Julie Powell, who became famous for cooking every recipe in famed cook Julia Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking,” prompting a major movie to be made about her, died of cardiac arrest at the age of 49.
Julie Powell’s story was told in the film “Julie & Julia,” starring Meryl Streep as Julia Child and Amy Adams as Powell. Powell first became famous through her blog, the Julie/Julia Project, in which she detailed her struggles in 2002 to cook all 524 recipes from Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume 1” in one year.
Julie Powell, the writer whose decision to spend a year cooking every recipe in Julia Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” led to the popular food blog, the Julie/Julia Project, and a film starring Meryl Streep, has died at 49. https://t.co/kcSmqIQ46Q
— The New York Times (@nytimes) November 1, 2022
“I’d never read anyone like her,” wrote Amanda Hesser, the founder of the website Food52. “Her writing was so fresh, spirited — sometimes crude! — and so gloriously unmoored to any tradition.”
“She wrote about food in a really human voice that sounded like people I knew,” echoed food blogger Deb Perelman of Powell, who was twice awarded the James Beard Award. “She communicated that you could write about food even without going to culinary school, without much experience, and in a real-life kitchen.”
Her first book, called “Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen” was published in 2005 with a second book, entitled “Cleaving: A Story of Marriage, Meat, and Obsession” coming out in 2009.
Powell admitted in a 2009 interview that she gained 20 pounds the year she cooked all the recipes. Asked what she thought of Adams’ portrayal of her in the movie, she answered:
“The marriage scenes between her and Chris Messina, who plays my husband, feel really authentic, very much the way we talk to one another and just ARE together. And she gets the hysteria really well. She’s much nicer than me, of course,” she said. “Read the book after seeing the movie and you will be shocked. She plays these sweet roles and I, to say the least, am not sweet! I’m a complainer. But now, with my life these days, I have nothing to complain about!”
When a food editor sent Child, who was in her 90’s, excerpts from Powell’s blog, Child was not amused, telling him, “I don’t understand how she could have problems with them. She just must not be much of a cook,” The New York Times reported.