sees life passing her by.

Then one night, she notices that the few items she's grabbed from the Korean grocery store are the few items she's grabbed for Potage Parmentier, as described in Julia Child's legendary cookbook, "Mastering the Art of French Cooking". And The Project is born. Julie begins to cool - every one of the 524 recipes in the book, in the space of just one year.

Soon The Project is all she can think about. While the richness of the food she slaves over spreads into the rest of her life..."Sassy, quirky and disarmingly honest...Powell draws high-calorie comedy from her exploits". ("Marie Claire"). "A gem of a book ...both hilarious and touching". ("Glamour"). Julie Powell started to entertain readers on her infamous blog, on which she pledged to cook all the recipes from Julia Child's iconic cookbook "Mastering the Art of French Cooking". The blog achieved a dedicated following and, as a result of this, it evolved into "Julie & Julia" - a novel which connects Julie's blog to a reworking of Julia Child's biography. "Julie & Julia" was adapted for film by Nora Ephron in 2009 and starred Meryl Streep and Amy Adams. "Cleaving", the sequel to "Julie & Julia", is also available from Penguin.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Memoirs
  • ISBN: 9780141043982



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Showing 1 - 3 of 3 reviews.

Review by

A decent read about Julie Powell, a woman who was approaching 30 and having an early mid-life crisis. She came across a copy of Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking and decided to cook her way through all 524 recipes in a year, at the same time recording her progress on a blog. The writing is good, but not riveting, but I did enjoy the read and am looking forward to seeing the film.

Review by

I really wanted to like this book more than I did. For me, this is one of those instances where I enjoyed the film more than the book, but that's mainly because I enjoyed the combined story of Julia Childs an Julie Powell rather than just Julie's story on it's own. The reason? Julia Childs is far more interesting.This isn't to say that I didn't relate to Julie at all. I understood the joy she got out of doing the Project and related to her political leanings and love of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (though as a native New Yorker I took offense to her rude remarks of the people of my home town - why was she living there if she hated it so much?). However, I really didn't care all that much about what was going on in her friends' lives. That isn't why I chose to read the book. I was more interested in the cooking and the experience of the cooking. Okay, maybe the lives of her friends were intertwined to her own experiences, but the amount of details she went into about her friends kind of felt like filler, when I really wanted to hear more about her cooking experiences.This was a fairly enjoyable, easy read, but I would like to now read Julia Childs's account of her life in France as I have the feeling that would be far more entertaining.

Review by
"There was something about all this familiar work - the kneading and rolling and flouring, the Book beside me, Julia in my head chortling quietly to herself like a roosting pigeon in its cote... It made me philosophical - or maybe just hungry."This book centres around one woman, Julie Powell, and her impulsive decision in 2002 to give her life focus by cooking her way through Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking in one year. She set up a blog to record her experiences, and christened her attempt The Julie/Julia Project. This is an expanded account of that project, drawing on her daily cooking battles, her working life as a secretary for a government agency, and her growing infamy as a food blogger. She has also scattered a handful of cookery- and MtAoFC-related quotes throughout the book, as well as semi-fictional vignettes about Julia and Paul Child's relationship concocted from the material found in their letters, journals and (auto)biographies.When I first started reading, I must admit, I thought Powell was going to be far too neurotic and self-obsessed for me, and that this might even end up as a rare DNF. Fortunately it didn't take long for things to pick up: as the Julie/Julia Project begins in earnest, Powell's attention is drawn outside of herself and away from her own hysterical personality, and the book really takes off. I wasn't a big fan of Julie when she was trying too hard to demonstrate her own kookiness - she came across as far more likeable, honest and yes, quirky, when she turned her pen towards other people and other things in her life. This, for me, was where her writing felt the strongest and most enjoyable: when she was enthusing about food, sharing her cookery experiences, talking about her friends and family, and exploring the way her project brought her closer to the people she loved.I think my favourite section of the book was "They Shoot Lobsters, Don't They?", a hilarious chapter about her first foray into cooking lobster. I've never done it myself, but I've heard the horror stories, and Powell's experiences lived up to expectations in that regard! The image of her sitting in her car after buying her first ever lobster, anxiously listening for the rustle of the paper bag that might signal a crustacean escape attempt in the back seat, is just wonderful. From there it only gets better as she has a total freak-out in the kitchen, manages a successful couple of kills, and finally arrives at The Big One - the dismemberment of a live lobster for Homard à l'Américaine. By this point she's almost like the Lady Macbeth of the kitchen, blood on her hands, worrying that maybe she'll actually enjoy this last kill, getting in touch with her culinary dark side. Call me sadistic, but I loved every moment of it!If there was anything that really flattened my enjoyment of the book, it was the moment when I was idly Googling around the subject and found out that Julia Child was actually very dismissive and uninterested in Julie Powell, intimating that her project was a stunt, and that she wasn't a serious cook. I find that sad. Powell may be quirky and neurotic, but I don't think you could NOT call her a serious cook, given how determinedly she followed through with her plan, cooking complex meals almost every night, using methods and seeking out ingredients that really aren't that common these days. Her affection and reverence for Child shines out of her writing, and I'd imagined Julia as a kind of genial larger-than-life Ma Larkin figure who'd be tickled and perhaps flattered by the project. It was her masterpiece, after all, that brought Julie, her husband, her friends and other Mastering the Art of French Cooking devotees together. It must have been devastating for Powell, like a kid being snubbed by their favourite celebrity when they asked for an autograph. I can't help but think that perhaps if Child had survived to read the book, rather than just part of the blog, she might have felt differently; as it is, Powell's reaction to Child's death and her tribute at the end were so moving they had me in tears! That blow aside, I really enjoyed this book. I'll admit that there were occasional moments that began to drag, and little sections where Powell veered back into self-obsessed territory and began to lose me a bit, but these moments got fewer and farther between as the pages went by. There was plenty of food-and-cookery writing to satisfy my taste for good mouthwatering prose, but there was also real heart, real smarts, a real individual, a real voice behind that prose that I ended up appreciating more and more as the book went on. Of course, I have the DVD awaiting me now that I'm finally finished with the book, and I'm looking forward to seeing how Powell's kooky style translates onto the screen. Knowing it was in the capable hands of the late, great Nora Ephron (and really, who does kooky better?), I'm expecting to be in for a lovely girlie evening of giggling and eating popcorn sometime over the winter! Cautiously recommended for amateur foodies, hopeless cooks and people who can't resist another helping of dessert. You'll be in good company here!

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