Julia Child needs no introduction. She was a legendary cook who brought French cuisine to mainstream American television and taught a whole generation of home-cooks and professional chefs how to approach French cooking in a simplified manner. Child, who authored several award-winning cookbooks and hosted numerous cooking shows on TV, had an illustrious career spanning four decades and is still a much-loved icon.
In 2002, Julie Powell, a New York City resident and a woman stuck in a rut with a depressing, dead-end job, decided to break the monotony of her unfulfilling career by taking up a unique and super-ambitious challenge. Powell decided that she would cook all of the 524 recipes in Julia Child’s groundbreaking cookbook, ‘Mastering the Art of French Cooking,’ in a span of 365 days. She took on this monumental task and documented her daily kitchen antics on her blog, which soon blew up in popularity terms.
So widely popular did Powell’s blog become that she got a book deal to write a memoir about her experience doing the challenge. Powell’s book, ‘Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen’ (alternatively also titled ‘Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously’) and her story became the basis for the 2009 Meryl Streep and Amy Adams-starrer, ‘Julie & Julia’. The movie follows two parallel running stories – Julia Child’s early cooking years in the 1950s and Julie Powell’s year of performing challenge in 2002. Curious to know what Julie Powell has been up to since she skyrocketed to fame almost 20 years ago? Also want to know how Julia Child died? We’ve got all the answers right here.
Where is Julie Powell Today?
When her blog catapulted her into big-time fame in 2002, not everyone was impressed. Extreme fans of Julia Child thought the challenge and Powell’s execution of it disrespectful to Julia’s mammoth legacy. Worldwide, her blog got mixed reviews and had the blogosphere divided in opinion. Julia Child herself did had no encouraging words of appreciation. Child believed that Powell was not a “serious cook”. Judith Jones, Child’s editor, remarked in an interview (commenting on Powell), “Julia didn’t want to endorse it. What came through on the blog was somebody who was doing it almost for the sake of a stunt. She would never really describe the end results, how delicious it was, and what she learned. Julia didn’t like what she called ‘the flimsies.'”
After the success of her first book, which got turned into a critically acclaimed movie, Powell published a second book – ‘Cleaving: a Story of Marriage, Meat, and Obsession’. The book, released in 2009, was not received well and tanked in popularity, supposedly because of Powell’s stance on extra-marital affairs that both she and her husband had taken part in during the course of their marriage. Ever since becoming a published author, Powell has left her secretarial job at the Lower Manhattan Developmental Corporation. In the decade since her second book (and the movie ‘Julie & Julia’) released, Powell has made several appearances on ABC’s ‘Good Morning America’, CBS’s ‘The Early Show’, ‘The Martha Stewart Show’, and Food Network’s ‘Iron Chef America.’
Powell has also written for big publications such as Bon Appétit, Food and Wine, Harper’s Bazaar, The New York Times, and The Washington Post. Powell also hosts creative writing workshops and has several projects in development, including one that she is supposedly co-writing with her husband Eric. Julie Powell still lives in New York City, along with her husband Eric, a dog, and a cat.
How Did Julia Child Die?
Julia’s beloved husband Paul, who had been ten years her senior, died in 1994 after a series of strokes had put him in a nursing home for five years. In 2001, Julia herself moved to a retirement home after donating her home and office to her alma mater, the Smith College. Her kitchen she donated to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C., while her pots and pans were on display at Copia in Napa, California, until the year 2009 when they were relocated to the National Museum of American History. Just two days before her 92nd birthday, Julia Child died of kidney failure in Montecito, California, on August 13, 2004. She may be gone but her legacy truly lives on.
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