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Julie Powell, Food Writer And Blogger Behind Julie & Julia, Dies Aged 49

Food blogger was played by Amy Adams in the film inspired by her memoir, about attempting to cook more than 500 Julia Child recipes in a year.

Julie Powell, the food blogger best known for her cooking memoir, Julie & Julia, which inspired a film starring Meryl Streep, has died at the age of 49.

Her husband, Eric Powell, confirmed to the New York Times that she died of cardiac arrest caused by heart arrhythmia at their home in Olivebridge in upstate New York on 26 October.

Julie Powell, who has died at the age of 49, at a screening of Julie & Julia in Los Angeles in 2009

Powell rose to prominence in 2002 when, approaching her 30th birthday as “a secretary who lives with her husband, three cats and a python above a diner on a barren street in Long Island City”, she set herself a year-long quest to recreate all 524 recipes from her mother’s copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume 1, a 1961 classic by Julia Child, a TV chef and the doyenne of French cookery in the US.

As a cook with no training, Powell documented her struggles in the kitchen via the popular, witty and self-deprecating food blog Julie/Julia Project in

Amy Adams Played Julie Powell And Meryl Streep Played Julia Child In The 2009 Nora Ephron Film Julie & Julia.

Food editor Amanda Hesser, who wrote about Powell’s project in the New York Times in 2003, said in an email after her death: “Her writing was so fresh, spirited – sometimes crude! – and so gloriously unmoored to any tradition … The internet democratized food writing, and Julie was the new school’s first distinctive voice.”

Julie Powell in 2009, the year Nora Ephron's movie “Julie & Julia,” based on Ms. Powell’s book, was released.

In 2005, Powell’s blog was turned into the bestseller Julie & Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen; its paperback edition was subtitled “My Year of Cooking Dangerously”.

Her memoir inspired the 2009 film Julie & Julia, starring Amy Adams as Powell and Meryl Streep as Julia Child. It was the last film written and directed by Nora Ephron, who died in 2012.

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Ms. Powell Narrated Her Struggles In The Kitchen In A Funny, Lacerating Voice That Struck A Nerve With A Rising Generation Of Disaffected Contemporaries.

The Julie/Julia Project became a popular model for other blogs, replicated by fans of the cooks Ina Garten, Thomas Keller, and Dorie Greenspan, and helped build the vast modern audience for home cooking on social media.

In 2002, Ms. Powell was an aspiring writer working at a low-level administrative job in Lower Manhattan. She was about to turn 30 and had no real career prospects. It was, she said in an interview with The New York Times, “one of those panicked, backed-into-a-corner kind of moments.”

To lend structure to her days, she set out to cook all 524 recipes from her mother’s well-worn copy of Mrs. Child’s 1961 classic “Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume 1.” But as an untrained cook who lived in a small Long Island City loft, she found the road to be long, sweaty, and bumpy.

In a blog for that she called the Julie/Julia Project, she wrote long updates, punctuated by vodka gimlets and filled with entertaining, profane tirades about the difficulties of finding ingredients, the minor disappointments of adult life, and the bigger challenges of finding purpose as a member of Generation X.

Before the year was up, Salon reported that the blog had about 400,000 total page views, as well as several thousand regular readers who hung on the drama of whether Ms. Powell would actually finish in time.

Blogging made it possible for Ms. Powell to reach readers on a relatively new platform and in a new kind of direct language. “We have a medium where we can type in the snarky comments we used to just say out loud to our friends,” she said in a 2009 interview.

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In 2009, Powell Published Her Second Book, Cleaving: A Story Of Marriage, Meat And Obsession, Which Explored Her Relationship With Her Husband.

Her publisher, Judy Clain, the editor-in-chief of Little, Brown, and Co, paid tribute to Powell, writing: “Julie & Julia became an instant classic and it is with gratitude for her unique voice that we will now remember Julie’s dazzling brilliance and originality.”

Powell is survived by her husband, brother, and parents.



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