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Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously
by Julie Powell

During a period of extreme restlessness in her life, Julie Powell decides to cook her way through Mastering the Art of French Cooking – 524 recipes in 365 days – and blog about it. (http://blogs.salon.com/0001399/) That decision changed her life.

I'll admit that I bought this book only after seeing the movie based on it. I loved the movie, so it was a bit of a risk reading the book. Fortunately, I liked the book almost as much. The real Julie as revealed in the book is a less smoothly rounded person than the woman played by Amy Adams. She's obsessive, more than a little self-centered, one of the few Democrats in the Republican-dominated Ground Zero development bureau, really fond of swearing, and a big Buffy fan. As presented in this book, she's definitely one of my people; only a fan would include the following sentence in a book ostensibly about cooking: "Fiddling with damp tarragon left me so intensely irritated that when I was done I had to stick the ramekin/mise en place bowls back in the fridge and go watch both the episode where Xander is possessed by a demon and the one where Giles regresses to his outrageously sexy teen self and has sex with Buffy's mom, just to get over it." At another point, she compared beef marrow to magma roiling under the earth's mantle. I really liked this woman. (Of course, we've since learned other, not so savory, things about her, but I did like the way she presented herself her in this book.)

It's clear that the Julia in the book isn't the real Julia Child of history; she's the version of Julia who lived in Julie's head during the course of the project. Ultimately, that doesn't matter, because her spirit permeates the book. I'm old enough to remember her TV show and I could hear her public persona's voice in the dialogue written for her.

While it's hardly great literature, this was a most enjoyable read and was great fun.
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