Julie Powell was a frustrated Amherst grad living in New York and working in a temp job when her husband suggested she take that theater and fiction writing major out for a spin and try a blog. The one she came up with, "The Julie/Julia Project," would make her famous. That effort to take on every recipe in Julia Child's groundbreaking cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking won her fame and then a book deal. Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment became the inspiration for the new movie Julie & Julia, which chronicles Powell's efforts as well as Julia Child's years in France, when she first mastered the art of French cooking herself. We reached Powell, now 36, in New York.
Question: So how much weight DID you gain over that year of cooking French?
Answer: A little over 20 pounds. Early on, I realized that and just accepted it. Chef Paul Prudhomme is a hero of mine, a man who sacrificed his life for that fine, buttery creamy cooking. I can at least do it for a year. But I don't think even Julia herself would suggest eating like this every day of the week is a healthy lifestyle.
Q: What Julia recipes stayed in your repertoire?
A: I do occasionally do the Beef Bourguignon, a classic Julia recipe, out of nostalgia. But I'm a liver lobbyist, too. I love her sauteed liver. And baked cucumbers. That recipe made it into the movie, too!
Q: The foodie and food-blogger community seems almost as prone to infighting as the sports or movie blogger community. Nasty! Did you know that when you forced your way in the door?
A: Food bloggers, like all bloggers, are contentious, they say what they think and they hate on people. And that's good and valuable. But it's a Wild West kind of world, and people feel free to say things they never would in a face-to-face civil conversation. We have a medium where we can type in the snarky comments we used to just say out loud to our friends.
Q: What's your favorite thing about Amy Adams' portrayal of you?
A: 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. 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!Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun