Julie Powell is 30 years old, living in a tiny 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 worn, 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.
I hate to admit it, but I picked up the audio version of this book mostly because everything else I wanted to listen to was checked out and I needed an audio in my car. I had heard bits and pieces about the story, listened to a friend rave over the movie, and the cover is so pretty that I decided to give it a shot. And I'm so glad I did.
Although I've never worked temp-jobs or lived in New York, I felt a sort of kinship with Julie and her desire for "something" that she couldn't quite name. My personal opinion is that we are all made in God's image, therefore - since God is the Creator - we all have an innate desire to be creative. That's what I think Julie was looking for - her creative outlet. She found it in Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking. I love that her copy of the book had been her mother's and she had memories of it open on the counter as her mother cooked.
It's possible that my rapport with Julie was partially because of her occasionally inept cooking skills. I love, love, love to cook and bake, and have been known to conduct my own cooking show when alone in my tiny kitchen. However, truth be told, my family has eaten a number of things that didn't turn out exactly as expected, so I cried and cheered along with Julie's kitchen tragedies and triumphs.
Julie's creativity also took her into the, at that time, new world of blogging. Through her interaction with her "bleeders" (blog readers) as she calls them, I felt another tie to Julie - both as a blogger who couldn't believe anyone would take the time to read what she wrote and as one of her fans who wanted to join the chant of "don't give up". You can still read the Julie/Julia Project here.
I still haven't watched the movie - mostly because, now that I enjoyed the book so much, I'm afraid the movie will be a let down - but I did get my own copy of Julia Child's cookbook and have attempted a bit of French cooking. No way am I trying aspic or anything involving bone marrow, but Julie has given me the courage to experiment a bit [family cringes].
My most recent creation was pate a choux with creme patisserie - which, coincidentally, is nearly identical to what my mother has been making for years and calls cream puffs with vanilla pudding. No wonder I'm so drawn to this book - it's a family thing.
This book was my non-fiction selection for the Take a Chance challenge at my library.