A gratifying year spent tackling the art of French cooking.
On the eve of her 30th birthday, Powell realized that she hated her life: She worked at a job with a bunch of Republicans she (mostly) loathed and she was nearing the moment when she would have to make the jump to have a baby. Her life was not on the trajectory she imagined, and she was growing increasingly depressed. In a moment of desperation, she decided to take on a project that might help distract her—and what an undertaking it was. Powell would prepare all 524 recipes in Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Over the course of the next year, this project served as her lifeline. For each elaborate (or elaborately named) dish that she created—dishes like tournedos sautés aux champignons and quartiers de fonds d’artichauts au beurre—there were family and friends (and one very patient husband, Eric) to share them with. At the Eric’s suggestion, Powell started a blog to chronicle her successes and disasters, her triumphs and crises (there were many, in each category). Eventually, the media was drawn to her quest, but celebrity was not what Powell was after (unless it got her out of a lousy job). For all her fussing and neuroses, Powell is a softy a heart, appreciating Child because, she says, Child “wants you to remember that you are human, and as such are entitled to that most basic of human rights, the right to eat well and enjoy life.” Powell clearly enjoyed hers, with all its madness and pleasures.
Indulge in this memoir of marrow and butter, knowing there is always a bitter green to balance the taste.