Powell, Julie 1973(?)–
Powell, Julie 1973(?)–
PERSONAL: Born c. 1973, in Austin, TX; married Eric Powell. Education: Amherst College, received degree, 1995.
CAREER: Writer. Worked at various temporary jobs in New York, NY, including as secretary for Lower Manhattan Development Corporation.
AWARDS, HONORS: Journalism Award for Magazine Feature-Writing without Recipes, James Beard Foundation, 2004, for "People and Places: Julia Knows Best"; Journalism Award for Magazine Feature Writing with Recipes, James Beard Foundation, 2005, for "The Trouble with Blood: A Modern Chef Takes on the Challenge of Ancient Cooking."
Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen; How One Girl Risked Her Marriage, Her Job, and Her Sanity to Master the Art of Living, Little, Brown (New York, NY), 2005.
Contributor to periodicals, including New Yorker, House Beautiful, Food & Wine, and Bon Appétit. Former author of blog What Could Happen?, at juliepowell.-blogspot.com.
SIDELIGHTS: Julie Powell's intention upon moving to New York City from her native Austin, Texas, was to pursue a career in theatre. After years spent in various mind-numbing temp positions, Powell found herself at an impasse. In an interview with a Powells.com contributor, she described the emotional breakdown that was the impetus for writing her first book: "On the eve of my thirtieth birthday, stuck in a dead-end secretarial job, living in a hideous apartment in Long Island City, Queens, and dreading what seemed like a life of terminal mediocrity, I came up with a panicked notion—to cook through all 524 recipes of Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking, in a year, and blog about it. Julie and Julia describes my efforts to hold on to my job, marriage, and sanity while blazing a nonsensical trail toward fulfillment, with Julia leading the way." The blog became an Internet sensation and generated an enormous following, evolving into an article in the New Yorker and a six-figure book deal.
The result was Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen; How One Girl Risked Her Marriage, Her Job, and Her Sanity to Master the Art of Living. The book chronicles Powell's often unsuccessful attempts at cooking from Child's recipes, including gastronomical disasters such as oeufs en gellée (poached eggs in jelly) and a kidney dish enhanced with hand-extracted bone marrow. More than just journaling her endeavors in the kitchen, Powell also folds in stories of how her husband, friends, and blog readers partook of her journey, and how Child's philosophy ultimately inspired her to embark on a new career.
Critics and readers alike lauded Powell's original take on culinary writing. Little, Brown editor Judy Clain was quoted by Entertainment Weekly writer Jennifer Reese as saying that the author's "voice is irreverent and acerbic…. She didn't do some trendy cookbook. She took this classic, not very hip book, and that's part of what's intriguing about it." Texas Monthly contributor Mike Shea described the book as a "rippingly funny confessional," adding, "Diaries do not get any better than Julie and Julia." A reviewer for People commented that "Julie and Julia is a book that doesn't overreach. Bracingly original, it's clearly the work of a writer who has reclaimed her soul."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Entertainment Weekly, September 30, 2005, Clarissa Cruz and Paul Katz, review of Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen; How One Girl Risked Her Marriage, Her Job, and Her Sanity to Master the Art of Living, p. 97; October 7, 2005, Jennifer Reese, "Baste Instincts: A Secretary from Queens Sautés and Flambés Her Way through Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking," p. 81.
Library Journal, September 15, 2005, John Charles, review of Julie and Julia, p. 86.
People, October 3, 2005, review of Julie and Julia, p. 51.
Philadelphia Inquirer, October 10, 2005, Dianna Marder, "From Blog to Crumbling Apartment Kitchen, A New Cooking Icon Is Born."
Texas Monthly, October, 2005, Mike Shea, review of Julie and Julia, p. 78.
Powells.com, http://www.powells.com/ (November 22, 2005), "Ink Q&A: Julie Powell."