Goal number 1 (reading a novel every 2 weeks) is progressing nicely… I’m already on to my third novel; still not reading any Dostoevsky, but I will get round to it at some point! For some strange reason, I grew up thinking that women who are at the end of their pregnancies (like I am) tend to read overlong, preferably Russian, classic novels. Not sure where I got that idea, but there you go. What I’m finding is that at least for now I haven’t yet got round to reading books that take great concentration, because I’m much more tired than normal. So relatively pleasurable, easy to follow & quick reads are my preference for the time being (any suggestions welcome!)
I thought I’d make some comments then on novel number 2 (novel number 1 since I started my blog is discussed here). This time I read ‘Julie & Julia’ by Julie Powell. I think this book would make a fascinating read (and a great gift) for any food-blogger, but I’m not sure I would recommend it to other people.
In ‘Julie & Julia’, Julie Powell documents her journey to cook all 524 recipes from Julia Child’s 1961 classic cookbook Mastering the art of french cooking, Vol. 1 in 365 days. Sounds daunting, doesn’t it? This project was initially documented in Powell’s food-blog (you can find Powell’s current blog here; I’m not sure where the online Julie-Julia project can be found nowadays). The Julie-Julia project became very popular during those 365 days & invited lots of attention, including articles in the NY Times. I understand that there’s also a movie in production, based on the book, to be directed by the wonderful Nora Ephron (who herself has written a great book, ‘Heartburn’, which I highly recommend to all food-lovers who haven’t yet read it).
What ‘Julie & Julia’ is about, essentially, is the journey of a woman who finds her way out of a slightly boring and stagnating life (and job) through cooking & writing about cooking. The most fascinating & interesting bits that will appeal to any food-blogger (or anyone who loves cooking, for that matter) are the passages that document Julie’s struggles with difficult recipes, some of which few of us would even attempt nowadays: cooking brains & kidneys; making aspics (including eggs in aspic!); extracting marrow from a bone in order to make a sauce; braising lettuce; blanching bacon… and so much more. The rest of the book, however, I didn’t enjoy that much. I think Julie Powell makes a wonderful food-writer but not such a great novelist. The non-cooking bits of the book seemed like unnecessary fillings to me, but that was ok, because Julie’s cooking adventures were more than enough to keep my interest piqued throughout the book.
A quick note: The book was actually brought to my attention by a reader of my own blog who suggested I read it since I’m trying to cook my way through Nigella Lawson’s ‘How to eat’, plus have thought up for myself a whole list of impossible-sounding food-related goals! So: thanks Bethany!