West News Wire: Julie Powell, a food writer who gained fame online after posting a year-long blog about recreating every recipe in Julia Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking,” which resulted in a book deal and a movie adaptation, has passed away. She was 49.
Powell passed away after a heart attack on October 26 at her home in upstate New York, according to The New York Times. Judy Clain, Powell’s email, and Little, Brown’s editor in chief all verified her passing.
She will not be forgotten, according to Clain, who called her “a wonderful writer and a brave, original person.” We express our sincere sympathies to everyone who knew and loved Julie, whether they did so in person or through the close relationships she developed with readers of her memoirs.
Powell’s 2005 book “Julie & Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen” became the hit, Nora Ephron-directed film “Julie & Julia,” with the author portrayed in the movie by Amy Adams and Meryl Streep as Child.
Her sophomore and last effort titled “Cleaving: A Story of Marriage, Meat and Obsession” was a bit jarring in its honesty. Powell revealed she had an affair, the pain of loving two men at once, of her fondness for sadomasochism and even a bout of self-punishing sex with a stranger.
Powell began her affair in 2004 as she was putting the finishing touches on her first book, a time she writes when she was “starry-eyed and vaguely discontented and had too much time on my hands.”
By 2006, she had landed an apprenticeship at a butcher shop two hours north of New York City, which offered an escape from her crumbling marriage and a place to explore her childhood curiosity with butchers.
“The way they held a knife in their hand was like an extension of themselves,” she said. “I’m a very clumsy person. I don’t play sports. That kind of physical skill is really foreign to me, and I’m really envious of that.”
The book explores the link between butchering and her own tortured romantic life. At one point, while cutting the connective tissue on a pig’s leg, she writes: “It’s sad, but a relief as well, to know that two things so closely bound together can separate with so little violence, leaving smooth surfaces instead of bloody shreds.”