Julie Powell, Food Writer Who Inspired ‘Julie & Julia’ Movie, Dead at 49

by Lauren Boisvert
(Photo by JIMI CELESTE/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)

Julie Powell was a home cook who chronicled her attempt at making every recipe in Julia Child’s cookbook “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” in 2002. She started a blog, the Julie/Julia Project, while on the edge of turning 30. She was living as an administrative assistant in a tiny apartment in New York City. That blog became a book, “Julie & Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen.” That became a movie starring Meryl Streep and Amy Adams. And Julie Powell became a culinary sensation.

She died at her home in Olivebridge, N.Y., on Oct. 26. According to a friend, she experienced cardiac arrest. She was 49.

Julie Powell’s Incredible Influence On the World of Home Cooks

For Powell, the Julie/Julia Project was “one of those panicked, backed-into-a-corner kind of moments,” she told the New York Times. Powell’s attempt to cook all 524 recipes from her mother’s well-loved copy of “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” was humorous, irreverent, and not short of inspiring. She fish-hooked readers with her wit and relatable voice. She then marbled her experiments with complicated French recipes with her personal mental and relationship struggles. The blog, and subsequent book, were nothing but a joy to read and experience.

Additionally, Julie Powell’s book came out in 2005, and was turned into a movie, “Julie & Julia,” in 2009. The film was directed by Nora Ephron. It starred Meryl Streep as Julia Child, Stanley Tucci as her husband Paul, and Amy Adams as Julie Powell. Julie Powell’s story was expertly entwined with Julia Child’s. It creatively transitioned back and forth between New York in 2002 and France in the 1960s.

Julie Powell was an inspiration for home cooks. She became a household name for her personable voice and relatable struggles around being unfulfilled at 30. She was definitely an inspiration for this young writer navigating college, the future, and cooking in my dorm. Rest easy, Julie Powell, and bon appetit.

HBO Max Released Julia Child Series, Explored More of the Famous Cook’s Life

HBO Max released a scripted series called “Julia,” exploring Julia Child’s incredible career and life, on March 31. It focused on the time in Child’s life after she put out her signature cookbook, “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.”

Additionally, Sarah Lancashire was cast as Julia Child, and seemed to have had an amazing time. “I hope you have as much fun as I did,” Lancashire said in a trailer for the show from early March. There’s nothing better than getting to embody the one-and-only personality that is Julia Child.

The show also focused on “the emergence of public television as a new social institution, feminism and the women’s movement, the nature of celebrity and America’s cultural evolution.” Some heavy topics, but crucial when talking about Julia Child. The fact that she took on French cuisine as a home cook and a woman, and went on to be as successful as she was, speaks to the nature of her personality and her drive. Julia Child was a unique figure in the culinary world, and her legend lives on to this day.