What has Julie Powell of The Julie/Julia Project fame been up to since completing the mammoth enterprise of cooking her way through Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking? The uber-foodblogger has secured a book contract that she describes as "a really obscene book deal," looks to be leaving her job, and has published an article in the December 2003 issue of Bon Appetit (the article is not offered online). The piece, entitled "Julia Knows Best," recounts her year working through the 524 recipes in Mastering the Art of French Cooking and the lessons she learned, from "trying new things" (eggs) to "practice, practice, practice" (perfecting the quiche) and a commitment to "taste everything" (aspic).
Julie/Julia Project readers may be surprised to find prose by Ms. Powell with scarcely a single "fuck," but this is a more contemplative, less frenetic account of her chaotic cooking experience, written with a sense of reflection. The article is no less humorous, though, than her Web site, particularly in a passage where she recounts preparing lobster for one of Julia Child's recipes:
Julia instructed me to "split the lobsters in two lengthwise." Sounds simple enough, doesn't it? Many people insist that plunging a knife through a lobster's head is absolutely the quickest and most humane way to kill it. I have to say, though, that the lobster I murdered in this way did not seem to think so. It did not think being sawed in half vertically was much fun, either. Even after I'd chopped the thing into six pieces, the claws managed to make a few final complaints about the discomforts of being sautéed in hot olive oil.
According to the article, Julie Powell's book will be published by Little, Brown in the spring of 2005.
Photo: Newsstand. Omaha, Nebraska (November 1938). By John Vachon, Farm Security Administration-Office of War Information Photograph Collection, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.