Saturday, December 1, 2007

Book Review: Julie & Julia by Julie Powell

At first glance, Julie & Julia has a pretty simple premise. The author set out to cook every recipe in Julia Child's famous tome Mastering the Art of French Cooking. If that's all the book was about, it would still be worth reading. Powell is an engaging writer, and yhe book reads a lot like the blog it began as. Powell has a way with descriptions that draw the reader into the kitchen as she prepares Child's dishes. The sheer effort involved in many of the complex recipes make for funny reading. Powell's description of the attempts to remove marrow from bones is both grotesque and hilarious (let's just say it involves a hacksaw).

Beyond the simple cooking story, the deeper tale here is of a woman finding herself. Powell begins as a disgruntled secretary who is a temp just because she can't commit to a permanent position. Taking on cooking ever recipe in Mastering pushes her to a commitment that is both unexpectedly stressful and ultimately exactly what she needs. Her journey is funny and inspiring.

Highly recommended.