Book Excerpt: 'Julie and Julia'

Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously

When Julie Powell -- a transplanted Texan living in Brooklyn and stuck in "soul-sucking" temp work -- turned 29, she had an epiphany and decided to take on every recipe in Julia Child's "Mastering the Art of French Cooking."

She chronicled her progress in cooking 524 recipes in one year on a blog, which has been turned into a book called, "Julie & Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen." The book is a tribute to Julia Child, but also a hilarious and irreverent look at Powell's life -- her sweet husband, eccentric friends and evil co-workers -- and her journey as a writer to reclaim her soul.

Powell said Child was aware of her blog, and was "understandably protective of her work."

"I think she was sort of waiting to see what the outcome was," said Powell of Child, who died in August of 2004 at age 91. "But I think that if anyone on this planet earned the right to her opinion, it's Julia Child. And if somehow she could look into my heart, or read this book, she would see it for the tribute that it is to her and her spirit."

Powell, who worked as a secretary when she first began her cooking and blogging project and now has two more book projects in the works, said she feels grateful for her career change.

"My main goal is not to spend my life as a secretary," she said. "So every day that I don't have to do that is a gift."

You can read an excerpt from the book below.

Day 1, Recipe 1

The Road to Hell Is Paved with Leeks and Potatoes

As far as I know, the only evidence supporting the theory that Julia Child first made Potage Parmentier during a bad bout of ennui is her own recipe for it. She writes that Potage Parmentier--which is just a Frenchie way of saying potato soup--"smells good, tastes good, and is simplicity itself to make." It is the first recipe in the first book she ever wrote. She concedes that you can add carrots or broccoli or green beans if you want, but that seems beside the point, if what you're looking for is simplicity itself.

Simplicity itself. It sounds like poetry, doesn't it? It sounds like just what the doctor ordered.

It wasn't what my doctor ordered, though. My doctor--my gynecologist, to be specific--ordered a baby.

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