The Julie Julia Project: Something to get your teeth into

by |September 20, 2009

9780141043982I have absolutely no idea of what is going on in the world this week because rather than listening to the radio in the car, I have spent all my vehicular hours on the Julie and Julia Project. Nine CDs of being absorbed in the life of a somewhat hysterical Texan New Yorker and her quest to cook all 500 and what ever number recipes from Mastering the Art of French Cooking (or MTAOFC as she refers to it).

Let me tell you, I am NOT a fan of the cooking memoir. The exception is this completely compelling slice of life from one Julie Powell, who, in the shadow of the first anniversary of September 11, and her own loudly ticking biological clock, decided to cook and blog her way into a new life by emulating America’s cooking sweetheart of the 60s and 70s, Julia Child.

The best thing about listening to this memoir, is that the author, Julie Powell, has recorded it  herself. With a voice that is caught somewhere between Austen and and the east coast, she is one woman not to mess with. There is nothing saccharine or sentimental about our Julie. She calls a spade a shovel, or in fact, an f***ing shovel, and when it comes to cooking in her tiny Long Island apartment with the dodgy plumbing and the occasionally blocked and frozen pipes, near enough is definitely good enough.

You’ll be hearing a lot about this story in coming weeks because the movie with Meryl Streep and Amy Adams is being released on October 8. But my advice to you is read it, or better still, listen to it first. I have Julie’s voice in my head and let me say, it is loud, strident and authentic and if the trailer is a good indication, the movie version just doesn’t cut it. By the way, you can read an extract here.

Meantime, if like me, you are now inspired to dust off the apron and get out the rolling pin, Penguin is releasing local editions of MTAOFC. Volume one will be out towards the end of October, with volume two a month or so later. We can get versions in from the US sooner, but they are pretty pricey.

By the way, Julie’s blog is still out there in cyberspace. The last entry was on Friday 13, 2004, the day after Julia Child, aged 91 died in her sleep, about six months after the official end of the Julie Julia project. There were 264 comments from readers that day.

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