‘Julie and Julia’ author Julie Powell dies; popular blog leads to movie

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By Mark Kennedy | Associated Press

NEW YORK – Food writer Julie Powell, who became an internet darling after blogging for a year about making all the recipes for Julia Child’s ‘Mastering the Art of French Cooking’, leading to a contract book and a film adaptation, has passed away. She was 49 years old.

Powell died of cardiac arrest on October 26 at her home in upstate New York, The New York Times reported. His death was confirmed by Judy Clain, Powell’s email and editor of Little, Brown.

“She was a brilliant writer and a bold, original person and she will not be forgotten,” Clain said in a statement. “We extend our deepest condolences to all who knew and loved Julie, whether personally or through the deep bonds she forged with readers of her memoirs.”

Powell’s 2005 book ‘Julie & Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen’ became the Nora Ephron-directed hit film ‘Julie & Julia’, with the author portrayed in the film by Amy Adams and Meryl Streep as a child.

His second and final effort – titled “Cleaving: A Story of Marriage, Meat and Obsession” – was a little shocking in its honesty. Powell revealed that she had an affair, the pain of loving two men at once, her penchant for sadomasochism and even a bout of self-punishing sex with a stranger.

“People coming from the movie ‘Julie & Julia’ and picking up ‘Cleaving’ are going to get an emotional boost,” she told The Associated Press in 2009. “I don’t believe it’s going to be a movie of Nora Ephron.

Powell began her affair in 2004 while putting the finishing touches on her first book, once she wrote when she was “starry-eyed and vaguely disgruntled and had too much free time”.

In 2006, she landed an apprenticeship at a butcher shop two hours north of New York City, which offered her an escape from her crumbling marriage and a place to explore her childhood curiosity with butchers.

“The way they held a knife in their hand was like an extension of themselves,” she said. “I am a very clumsy person. I do not play any sport. This kind of physical skill is really foreign to me, and I’m really envious of it.

The book explores the connection between butchery and his own tortured romantic life. At one point, cutting connective tissue from a pig’s foot, she wrote: “It’s sad, but also a relief, to know that two things so closely related can come apart with so little violence, leaving smooth surfaces instead of bloody shreds. .”

Her book tapped into the growing interest in old-fashioned butchery and her experience of slicing meat actually led her to eat less of it. She stood for animals raised and slaughtered humanely.

“People want to get their hands dirty. People want to participate in the process. People want to know where their food comes from,” Powell said. “People don’t want mystery anymore.”

More recently, she returned to the Salon earlier this year to write a series of commentaries on the Food Network series “The Julia Child Challenge.”

“She’s really made her own way,” said Mary Elizabeth Williams, senior writer for Salon, who previously ran Open Salon, the platform that hosted Powell’s blog. “We were lucky to be the relay.”

Central to Powell’s blog, and later the acclaimed film that used it as its basis, was the writer’s admiration for Julia Child’s cooking and lifestyle.

“Julia taught me what it takes to find your way in the world. It’s not what I thought it was,” Powell wrote. “I thought it was all about – I don’t know not, of confidence, of will or of luck. These are all good things to have, no doubt. But there is something else, something from which these things flow. That is joy.

She is survived by her husband, Eric.

CNN Wire Services contributed to this report.

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