Culinary Journey: Julie And Julia

Julie-Julia Project

The finest French cuisine in Queens, New York is found on Jackson Avenue, not in some fancy restaurant, but in secretary Julie Powell's apartment.

Dinner here is more than a meal, it's the "Julie/Julia Project."

Powell has made it her mission to make every single recipe in Julia Child's 1961 classic cookbook, "Mastering the Art of French Cooking," and she's doing it all in one year: "365 days, 536 recipes, one girl and a crappy outer borough kitchen."

So every day, Powell finishes work, does some last-minute shopping, drags it home on the subway and starts cooking.

Has she gained weight?

"Yes I have," she says. "I sure have."

Her husband Eric says there's only been one real culinary disaster: the aspics.

"All the aspics were just horrible," he says.

Powell is documenting her gourmet experience in her wildly popular online diary, or blog.

In one entry she writes: "My husband almost divorced me last night and it was all because of sauce tartar."

"If you look at most blogs, they're mostly porn," she says. "Oh well, I'm just another kind of porn. It's food porn. It's voyeurism. It's the same thing."

And she has a fan base, "which is endlessly amazing to me."

She's not doing all this to become a chef, but because after moving to New York City with big dreams of writing and acting, Powell was feeling a little lost.

"You know, living in New York is not as conducive to that kind of thing as you think," she says. "Before I started doing this I was losing my soul, drip by drip."

Three unpublished novels and a mundane job had all left her, well underdone.

So this 30-year-old is taking a stab at greatness. It is her one chance to do one thing superbly well.

So she keeps cooking, chopping and stirring late into the night.

"Even though I am making myself crazy, it has introduced some sanity into my life," she says.

It's also opening doors. Powell now has an agent and a possibility of a book deal based on her blog: finally, something to strive for and to write about.

"It really is a sense of, 'I set out to do it and I did it,'"

And savor a job well-done.